By Al Riddick
Money is an essential tool that allows people to provide for themselves and their families by having access to basic necessities like shelter, food, clothing, transportation and insurance. Although it is vitally important throughout life’s journey, money cannot buy everything. When thinking about some of your most enjoyable life experiences, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not money.
In addition to the most often heard things money cannot buy — time, health and happiness — there are three additional items that belong on the list:
Passion: The probability is quite high that there is at least one thing you enjoy doing despite the fact that money might not be your driving motivation. Passion can show up in many ways. Some people have a passion for cooking, landscaping, teaching, volunteering or traveling. Your passion could be something you are genuinely interested in doing. It might cost money to do, but the enjoyment you get from that particular activity is far more valuable than money. Money can’t buy your passion. However, it can help unlock the door by providing more opportunities to try new things.
Knowledge: Not everyone has a quest to obtain knowledge through real-life experience. There may be people in your life who routinely make the same mistakes (e.g., financial, relationships) despite the fact that you believe they know better. Just because people know better does not mean they will automatically do better. This is the main difference between education and knowledge. Education can be a formal process like attending school or college. Knowledge is based on accumulating information gained through experience. A good education can lead to a high-paying job, but that doesn’t mean a person who earns a high income has mastered the art of personal finance. This skill can be gained only through experience or the willingness to emulate the behaviors of someone who has experienced financial success.
Genuine relationships: When people want to be associated with you only because of your status, possessions or influence, RUN! These types of individuals are looking to gain something from you. Beware of Takers! They are easy to identify because their normal pattern of behavior is to be in a position of receiving because they rarely, if ever, give. Unfortunately, this often shows up more in family relationships than friendships. Authentic relationships can’t be bought and, more often than not, are formed through time and effort. Real friends usually act in a way that shows they do not mind spending time with you, sharing your interests or showing up in your time of need. The same can be said of familial relationships as well.
Money cannot buy everything, and it does not have the power to make you happy and fulfilled; however, it is important. If you had $100,000 more today than you did yesterday, your relationship with each of the previously mentioned topics would not change much in the short term. In addition to some of your needs and wants being met, you might find some temporary fulfillment and satisfaction. To achieve long-term happiness, something not as tangible as money can give you that. Success in life rarely has anything to do with having a five- or six-figure bank account balance. Money is only a tool.
Al Riddick is president of Game Time Budgeting, an award-winning financial fitness firm that helps employees develop simple and easy to duplicate systems for making their money behave.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this commentary piece do not necessarily the express the opinions of The Cincinnati Herald.