What Does Money Mean to You?

What Does Money Mean to You?

What does money mean to you? How do your beliefs about money impact your financial life?

Marie and Jerry came here to establish a reliable glidepath toward retirement. Marie came from a relatively poor family and money was always in short supply. Because of this, she viewed money as something to stockpile so that she and Jerry could weather potential financial storms in the future. Jerry had a more financially stable upbringing and this was reflected in his concept of money. To Jerry, money was for saving and putting to work to maximize investment returns. He firmly believed that almost every financial issue could be solved by achieving higher investment returns.

Investors just like Marie and Jerry abound. I call it the push and pull phenomenon. One spouse is pushing, while the other is pulling, so financial progress happens only by chance.


To have a healthy relationship with money you need to look at what money is and what money does. Disagreements about money often center around differing money definitions.

Regardless of how you define money, in essence, it’s a tool for accomplishing things. it’s something that you can exchange for something else that you value. You can save or invest money from your earnings and you can spend money in literally countless ways. That’s one of the problems.

Your ability to save and invest is tied directly to your income. Your income is usually derived from one or two sources. On the other hand, there are an infinite number of ways to consume your money. A few inputs and unlimited outputs can be a dangerous recipe.

Of course, money can be counted and measured, but not everything you do with money can be easily tabulated. Money evokes your emotions. All of your rational thinking and cost/benefit analysis goes out the window when you make financial decisions. Emotions rule.

In our example above, Jerry smiled brightly when he talked about obtaining high investment returns. The topic of achieving out-sized returns ignited his emotions. When your emotions are fully engaged, logic doesn’t stand a chance. That’s why it’s so important that you have a clear definition of what money is and what money does.


Many investors equate money with happiness. For sure, money allows you certain freedoms, particularly in terms of controlling your time. With so many elements of life outside your direct control, being able to control how you spend time is extremely valuable. Money usually doesn’t equate to happiness without some autonomy and influence over your time. That’s why workaholics often aren’t happy, regardless of how much money they have.

You probably value relationships, family, and activities with others. All of these require time.

Money can be a resource that allows you to achieve goals. Properly managed, money can provide a path toward financial independence. Having the freedom to do things that you value is the ultimate reward. Start there. Ready for a real conversation?