3 Mar 2014

Money Addiction

This post is inspired by the recent article in the New York Times on money addiction - http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.html

On this blog, I have written several articles on saving, being careful with money, investing wisely and on taking charge of your finances. After reading the above article, I wondered about money addiction. Are some of us addicted to money? Do we always wonder how to make and save the extra buck?

I always think of savings as a fall back option. If I were to get fired, if I met with an accident and became disabled, if I were hit by an ailment which requires intense treatment, if parents need financial help; I will look towards savings to bail me out.I think of savings as a way to live the rest of my life comfortably in case something were to happen. Things go wrong in life and I want to be able to account for it. However, I cannot account for everything. If I keep wanting to increase my savings, I will never be able to make certain purchases. E.g. I will never be able to buy a house and make a down-payment on it.

What is money addiction? 
As described in the article, it is when money starts giving you a sense of control even though you do not need it. Someone whose bonus is $3.6 million is obviously earning a lot more every year and does not need the bonus. However, this person is still upset that his bonus is not big enough. I read many blogs regularly and the ones I absolutely love are not just about earning and stashing cash away. These blogs describe a way of life. They aim to make life simple and find happiness away from materialism. It may not be possible to do away with all our materialistic needs but we can reduce our dependence on "wants" which have become "needs"

As a blogger on personal finance, I want to ask myself if I am addicted to the idea of making money. I want to say the answer is no because I do not feel bad when I get a lesser bonus. In fact, I do not even think about my bonus. If I get it, it is additional saving for retirement. I think of money as something that has to be managed wisely. I do not want too much, just enough. Enough to live comfortably. If I were to double my salary by working crazy hours, I would choose not to do it. I value my time with my family. I also value my health. By working insane hours, I am bound to effect my health adversely.  I do want to invest wisely and have a comfortable retired life. I also want to keep an emergency fund to live comfortably despite the twists and turns life has to offer. I think of money as a back up to help myself and others I may want to help, in case they need it

Let us all think about what we need to live comfortably. Not lavishly but comfortably. If we want to earn a little more than that, we can all live comfortably and not be addicted to money.

I want to end by quoting my mother "Let us manage money and not let money manage us"

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