Money isn’t everything, they say. Money can’t buy you love, health, or happiness – or can it? We are often told that there are so many more important things to pursue in life than accumulating money. But what if money really is everything (or just about everything)?
It can certainly buy you almost everything you need to improve your quality of life and reach new levels of happiness. It turns out, the more we think about it, the more it seems like money just might be everything.
Let’s answer the age-old question, “is money everything?” and highlight why you should care about it.
Why is money everything?
Broadly speaking, money is everything because of what it can buy you: security, freedom, health (to an extent), and even happiness. If you want those things and more, money is a tool that can be used to get them.
Basically, no matter what it is you care about in life and what you want, having money can help get you there. We’ll go over in detail why money is everything next.
First and foremost, money is security. In our society, you absolutely need to have money to meet your basic needs (we’re talking food, water, shelter, and clothing). Without it, we simply cannot survive.
Once your basic needs are met, money can do so much more. Importantly, it can buy you time and the ability to pursue meaningful work.
Having money means you can spend less time doing things you don’t want to, and more time doing things you do want to do. Whether that means spending time with the people you love or doing the things you love, having money allows you the freedom to choose how you spend your time.
Money also gives you the ability to do meaningful work. Instead of grinding away at a job you don’t like, just because it pays a living wage, you can choose to spend your time working on what you do love.
It gives you the ability to work a job of your choosing, or in some cases, not work at all. Imagine being able to quit a low-paying, stressful job that you hate. Having money gives you the ability and freedom to do just that.
Money can help you achieve good health
It won’t magically make you healthy and fit, but it can be used to improve your health. If you use it wisely, money can improve your health in so many ways, such as:
You can work out and stay fit on any budget, but having money can certainly help facilitate your fitness routine. It can buy you that new gym membership or Peloton bike you’ve been eyeing, which certainly helps. (Unfortunately, it can’t get you to get onto that bike every morning – that part is up to you.)
Like fitness, money can’t magically buy you a good diet. But it is a tool that allows you to purchase things like healthy food and an appointment with a nutritionist to come up with a customized diet plan just for you.
3. Access to health insurance and medical care
It’s no secret that the cost of healthcare in the United States is astronomical. In 2020, the average cost for individual health insurance was $456 and it rose to $1,152 for a family. Even with insurance, out-of-pocket costs for medical care can climb into the thousands of dollars.
As unjust as this might sound because access to healthcare should be available to everyone, without money, it is impossible to access good medical care in this country without going into debt.
4. Improves mental health
People have a lot of negative emotions around money, like anxiety, fear, and stress. While these feelings don’t go away automatically in all aspects of your life just because you have money, having it certainly lessens negative emotions. It can also give you peace of mind (when it comes to your finances, at least).
Maybe money is not everything…
So far, everything we’ve said about money has been positive. It can buy you whatever you want! Money is everything! But we want to be realistic here. Because money cannot buy you everything in life. Here are a few ways money is not everything:
Money is not a golden ticket to happiness
It can’t buy loving relationships. Those take work. But it can buy you the time to pursue and cultivate relationships. It also gives you more time to spend with others and a higher chance that those relationships will have time to grow.
Money also can’t buy you a disease-free life. Sometimes we get sick and there’s just nothing we can do about it. But, as we discussed above, having more cash can buy access to medical care. With that, you at least have the best opportunity to get better.
So, yes, money has its limitations. Some can argue that it is not everything. But it is a tool to reach higher levels of happiness and give us everything that we desire.
Money is not evil or bad
Many of us have been told that money is evil (the root of all evil, in fact). But wanting more of it and accumulating more can, in fact, be incredibly charitable and giving. The more you have, the more you can spend on others or give away.
Wanting money is not just about amassing wealth for yourself (which, by the way, is nothing to be ashamed of) – it also means having the power to help those you love and causes you care about.
Is everything about money?
True, some will argue that not every single thing in life is about money. A peaceful morning meditation at the beach. A run through the sprinklers on a hot summer day. A marathon call with a close friend. All of these things are free, right? If you say that money is everything, aren’t you forgetting about these simple joys of life?
But money is everything because you need it to get yourself to that beach, to buy those sprinklers, and to own that phone you use to communicate with your loved ones.
That’s why even with all the simple, seemingly free joys in life, I still believe that money is everything. So let’s talk about how you can get more of it.
If money is everything, how can you get more of it?
By now, after seeing all of the things that money can buy and ways it can improve your quality of life, you are probably itching to get your hands on more of it. Here are three key ways to accumulate more cash so you can pursue all of the things that having it affords you:
1. Start a side hustle
You probably already have all the tools you need to start a side hustle today. A side hustle is one of the best ways to make extra income without drastically changing your life.
Get out there and start using your skills for extra cash! And, if you need help along the way, check out the Clever Girl Finance Side Hustle Guide.
2. Change jobs or careers
Instead of starting a side hustle (or maybe in addition to), changing jobs is another way to get more cash.
Maybe you aren’t getting paid what you’re worth at your current company and moving to a competitor will pay you thousands more. Another entire career could be an option. And there’s always the option of asking for more at your current job.
Everyone can and should be investing. It’s one of the best ways to build wealth over time. If you’re new to investing, a good place to start is by participating in your company’s 401(k).
And when you’re ready to dive into all things investing, Clever Girl Finance’s guide to investing is there for you as your go-to resource.
The bottom line: money is everything...to an extent!
Anyone who says that money doesn’t matter and that it is not everything probably hasn’t thought about all of the incredible ways it can improve their lives.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it is the root of all evil (because it’s not) or that it can’t buy you happiness (because it can).
Wanting money doesn’t make you bad; it just makes you smart. And having it doesn’t make you greedy; it makes you secure and free, with the possibility of being so much more.