On Loving Money

on-loving-money

“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” —Benjamin Franklin

The possession of money is not contrary to a simplified life, but the love of money is. The love of money can never be satisfied. It is a hopeless love that always desires more. It is a wasted energy. And more than that, it keeps us, our attitude, and our actions in bondage.

When the love of money is present, freedom is not.

  • The love of money consumes our time. Whether we are thinking about how to find it, make it, grow it, or save it, the desire to acquire more robs us of our most important and finite resource: time.
  • The love of money wastes our energy. It requires constant, continual attention. After all, no opportunity to acquire more can ever be wasted.
  • The love of money devours our values. When the love of money is present in our lives, we become different people. The passion for money is a trap that quickly swallows our heart convictions and causes us to engage in behaviors that we would otherwise avoid.
  • The love of money fuels competition. By definition, the love of money requires me to desire what you already possess. For me to gain more, you must part with yours. The world quickly becomes a zero-sum game dominated by jealousy and envy.
  • The love of money limits our potential. We can never become greater than that which we most desire. When the acquisition of money becomes our greatest goal in life, we can never become greater than the balance in our bank account. And that’s a shame… we have so many greater things to offer this world.
  • The love of money attracts the love of money. Our lives will naturally attract like-minded people. When we love money, we attract others who love money. And the more reinforcement we receive from those around us, the more natural the emotion becomes.
  • The love of money destroys other loves. The love of money causes many to sacrifice their true passions and desires just to acquire more of it. It has truly killed many a passionate dream. To determine if the love of money has killed your dreams, answer this question, “If the need for money were not a factor, what would I be doing today?”

How then do we move beyond the desire to acquire more? While entire books have been written on this subject, let me throw out a few thoughts just to get you started toward freedom from the desire to acquire:

1. See money only as a tool to move through life. At its core, money is a bartering tool. It saves us from making our own clothes, tools, and furniture. Because of currency, I can spend my days doing what I love and am good at. In exchange, I receive money to trade with someone else who uses their giftedness to create something different than me. That‘s it. That‘s its purpose. And if you have enough to meet your needs, you shouldn‘t commit the rest of your day to acquiring more.

2. Be content with poverty or great wealth. I know poor people who live in complete contentment and I know rich people who are further from contentment today than when they were lacking. Your possessions do not lead to contentment. Your heart attitude does. And if the love for money limits freedom, contentment is the pathway to it.

3. Avoid debt. A lender is a slave to his creditor. Spending more money than you earn will always result in bondage to another. And there is no simplicity in bondage. If you cannot get out from under the weight of debt, find some help.

4. Learn to share. Sharing your possessions with others benefits the borrower and the lender. So be a lender… and be a borrower.

5. Remember that money comes and money goes. Like the tides of the ocean, money rolls in and money rolls out. Sometimes, there is money left over at the end of the day and sometimes there is not enough. That is the very nature of money. Do not fear its cycles. Welcome them.

I have no hidden dreams of this post magically solving the world’s desire for more. I just hope it helps to balance mine…

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    This is something that needs to be repeated daily, because money, power and anger is what destroys our great society and the sooner people get wise to this the better!

    Thanks for posting this Joshua!

    Eric

  2. Damon says

    1 Timothy 6:10 says “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

    I know many “minimalists” aren’t spiritual, but I don’t know how much more clear this bible passage can be.

    Spot on article, Joshua, thank you.

  3. says

    Whoever loves money will never have money enough….So very true! Nice little reminder on how the love of money is really the root of a lot of problems. I think you gave very sound advice and despite popular belief money does not buy happiness! :) Though it can help with some peace of mind :)

  4. says

    I think the first step to breaking the bondage of the love of money is to give some away, to become generous with the money you do have. At least that was the beginning for me.

  5. says

    I live in an affluent, consumerism-obsessed suburb of Portland. I feel like I’m this alien sometimes because I refuse to drink the “Must drive a Lexus SUV, wear Fendi sunglasses and carry a Louis Vuitton tote everywhere” Kool-aid.

    Oddly, so many people I run into about town just don’t seem all that happy. Such a shocker, I know. Makes me love my alien status — I shop resale, I am full-on driven to eliminate ALL of my consumer debt, and I just sold my Tag Heuer on eBay then turned around and bought a $69 watch at Nordstrom Rack (which actually cost me $34 because I had a Groupon!)

    Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    Cheers,
    Jenny Foss

    • Alex says

      If you have a cell phone you don’t need to buy a watch. I gave away all my watches and have not had a need for one since. One less thing to carry around.

  6. says

    “Remember that money comes and money goes” – great tip!

    And there are many things, that you are not able to buy with money, love, friendship and to be satisfid.

