I wish I had more money… I bet you do too. It’s pretty common to want more than you have… to strive for better. My husband and I are able to just about meet our needs with the income we have, which is more than many can say, so we count ourselves lucky. Of course there are those pesky wants… tantalizing, tempting, forcing us to beat them down with a stick because they are not in our financial future.
If you’re like me, there’s probably a dollar amount in your head, that if you ever received (lottery, fame), it would change your life. Everything would be all right. You could take a deep breath and stop worrying about paying the bills. You might travel or do some of those home repairs you’ve put off because of lack of funds. Perhaps indulge a dream or two. You think that if only you had this number of dollars your problems would be solved, all would be right with the world.
Your financial problems would be solved, to be sure, and this is nothing to sneeze at. Financial security gives you a chance to take a breath, not to worry about how you’ll pay the bills or cover the unexpected need. The sad part is that we think the money will make us happy — and the reality is it does not. Instead now there’s room for all the other struggles (health, relationships, regrets) of life, plus a couple of new ones people without money never even think about.
Like how to tell who’s interested in your cash, and who really cares for you. Money is a huge motivator and it definitely changes people, (those who have it and those who don’t) and not in a good way. It might not be so easy to spot someone more interested in money than in you, so you’d need to become a good judge of character… fast. A good memory wouldn’t hurt here either.
Another toughie is that people will come to you asking for financial help, and no matter what you have, it will not be enough to help everyone who needs it. At some point you have to say “no” to someone and this will not go down well. You may loose relationships you thought you could rely on, or at least have them cool quite a bit.
Those losses hurt way more than any daily drop in portfolio value.
Most unexpected of all is that a lot of money brings a strange sort of isolation. You can’t talk money with those who have less… its thoughtless, breeds jealousy and the very real question of why you don’t do more with what you have. You can’t discuss money with those who have more (who don’t even think about money in the first place and never have) as they’re likely to label you a boor for mentioning it. Call me crazy, but when large sums of money are involved the amount should remain a private thing, shared carefully and selectively, if at all.
It’s this strange isolation that’s probably behind the miser like quality more than a few wealthy people have. They have theirs – you’re on your own. All that matters is the money, keeping it safe and untouched in case the wolf comes knocking, while becoming ever more out of touch with the real struggles to meet the bills.
So… while a lot of money seems like a dream come true, it won’t make all your problems disappear. People can still be mean to you. Life can still hurt you. You can lose things that you value far more than the dollars and cents in your bank account. You can, in short, be as miserable with money as you ever were without it. Maybe more so.
At least these are the things I tell myself after every losing lottery ticket or professional disappointment. I’m better off poor, and yes thankfully, happy.