We are all familiar with the belief that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” But what if we changed the narrative and saw the root of money as a vessel for spreading love? Almost sounds sacrilege, but is it?
Money often gets a bad rap, and people with large sums of money are often looked at with envy and suspicion. And amidst the din of consumerism, it's difficult to see money as anything else other than a source of numbing our pain or pursuing our pleasure. But can Money be a conduit for love, peace, and joy?
The financial services industry has traditionally looked at Money and personal finance from a numbers-based perspective: how much you need to put away for retirement, how much you need to save for the down payment on a home, or your children's college education. The prescribed list goes on. But money is more than some prescribed list.
David and Donna Jenkins
David and Donna Jenkins were a retired couple with a beautiful home and a healthy nest egg. They had two adult daughters. Sarah was financially independent and worked at a local college.
Jenna, a single mom on social assistance for most of her adult life, had three sons — ages 8 to 12 — from three different dads. She could not hold a steady job and moved with those three boys in tow every other year.
The Jenkins finally had had enough of witnessing their grandchildren live with so much instability they decided to buy a house for Jenna and the boys to live in. But unfortunately, most of their Money was in registered retirement assets, which meant that withdrawing funds from that would result in a massive tax liability.
The only way they would be able to buy Jenna a house was to access the equity from their own home. So, from being debt-free, they mortgaged their home at age 65 to buy a house for Jenna, who, on her own, would never have been able to qualify for a mortgage.
Money as a conduit for love, joy, and peace
On the day of the close of the new home purchase, with tears in his eyes, David came in to see me and thank me for helping them with the mortgage.
He said that when his three grandsons saw their new home, the eight-year-old looked up at his granddad in utter disbelief and said, "You mean I get a bedroom all to myself?"
It was the first time those boys would have a chance at some stability and a bedroom of their own. Money is a tool. You get to use it as you desire.
There were tears in my eyes as David walked out of my office. I loved my job! I got to see the positive impact of Money on people's lives.
What Is Money?
On one level, money is an exchange of value. It’s how much we are willing to pay for something we want. On another level, money also stands for power, position, and prestige.
Can money be used to exchange what we all want and value? Integrity, community, mutual respect, and safety for our families? Can money also stand for love?
But let's first begin with, what is love? The online dictionary describes love as "an intense feeling of deep affection." As a verb, love is "to like or enjoy very much."
Can money be used to spread this intense feeling? Can it be used to express what we like or enjoy very much? We can use our money to show care to others. That could be a community, a person, and even a cause.
Money can be used to show care to another. That could be a community, a person, and even a cause. Here is how:
Money buys us time so we can spend it on people we love.
Research shows that money used to buy material things produce less satisfaction than money spent to free up our time. In this study 60, working adults received $40 to hire a cleaner.
On another weekend, those same individuals got another $40 to purchase material. Buying time led people to experience more positive moods and reduced their time pressure. What better way to show love than your presence?
It would appear that using money to free up time to spend with people we love brings about more love.
Money buys things for the people we love.
Money can provide us with a means to buy things for significant people in our lives. Studies show that we feel happier when spending money on people we love than ourselves.
We get pleasure from spending money on the people we love.
Money spent to help others makes us feel better.
When people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. This was discovered in a 2006 study by Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health.
Money And the Collective Consciousness.
Money allows us to voice what we value. The explosive growth in ethical and socially responsible investments is a testament that the collective voice is speaking loud and clear. And that investors care about the impact their money has on this world. We can decide to spend our money in alignment with what we care about - the health and safety of our communities, corporate transparency, and fairness.
People demand greater accountability from the corporations they are willing to invest in. In this way, money is a conduit for love. If we define love as a verb, then love is to care for the well-being of someone other than ourselves.
Money is also an effective vehicle to advance the cause of something greater than ourselves, whether opening a school for underprivileged children or providing vaccines to poorer countries.
Are rich people different from the rest of us? Do people with money have more character flaws? The media is quick to report on the flaws and foibles of famous people. Many famous people also happen to be wealthy. It is no wonder there is a bias that somehow people with money have more character flaws than the average person.
What if we changed the narrative about money and wealth?
Bringing It All Together
Money is not inherently "bad." It's merely paper. Money is the meaning we ascribe to it. And that meaning could be anything we choose: greed, security, power, and even love.
What if we chose to see money as a conduit for love? That money allows us more opportunities to experience and spread love – from the experiences we can buy and share with those we love.
We don't need money to experience or share love, but we can use our money for our causes and the people we love. And we can use it to demonstrate love.
As a child, I would accompany my dad to bring countless boxes of groceries to low-income families. I will never forget the happiness in these people's eyes seeing him show up at the door. And the joy my dad felt at delivering these groceries. As a child, it was evident to me that love is sharing. And that money can be a conduit for love.
For more on using money as a conduit for love, sign up for Re-Wire Your Wealth.
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