Money And Power Don’t Corrupt. They Reveal What’s Already There.
When I ask some people this question, they laugh. They tell me they are living from paycheck to paycheck and they cannot afford to put away anything for the future. They say that living in the present is hard enough much less looking forward to a time that hasn’t transpired. They use every excuse in the book why saving is not an option. They tell me about their expenses, and they tell me that they will save when they get a better job or when they inherit a large sum of money. They try to convince me that their situations are unique, and they will prepare for their futures whenever they can.
This scenario may be true for a small segment of the population, but for the vast majority, mismanagement of funds is the culprit. Whenever I had them to look at their spending habits and write down everything they purchased in a thirty-day period, they were amazed at the waste. Some of them purchased a four-dollar cup of coffee every day. Some of them went out to eat three, four or five times per week. Some of them got their nails and hair done weekly but did not have twenty-five dollars in savings. Some of them went to social events and charged their outfits, knowing they were buying something in which they would later have to pay interest. Some of them went to the movies, purchased popcorn and soda but hadn’t put any money away in months. Some of them went shopping for what they wanted and neglected the things they needed.
Once they had this picture on paper, it was an eye-opener. Every week they were squandering away their precious resources on trivial things. They were living for the moment, not thinking about the principle of saving for a rainy day.
Are you saving for the future? If you’re not, take a look at your spending habits. Write down everything you spend for a month. Once you have the picture on paper, you may be amazed at the outcome. If there are habits you need to change, start today. You may not have to cut out things permanently, but cut them out long enough to live comfortably if an emergency comes up. If you take heed, you won’t regret your decision. Because in the long run, having a small financial cushion will save you from a hard financial bump.
When I was growing up, I heard that money was evil. As well intentioned as my elders were, they left out one important component of that saying. The saying doesn’t state money is evil, it says the love of money is evil. Even when I captured the true saying, I still didn’t comprehend the meaning. I would ask myself, if the love of money was so evil, why do people go to work every day to get it? Don’t they go because they love money? Why do some spend excessive amounts of time performing a trade in exchange for money? Aren’t they demonstrating the love of money? Why do so many people want more of it? Doesn’t that prove they love it?
While looking for answers, I encountered those with different paradigms. One camp says get all the money you can, and can the rest; they show no shame about their love of money. Another camp says poverty is a virtue. Then there are those who say they don’t love money, but they will do anything (legal or illegal) to get it.
I’ve watched the poor despise the wealth of the rich, but at the same time, wish they possessed some of the same things their counterparts possessed. I’ve seen people fight over it. I’ve seen homes broken up because of it. Yet, I’ve seen it help people change their lives for the better.
In viewing these things, I still didn’t grasp the meaning of the love of money until I ran across this saying: you can’t serve two masters. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Money isn’t evil, but allowing it to get in the driver’s seat is. If you allow money to become your master, then it becomes the driving force in your life. You’ll make decisions based on it. You’ll compromise your values for it. You’ll lie and steal because of it. You’ll long for it, and it will become the focus of your attention. And the interesting thing about money, it can become the master of the rich or the poor. You don’t have to have a lot of it to allow it to rule. It rules when you subject yourself to it.
That being said, I invite you to take stock of your life and examine the evidence. Will you violate your values for money? Will you go after money at the expense of other important things in your life? Do you think about money more than you think about anything else? Do you despise those with money yet secretly wish you had what they have? Is money the number one motivator in your life?
Remember, you have control of whether you allow money to be your master, but once you become its slave, you don’t have control over the destination.