“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…
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brendon kakora says
so helpful post bro i think its wise to love money because thus the root of life.
When I decided to live for “life” and to instill daily routines into my kids that create “love & life” extra money became an instant roadblock to fulfilling that dream. Self management is golden and I could tell you the equation but cannot live it perfectly. But on the days I do, man does it feel good to fall asleep that night. Zzzzz
Thank you so much this very much helps me. i am only a teenager but im getting there, made a poor decision to buy a trailer, now i’d like a van to travel on my own means helping people along the way. I get so stressed that i refuse to use money, but it’s ok to use it, as long as i am wise…i will trade skills and help for money,or borrow/lend. I will save enough for the van i want, and i will only use money when needed, again thank you.
yeah,money is like a tool.
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I’m gonna have to disagree. First of all, with the main thesis. Money is not bad. Nor is loving it. I invite the author to define exactly what love is because to me, love is nothing but, an attachment to something that satisfies a need.
Looking at it from my POV it is only natural to love money because it grants access to products and services that satisfy our needs. It seems to me that a lot of posters are on their biblical high horses or just riding the bandwagon because they have no work ethic. Perhaps, a problem in the past with financial matters.
Secondly, I disagree with the reasons behind the claim. Just because a fictional novel makes a claim does not mean it is true. This is just for the comments. Luckily the author relies on solid reasoning. Or not.
As for him, I will only tackle the claim of it removing freedom. I’d entertain the others but, his reasons not only lack citation, they are highly subjective.
Money grants freedom. When you are poor your actions are restricted. If anything you are more likely to steal because of the lack.
If by freedom you mean time and thoughts, I also disagree. If I am not spending my time making money what else could I be doing? Being lazy on the couch, watching tv, and not helping society? Loligaging with family while ignoring work that needs to he done?
My point is that if you are not building on your resources then you are using them. Working and earning cash builds them up. If I was carefree as the author I would be homeless.
As for his other reasons. Money is not a child so, no, you don’t have to continuously monitor it. There are no universals on morals so, no, my values are dependant on what it takes to survive. Like everyone else. Even the hypocrites who claim to have solid principles. All that crap goes out the window the moment it won’t work out in your favor.
So, it’s a bad thing to have a team of money makers. Hmmm…. Pretty sure those people make businesses and help give the public what they desire. I guess serving the public is a bad thing. Unless it’s free of course (sarcasm).
It takes away other loves? If I flip that weak reasoning I could say loving my dog takes away my love of money. So, since I need money to feed the dog, loving the dog is bad. See how silly that looks.
Nothing is wrong with cash. I try to only leave the house to make more of it. I love it. Does that mean I have no morals? Does that mean I worship the devil? Does that mean I am a bad person? No, no, and no.
Get off your high horses and accept that you need cash to live. Ignoring that will put you in the same place as all these other slackers who just want to have fun and party all the time.
Retirement from companies is dead. You need to save as early as possible. I am only 23 and I own my own business, have 2 other jobs, and about to go into the military. I am glad that thanks to these habits of hard work I will not have to work after I reach 45. I won’t have to rely on others to save me from my slacker ways.
When I get older all my peers will be singing the authors tune while I enjoy my lifestyle thanks to being wise enough to question irrational statements.
Lol. Love of money is evil. What a joke. Believing whatever a book has in it just because you were born into a cult is evil.
You are being too literal. It’s just a ” for the most part” article. He is not stating money is bad or unnecessary just use it wisely, don’t let it rule you.
Well said! I LOVE MONEY!
Sophie Mae says
“We can never become greater than that which we most desire.”
I love that you wrote this because I have honestly never thought about it this way before. I was raised with the idea that the more money you have, the better person you are. Thus the desire for money should be paramont. That is very sad. This quote about never becoming greater than what we desire most, wheather that’s money, fame, status, looks, etc., is so true. If these are the things we desire most, we are prohibiting ourselves to be the greatest version of who we are.
Thank you so much for this post!
Hey,since I started smokng I developed love for money,,am studyng now doing my Bed degree and I can’t enjoy life as I used 2 ,I can’t live without money,it like I do not exist without money.I’m blaming my self for buying somethng worth 1/4 dollar except for cigarate,and yeah I don’t have happyness because I don’t remember the curiousness toward life.
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Lee H. says
I am the adopted child of a very wealthy workaholic. My adoptive parents have two lavish homes and incredible works of art and antiques. They eat in the finest restaurants and drink the finest wine. They are almost 80 years old and are now buying a home in France to re-do. Their possessions are their children…those are the things they love the most and know the best. They don’t even know me and what is important to me. I am grateful to have a wonderful relationship with my heavenly father.
Money is not evil in and of itself, but the love of money is the root of all evil.
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.
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.
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,
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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…
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.”
Thank you very much for this article. It really hit me at the core. I have to move my awareness away from money.
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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.
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.
Brown Vagabonder says
Thank you for this amazing post. I absolutely loved every word of it. I really needed to understand how I view money and some of what you said really rang true for me.
As my brother says “It’s not about how much money you have, but how much of YOU money has.”
Thanks for this post.
ajongbade olaide says
WOW! this is realy an inspiration of God through this fellow’s heart. Thanks for inspiring me. More of His grace
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!
“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.
CJ Williams 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.
Renee Quail 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.
Living the Balanced Life says
I read this through Joshua, and it struck home as I just had some disturbing news about some funds I thought were coming my way. This post stopped me in my tracks. I will definitely be back to digest more! It needs time to all sink in this hard head!
“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.
joshua becker says
So true. And good for you for making your own clothes. I’d make my own, but I don’t think anybody wants to see that!
Michelle Traudt says
Great post, this is something we all need to be reminded of on a regular basis. Debt is so evil and keeps us from being able to give our money generously.
Pierre Bastien 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.
joshua becker 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.
Nicki Savantes 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…
Lisa Wain 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!
“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?
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!
joshua becker says
Thanks for the comment Jenny. But I find it odd that all those obsessed with consumerism aren’t truly happy… just kidding.
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.
Allan Douglas says
Excellent! I particularly like the point that debt is slavery to your creditor. So many just don’t get that.
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.
joshua becker says
So true. Generosity absolutely opens the door to contentment.
Tiffany Wilson 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 :)
joshua becker says
Having it is certainly helpful… But loving it? Not so much.
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.
joshua becker says
Thanks Damon. It really is a shame that most of Jesus’ (and Paul’s) teachings on possessions are so quickly passed over by American Christianity.
Andrei Jitareanu says
Jesus’ teachings were mostly centered on two major topics: Relashionship and Money.
Give it a think.
Every single excellent point you make about minimalism is emphasized in the bible by all kinds of marvelous scripture. Part of God’s amazing design for us is that he knows we’re all capable of being good stewards with our money especially if we learn about everything He teaches us about it in scripture. Any good priest or pastor knows the importance of teaching their fellowship about these key principles. Joyce Meyer is especially strong in teaching financial literacy to her world-wide fellowship. She has published great resources to help people manage their finances…and all of the money management information is presented in the context of God and scripture at its foundation.
patrea curry 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!
joshua becker says
Greed is the fuel of injustice.