Greed Looks Good on You

Money, Moolah, Guap, Cheddar, Broccolli. There are sooo many names for that greenish piece of paper. Honestly, I’ve always been afraid of money. If I had it, I didn’t want to spend it. And I never wanted more of it. I remember my husband gave me a gift card to the mall for my birthday one year with a few hundred dollars on it. Nice I know! He wanted me to splurge on myself because I rarely do. Usually when I “shop” in the mall I touch EVERYTHING saying how beautiful or nice it is. Then I turn the price tag around and walk away slowly. Now I had money in my hand. I could purchase those nice things. Do you know I spent hours in the mall with that new gift card and bought this one red dress that I contemplated putting back? It took me over a year to spend all my birthday money. I held onto that gift card like it was a collector’s item.

inside of a shopping mall
Photo by Sunyu Kim 

MO MONEY MO PROBLEMS

I also thought that if you had more money you had more problems. In fact, the more money you had the BIGGER the problems. When I was younger, my friends would play that game where you ask each other, “if you won the lotto, how would you spend the money?”. My answer would be — I never want to win the lottery. I felt that if you hit the jackpot that you would either A. Shatter the bond between you and your family and friends or B. Die an untimely death (morbid I know). I would never hear “happily ever afters” about lottery winners, just how much jealousy and greed it brought out of people.  Money just meant NO GOOD to me. Hindsight, I realize I’ve been spending my life in fear of money.

It wasn’t until recently that I was having a conversation about what I want to do in life. What would be the ultimate life? The answer came easily although I had never said it aloud. One, I want to travel the world and learn about other cultures and experience life through others’ eyes. Two, I want to volunteer and give to as many as I can. Three, I’m obsessed with food and sunsets and would love to experience them in other parts of the world. That would be a fulfilling life for me. Then two things came to mind. One, you would need more money to do these things on such a grand scale. Two, you can start small and create those experiences now and give with what you already have.

LIVE LIFE RIGHT NOW

You don’t need to just dream about the life you want but create a version of the life you desire right now. For example,  there are different cultures within the state I live in, even within the city. I can go to plays, art museums, or festivals to dip my toes in new cultural experiences. This also goes for the diverse culinary spots around the corner that include everything from Persian and Indian to Ethiopian foods. As for my sunset, I can begin by indulging from different areas of the country. For example, sunsets from a mountain top, sunsets by the beach, sunsets through a beautiful city skyline. Never wait on your dream. Just start making it happen with where and what you have right now and keep pushing towards your goals.

Sunset over a city skyline

Photo by Andrea Ang

UNDERSTANDING ME, NOT MONEY

I’m not quite sure why I have felt negatively about money for most of my life. I grew up in a middle class family. We enjoyed some luxuries, but our household was also very frugal.  My mom spoke often about money with the tone of “we can’t afford that” and “Woah, that costs an arm and a leg”. I saw how money tore my extended family apart after my grandmother passed. I also saw how family members with money seemed “cheap” and hoarded their funds. I remember having breakfast at a loved one’s house and was served a double shot glass of orange juice with no refills. While those family members who did not have as much, were very generous and loving. Maybe a culmination of all these experiences lead to my negative feelings toward money.  

Money isn’t bad. It’s the mentality of the one who possesses it, that can choose to use it for “good” or “evil”. After listening to an episode of the podcast “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” , the host Cathy Heller began reaffirming the newfound thoughts I had on money. She said that money should be seen as a resource. Too often people think that those who have an abundance of money are evil or mean-spirited pricks (I’m paraphrasing). But, there are mean-spirited poor people, as well as kind and generous wealthy people. It is more about the person with the money than the money itself.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR MONEY/STUFF

I want more so that I can do and give more. In my faith, God will not bless you with more if you don’t take care of what you already have. You have to show that you will be  a good steward of what has already been given to you. For example, you have an apartment but you long for a house or a bigger space. Chances are if you keep a messy apartment, that future house will just cause you more stress of a mess. You want a nicer car, but you don’t take care of the beater you have right now? Chances are you will probably not take good care of that new car costing you more money in repairs and more problems. So, prove to yourself that you can manage what you have right now by creating habits that will carry over to your future place of abundance.  For me, my challenge is to be more generous with what I have and loosen the grip on my wallet.

Gratitude journal and a  pen

Photo by Freshh Connection 

Unfortunately, who’s to say you will reach your goal with satisfaction. Will you get that abundance of money or fame or love, and be happy. Or once you get it will you be discontent and just keep chasing more? The best thing to do is practice enjoying, cherishing and being grateful for what you have right now and continue to strive for more, so that when you reach that goal you will meet it with open arms and a full heart.  Money is not the end goal. Living a more fulfilled life with the help of money, is.

What are your thoughts on money? Is it evil or great? Drop me a comment below.

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. —Seneca

Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant. —P.T. Barnum

You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you. –Dave Ramsey

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. –Jonathan Swift

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