Money is just a tool, though probably the most adaptable tool ever known to man. But unlike tools, money operates both above and below “the waterline.”
Above the waterline, we exchange money, its most basic level, for food, clothing, shelter and the many other things we enjoy in life; education, health care, vacation, sports camps, and the myriad of other things we take for granted.
Below the waterline money operates at an emotional level. There, money has the potential to break relationships, ruin marriages, control children, provide a false sense of worth or power. It also has the potential to build a marriage, provide for the needs of others, start a business, build a school, reclaim a neighborhood, or drill a well, just so folks can have clean drinking water.
Ask almost any middle aged American male how much money he needs to retire. Most will tell you quickly and easily, even if they haven’t prepared a financial plan. They know what they need to have, financially speaking, by the time they retire from work, to support them for the rest of their days. But somehow, and it almost always happens like this, when they get close to having “the number” something goes off inside, they step back, and shotput their “number” way down the field, off they go in search of a bigger number than the one they thought would work.
Why? I wish I knew. I’m sure there are many reasons, not the least of which is if you don’t enjoy what you have now, how could you be happier with more?
And so on some level, discontentment with what we have causes us to believe more will lead us to better life.