Psychology of Money
Why has money come under such scrutiny lately? If anybody watches Billions on Showtime, you may remember Bobby Axelrod saying “When did it become a crime to succeed in this country?”
It seems that the more money somebody has, the more that person is regarded as “evil” or “corrupt”. We have all heard the saying “Money is the root of all evil”.
But is it really? Let’s delve into this idea and see if we can uncover a hidden psychology that presents itself when money is the topic of conversation.
I have heard people say things about rich people like “all they think about is money”.
Is that true? So somebody who has a lot of money is only thinking about money?
People who don’t have money think about money. They make their decisions based on money.
To break this down even more, let’s remove money from this idea and replace it with health.
This is the equivalent of saying that an extremely healthy person only thinks about their injured back. There is no point to thinking about something that you have plenty of.
If you had 500lbs of a non-perishable food source, would that food source take up any of your time for thought?
No, it wouldnt. So why would somebody with money think about it all the time?
There are statistics that also say that money is the number 1 stress causer in America. Well, if you have a bunch of money, are you extremely stressed out over money?
Probably not. If you don’t have enough money to pay your rent/mortgage, all your utilities, car payment, for groceries, and a little entertainment, then stress is probably a regular experience for you.
But THAT stress is caused by a LACK of money, not money itself. So those statistics should read “Lack of money is the number 1 stress causer in America”
“Money is the root of all evil”. This one is my favorite. People think money is either evil, or causes evil.
This is actually somewhat biblical and was taken highly out of context. This saying stems from the King James Version of the Bible.
This was a translation of the Bible that was authorized by King James I of England in 1604 and is still referred to very often. The original text reads as follows:
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:10
So LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Not money.
Money can not to good nor evil, it is the desire and willingness to do anything for that money that causes evil.
This also leads to the thought that money corrupts people. I do not believe this, and I may be wrong, I am only human, but it is my belief, that money only exaggerates who you already are.
If you are an evil person, and you acquire a large amount of money, your evil will be more obvious and apparent in your thoughts, words, and actions. If you are a good person, the effect money has on you will only amplify your good deeds and thoughts.
Being convinced, and continually thinking that money is the root of evil, or that it makes you a bad person, creates a terrible psychological barrier that is difficult to identify and overcome. Most people do not want to be evil, I think that is a fair judgement of the world’s population.
So if people do not want to be evil, and there is a belief that money will make you evil, or is evil itself, it only makes sense to rid yourself of the cause of evil.
So we shop. We consume. Not only do we spend money, we have created such a negative perception of money, that we now go into a negative amount of money called DEBT.
We owe money on our homes, on our cars, on our credit cards etc. So if we have NO money,
and actually OWE money to the evil people that have big homes and nice cars and send their kids to Ivy league schools in cash, then we most certainly could not be evil ourselves, right?
There are an unimaginable number of people who live well above the poverty line, some who even make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and have nothing to show for it.
This is because something happened to them, or they developed a negative opinion of money because of something in their life that they didn’t understand.
Maybe it was their parents arguing about money in front of them. Maybe it was because they were always told “Money is the root of all evil”.
Maybe it was because they never got to spend time with their parents because they were constantly working to provide for their families because their salary or wage was too low to not work overtime.
Have bad things been done with or for money? Yes. Those things are often highly reported, or publicized, or thrown in the face of the public. Are good things done with or for money?
Yes. Do you see those things being reported or publicized as often as the negatives? Not even close.
Business normally does not work if it is not a win-win situation for the business and it’s customers. Capitalism works because people have something, or can do something, that someone needs done.
There is a value placed on that need, and when that service, or product is desired, money is the payment for it. If it were not for money, the payment would come in a form of another service or product.
Somebody would mow your lawn and ask for your particular service as payment. Let’s say you can do manicures and pedicures. So the only way you would be able to acquire a service or product that somebody else provides, would be if they wanted a manicure and pedicure.
This is problematic if you need something like toilet paper, but no toilet paper providers want a manicure or pedicure.
So a type of universal currency is required to allow people to sell their skill or product to those who want/need it, but you do not need their product or service in return.
Money has created a simple way to universally reward people for whatever skill or product they bring to the table. So if you want more money, and do not want to be evil, develop more valuable skills, products, or ideas.
This is not me saying that Capitalism is a great and amazing system. It has it’s flaws, just like everything else in the universe. But the perceptions we as individuals create about what makes up our world, help to create our own environments.
I would bet a lot of money, that if you think money is evil, and a terrible thing to have, then you probably have very little of it.
I am no psychiatrist, but I have been involved with investing, entrepreneurial enterprises and business creation, all of which are associated with the accumulation of large sums of money in a short amount of time, relative to the normal routes of acquiring what most call “riches”.
The people that I have encountered have a very different mindset than your average 9-5 worker, pessimistic complainers, or people who are protesting for income inequality / minimum wage hikes and other popular topics in the less affluent circles.
People in these less wealthy categories will always tell you money is a bad thing, or that it is evil, or that “It’s not about the money”.
Then, when that rhetoric dies down they will continue to fight for redistribution of wealth, or elimination of loans, or for this to be free, and that to be less expensive, ultimately discrediting their original opinions of money.
They find it so important, that they skip work or school to attend a protest and hold a sign saying something along the lines of “We want more money”
So let’s try to step away from this whole idea that money is a bad thing.
“People used to want to be the guy in the limousine, now they just throw eggs at it”
If you throw eggs at the guy in the limousine, there is a pretty good chance you wont ever be the guy in the limousine. You will probably be driving it for him.