Stop Saying Money Isn’t Everything

It’s a disingenuous Freudian slip signaling virtue, not sincerity

Photo by Fezbot2000 on Unsplash

If there’s one thing that shows you’re content with your finances, it’s declaring to your friends, your family, and your coworkers that: “money isn’t everything.”

At age 16, I used to think the opposite. I was obsessed with making money, trying everything from designing websites to hacking Google Adsense — even falling for countless pyramid schemes — just to earn a quick buck.

Then, I hit the jackpot. I discovered my passion for software development which eventually grew into an obsession, earning me more money than I could imagine. I had reached the financial sweet spot. Above, I felt on top of the world, below, I felt the urge to work harder.

It’s the simple law of supply and demand that determines your sweet spot. The greater your wealth, the less you’ll worry, the less you’ll value each dollar in your wallet. Money feels like everything up to the point where you’ve achieved financial security.

That’s why I’m skeptical when anyone says, “money isn’t everything.” Is it the homeless guy on the street corner, the rookie nine-to-fiver, the coffee shop waiter on minimum wage, saying this? No. Does joe six-pack think money is everything while he is working two jobs to provide for his family? Absolutely. Money is everything to him until he succeeds in feeding and protecting his family and securing their future. How can he eat, have a place to sleep and raise a family without money? He can’t.

“Money isn’t everything” is a slogan for anyone who has greatly surpassed their financial sweet spot; where money becomes inconsequential. They know deep down that money still matters, yet they hide it. Even successful public figures can’t help doing so:

“I can understand wanting to have a million dollars — it’s freedom. But once you get beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger.” — Bill Gates.

“What I’m trying to say is, as I get older, all the things I’ve done to make money have become less important in my life.” — Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

“Money isn’t everything, but money makes life easier.” — Dan Lok.

Why? Because people with money love talking about it but they want to stay humble. They know they have enough to last their lifetime, while others are struggling or have yet to replicate their success. In reality, money means a lot to most people. When you say otherwise, you are asserting, “Look at me, I’m wealthy. But, hey, money still doesn’t matter.” It looks bad, to say the least.

The truth is it’s okay to say money is everything. It’s the de facto measure of your success, your achievement, your usefulness — even if some believe that’s unfair. Be comfortable in wanting money, owning money, growing money, because it’s a reward for your efforts, troubles, and struggles.

Think about the richest of the rich: Gates created Windows, Bezos created Amazon, Zuckerberg created Facebook, and their prize? Most of the pie. If you create or revolutionize an industry that improves billion of lives, society should reward you with a billion-dollar payday. You deserve it. Don’t feel you have to hide your success by professing to others that the reward means zero.

When we say, “money isn’t everything” it’s a powerless statement, a subtle virtue signal that shows others we’re content with our finances, a sign that we’re on par with or exceeding the measure we’ve set ourselves for success and happiness.

Honesty is the best policy. The noble, honorable, and moral thing to do is champion our success, dropping our insecurities and insincerities, because money means a lot to us until we reach our perception of enough.

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