    You have to work on you, not pay for it to aim your biggest goals?

  7. says

    This is kind of out-there but I am starting to think money is a manifestation of energy. The more energy you release into the world, the more money you’ll end up with. Therefore if you focus on acquiring money, you are really just hoarding. Or playing defense, instead of playing offense. Or something. How did I work a tired sports cliché into this? Oh well, I’ll have to mull it over a bit.

    • says

      Interesting thought that kinda works for me. At the very least, those who learn to be generous (give it away) tend to appreciate more what they already possess and have less need to accumulate more.

      • says

        “Money is an energy” totally resonates with me. And accumulating money therefore is just stagnant energy, waiting to be released. Didn’t the ancient Greeks already say it “panta rei” (everything flows)? Let the energy flow freely, let money move freely, let it be useful; do things with it. Don’t let the energey go stale…

        • says

          I totally get the “money is an energy” thing. Like food, water and sunlight, there really is an abundance of it, it’s just not used efficiently or intelligently and we waste so much of it!

  8. SuzieQ says

    “At its core, money is a bartering tool. It saves us from making our own clothes, tools, and furniture.”

    Interesting ‘cos I actually use some of my money to buy material just so that I can make my own clothes! And I know there are people out there that make their own furniture.

    I’d me just as inclined to add ‘food’ in your sentence since the majority of the US population do not grow their own.

  9. says

    Well said Joshua. Having moved further and further beyond the desire to acquire more, I cannot begin to tell you how much peace and utter contentment I feel inside. I’m in a beautiful place.

  10. says

    This is a fantastic post. Truly thought provoking. I’m in the process of getting out of debt and I have found that I’m looking at money in a whole different way….money is just something that will buy me freedom! Thanks for the great thoughts here. I’ll be visiting often.

  11. Gil says

    “and I know rich people who are further from contentment today than when they were lacking.”
    _______________________________________________________________

    I remember years ago hearing a couple who won tens of millions of dollars state that they wish they had never won and they were happier when they didn’t have much. At the time, I thought they were foolish for saying that. Looking back, however, I understand. After embracing a life of simplicity and minimalism, I realize there is so much more to life.

  12. says

    I have never experienced a complete sense of freedom until the day I got rid of all my debt. What a great feeling!! This article is so true!

    Thanks Joshua!

  13. ajongbade olaide says

    WOW! this is realy an inspiration of God through this fellow’s heart. Thanks for inspiring me. More of His grace

  14. Claire says

    As my brother says “It’s not about how much money you have, but how much of YOU money has.”

    Thanks for this post.

  15. PN says

    My thoughts on money as a tool:

    Consider a screwdriver laying in your toolbox. Do you cry over it? Do you dwell on it? Nope. You pick it up and use it when necessary.

    Money is the same sort of tool that deserves no emotion, just like that screwdriver in your toolbox.

    Break yourself from money triggering emotion. Just like the screwdriver.

  16. Joy says

    Absolutely true! I have have owed not much to creditors and I felt the tiredness of a slave working my mind and body to pay what I owed.Why did I owe from creditors? I realized that I bought unnecessary things and ended up donated and some that ended thrown in the trash.Becoming minimalist,I came to realize how much you enjoy freedom and how much you enjoy moments that money can not buy.

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  18. Juan says

    Thank you very much for this article. It really hit me at the core. I have to move my awareness away from money.

  19. neva carter says

    Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

  20. Chris says

    Very insightful, the only problem is that i do find myself obsessing about money when there is not enough of it to pay bills or make ends meet. I hate when that happens too because it does take the joy out of work and life. Since my husband started bringing in some money and we have paid down a great deal of debt i do not obsess as much. Sometimes I wish we could trade services for rocks lol…

  21. says

    I’m very happy to find this website. I wanted to thank you for
    ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and I
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  22. says

    I can testify to the fact that the borrower is servant to the lender. I unfortunatly signed a bad mortgage with a company 20yrs. ago. I found out 10yrs. ago about the mistake.
    I didn’t want to file bankrupcy.
    I was able with some help from a local bank to get out from under there grip. If I can continue at the pace I’m at right now for the next 10yrs. I will be right where I was in 1994,

  23. Glenda Herdman says

    I agree with everything you have said. Money is not the be all and end all. It is a means to an end and unfortunately in today’s society we have to have money to live. Everything seems to have a dollar value. I am happy if I have I roof over my head, food in my stomach, my bills paid and I am happy, all the rest takes care of itself.

  24. Hashaun Adderley says

    This post needs to be so many more places! There is so much truth in this, I see people going in circles everyday trying to earn more… In my mind I’m always thinking, what do we want to earn more money for? Is it to have more free time? If so, then the relentless pursuit of money pretty much nullifies that motive.

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