I’m just going to come out and say it: I’ve got a fascination with money. Always have. Even before I understood that some people use money as a way to gain power or that others use it as a way to gain freedom. I just liked money. When I first started earning an allowance, I would bust out the ironing board, fire up the iron, and iron my one-dollar bills under parental supervision until they were perfectly crisp and sharp. My stash would then go into the freezer to finalize the process of making “cold, hard cash”. True story.
According to society, my heart is as cold and hard as the stash I had in the freezer because only evil people love money. The one percent. Ebenezer Scrooge. Oil executives. These are the people society accuses of loving money.
Picture yourself as someone who has a job that you feel “meh” about, but it pays well. Would you be willing to go to your boss’s office, sit down, look her square in the eye, and say “I’m only here for the money”? Of course not. Society dictates that you’re supposed to love your work; it’s your life’s passion. Being in it for the money is just plain wrong.
I’d like to propose the opposite: it’s a good thing to love your money.
Ok, maybe the type of love that I’m talking about is a little different. It isn’t a greedy or jealous type of love. It’s a nurturing and caring type of love. Some really awesome things happen when you start giving your money some love.
First and foremost, like all other things that you love, you start paying attention to your money when you love it. You prioritize the digits of your net worth over the fleeting satisfaction of a fifty-dollar restaurant meal. Before you interject and say “it’s important to go out and have fun with friends!”, let me say this: nothing is more intimate than inviting friends into your own home. Surprisingly, reducing the money you spend with friends ends up bringing you closer rather than pushing you further apart. I find preparing and eating a meal at your house with some friends is much more special than meeting at a restaurant and eating a (usually unhealthy) meal prepared by somebody else. Not to mention that people will soon appreciate the fact that hanging out with you doesn’t cost them as much money!
Let’s go back to the cold, hard cash story. Do you think after spending all that time carefully ironing out any wrinkle and fold, that I was ready to go spend some of that money? Hell no. I wasn’t touching my stash. And you wouldn’t either if you just put a lot of time into it. Time. That is where the disconnect is. With direct deposit and biweekly paychecks, there is a disconnect between the money we earn and the time it took us to earn that money. The money you make is literally traded for hours of your life. Whether you’re salaried versus hourly, or self-employed vs a W-2 worker, you trade your time for money. Our time is to be cherished and anything that we give our time to should also be cherished.
Time for another story. I can remember the day I learned what interest was. My dad was driving to the credit union so that he could deposit a check or something with me and my brother. We were in our white Volvo station wagon and Pops probably had the windows down in the middle of a Phoenix, Arizona summer. He told us that no A/C meant better gas mileage. Sometimes I think he just got a deep sense of satisfaction when my brother and I were sweating our juvenile asses off even though there was a perfectly functioning air conditioner. I digress. This was in the mid-90s when five percent interest rates were a thing and earning $50 a year seemed like enough to retire on in my young mind. My life’s savings at that point was probably in the neighborhood of $100. If I could get that number up to $1,000 and make $50 a year by sitting around, I would be set.
I now know what a pipe dream that was–living off of the interest of a $1,000 principal–but this is why I’m in love with money. It’s because money has the potential to give you freedom from checking in with your boss before taking a vacation day, worrying about healthcare costs, and trying to plan all of your outside-work goals into nights and weekends or little spurts of time-off. Money buys freedom and lucky for us, it’s ok to love freedom.
Bust out the ironing board, plug in your iron, and give your money some love. If we Americans had a deeper love for our money, then perhaps we would stop throwing it out the window.