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The Real Value of Money

Why focusing on money itself is always the wrong decision

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Many people think that money is the root of all evil. I have always disagreed, and I believe the lack of money is the root of all evil. When we don’t have enough money to pay our bills, we make decisions out of fear—and fearful decisions are almost always bad decisions.

When we’re worried about our financial future, it becomes all consuming. Ironically, people who don’t have enough money are the ones who think about money the most, not those who do have money.

Money, like many things, can become all-consuming. It is easy to forget that it is simply a tool, a vehicle to get the most important things in life. Money itself is not the most important thing. What you can do with money is.

This is why the true adage is, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” To see the sad effects of loving money too much—rather than loving what money can help you accomplish—look no further than a recent poll of single millennials by the website Comet, which provides student loan refinancing information to its readers.

When asked whether they would break up with a romantic partner for a raise, “Forty-one percent of participants said they would dump their partners for a “life-changing” promotion. Thirty-two percent said they would end a relationship if it meant getting a significant raise.”

On other important life matters, those polled gave these answers:

  • $36,000 to delay getting involved with someone
  • $37,000 to end a relationship
  • $64,000 to delay getting married
  • $67,000 to delay having children

The value of a good partner

When I first met Kim, I was dead broke. Actually, I was worse than broke. I had a million dollars in debt from the failure of my first business. To this day, meeting Kim when I was broke was one of the luckiest things in my life.

Because I had no money, I knew that Kim loved me for who I am, not because of what I had. It takes a strong bond to get into a relationship with someone who had as much debt as I had.

But even more important, Kim became and is the best partner I’ve ever had, both personally and professionally. Together we worked on building our wealth, working long hours and pouring our combined passion into building Rich Dad. I can truly say that I could not have done it without her, and I’m sure she’d say the same.

A job is never worth it

During the early days of my relationship with Kim, there were opportunities. As a graduate of the Merchant Marines Academy, I could have easily gotten a high-paying job on a cargo ship. The money those jobs paid was certainly “life-changing” by many standards. Or I could have become a pilot, using my experience from Vietnam. If I had taken those jobs, I probably would not have married Kim.

My poor dad actually encouraged me to take those jobs. My rich dad, however, taught me that no job was worth giving up the most important things in life: your family and your dreams.

Rather than take the “security” of a high-paying job, I chose to follow my rich dad’s advice and invest in my dream of entrepreneurship, and I did so with Kim by my side. In fact, it was our dream and we accomplished it together.

Think beyond the paycheck

Perhaps most depressing about the Comet poll is that young people are willing to give up what is most valuable in life for money that comes from a job, which is maybe the ficklest of partners.

My poor dad wanted me to get a good, high-paying job because he viewed that as the most secure way to live. In reality, being an employee is the least secure thing you can do. Why? Because you have no control. If your boss decides to fire you, there is nothing you can do about it. If the executives make a major blunder and have to cut staff, you’re out of work. If the economy tanks, you can’t make the changes needed to save the business or your paycheck. To be an employee is to be at the mercy of forces beyond your control.

The greatest accomplishments of my life came because I opted out of the no-control employee dynamic and instead choose to become and investor and business owner where I had all the control. I gave up the paycheck and the illusion of “security”.

By investing in cash-flowing assets, I was able to get out of my million dollars in debt, cover all my expenses with passive income, and create the time and freedom to invest the most important things in life: my family and my dreams.

Choose what money can bring

My advice to the young people reading this would be to gain a broader perspective and to choose what money can bring, not money itself. Any financial decision that causes you to give up the most important things in life for the money itself is the wrong decision.

Also, rethink the way you view the world. Rather than lock into the mindset that you must find a high-paying job to be successful, think about how you can opt out of the paycheck and build your wealth through investing and entrepreneurship, enlisting your significant other as a partner in the process.

Again, money is simply a tool. It is not the most important thing. Focus on what money can bring, get your priorities straight, and success will find a way.

Original publish date: March 27, 2018

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