It’s Not Always About the Money

If there’s one thing that usually gets neglected when it comes to talking about personal finance, it’s this: it’s not always about the money.

Not surprisingly, people make a lot of decisions that relate to money based on how much things cost, how much they could potentially make, or both. So of course those things get talked about a lot.

But after a certain point (the point where you’re not stressed out about where you’ll be living next month and whether or not you’ll have food to eat on a regular basis) money doesn’t have to take priority.

Other priorities

Sure, you may want to earn lots of money and minimize your expenses, but you can have other priorities too. And the option that leaves you with the most money out of two choices may or may not be the one that’s right for you.

There’s nothing wrong with deciding that you’re going to take a less stressful job even though you won’t make as much, as long as you’re willing to do what it takes to live within your new lower means. And there’s nothing wrong with deciding to keep some of your money in a plain-old savings account even though you could probably make more by investing it. Or in paying more for something you really love even though you could get a “better” version for less. Or in any number of things that may not be the optimum thing to do financially, IF those other things are your real priorities.

Money is a tool

Money is a tool that’s there to serve you, not the other way around. Use it wisely to get what’s most important to you, not just to end up with as much as you can of it.

Keep your real objectives in mind, and make smart decisions with your money based on how it will help you achieve those. Remember why you use money.

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8 comments

  • I agree that a lot of people focus solely on money. Once you get to a certain point though you do have to assess whether acquiring more money is worth it or not and what else you could do with that time you would spend trying to get more money.

    • And sometimes, you don’t need more money anyway. Not necessarily because you’re filthy rich, but because “more money” isn’t a goal, and you have *enough*.

  • Focusing squarely on money and little else is a recipe for a one-dimensional and sub-optimal life. I agree that it’s not the only priority! Relationships and health are what it’s about for many of us, with money there are as just one part of the equation.

  • When I quit my full-time job almost a year and a half ago, I knew I’d be taking a big financial hit. But I’m far happier (and, probably, healthier) now that I’m not so stressed and, quite frankly, angry all the time.

    • Sounds like that was a great choice for you :)

      If you have any interest in writing about the decision and results, shoot me over a guest post :)

  • Money is a big conduit for arguments, so I think it is naive to ignore it and not worry about it. In our relationship, one person is responsible for managing the finances. This works a lot better – we don’t fight and I she instructs me what to do (this is despite the fact that I earn more than she does).

    • “It’s not always about the money” is not at all the same as saying “ignore it and [don’t] worry about it”.