Why Your Emotions Can Be Hazardous To Your Wealth
Economists refer to money as anything which has an agreed upon
value that can be exchanged for goods and services.
The value of money is not constant, however. The buyer and
seller have to agree on it's worth, usually based on supply and
demand. For example, at one time you could buy a gallon of
gasoline for about twenty-five cents. Today however, gasoline
hovers around $3.00. In Europe it sells for four or five dollars.
The difference is primarily due to the greater demand. Today
there are millions more cars on the road and fewer sources of
Merchants frequently put their products on sale. It's not out of
the goodness of their hearts, but attempts to lure more
customers into their stores, hopefully to buy merchandise not on
Inflation is a major cause of deflating the value of your money.
But that's another story.
Today we think of money as pieces of metal, paper or plastic. In
more primitive societies it has taken the form of animal skins,
feathers or beads. On the island of Yap in the Pacific, natives
use rocks as a medium of exchange.
This a cumbersome system of trade. How many bushels of feathers
does it take to purchase one cow? Or how do you store ten pounds
of rocks in a bank?
With the advent of paper money, the barter system has become
almost extinct in the modern world. You can carry a bundle of
money in your pocket, put it in the bank or buy groceries with
Over generations, many notables have addressed the value of
money. The ancient dramatist Sophocles stated, " For money you
would sell your soul." The German poet Heinrich Heims claimed,
"Money is the god of our time." And George Bernard Shaw called
it "The most important thing in the world."
But what is money worth to you?
Most of us find money necessary. We work for it, spend it, save
it, invest it, and some even gamble it. Some love it or hate it,
or even risk going to jail for it. A few have so much they take
it for granted. Even fewer, like Mother Teresa have little
interest in it.
But there is the other side of the coin. The value you attribute
to money is enmeshed in your personality. Whether you see money
as the root of all evil or the solution to all your problems, it
reflects something you learned in the past that made a
significant impression on you. Or perhaps you imitate someone
who was very important to you, whether a good or a bad influence.
For example, if you feel guilty about spending money on
yourself, you probably feel guilty about accepting praise or
compliments, enjoying sex or winning a race. Somewhere in your
past you were taught that self-indulgence was bad and it applies
to your view of money and other aspects of your personality.
Most people have some fantasy about getting rich and how it
would change their lives. Many hope to acquire millions the
quick and easy way by buying lottery tickets or falling for
Others, with a different personality make-up, strive to become
rich the hard way. They are willing to work long hours, make
sacrifices and turn a hotdog stand into a chain of profitable
Hundreds of authors have made fortunes by writing books about
how to get rich, which are eagerly bought by millions who seek
to vastly improve their finances
Few, however, point out that greed, fear and other emotions can
be hazardous to your wealth.
Copyright 2006 Robert T. Lewis