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Money is Made to be Spent

I’ve got a fan, we’ll call him Jack.  He periodically comes by my office to discuss the investment markets and drop off a few of his favorite Baron’s articles.  He knows I’m a sucker for talking shop.  We can easily spend an hour at a time talking about the latest investment trends and his favorite stocks.  I truly enjoy whenever he pops in.

Despite how much I enjoy our chats, I often wonder if Jack is too focused on his investment returns.  I know investing and research is a hobby for him, but sometimes I must ask if he’s really getting what he wants out of life.  I often find myself wondering how much control does he think he has over his portfolio and returns.

Most people I speak with want to accumulate money, (nothing wrong with this) but after a brief discussion, they realize the accumulation of money is usually not the end goal.  In other words, accumulating money for the sake of accumulating it is not the finish line.  The accumulation of money is often a means to provide other venues and experiences in life.  It ultimately becomes a tool to enhance their lives.

Many I speak with often say, “I want a few million- a few will make me happy.”  But then I ask what would a few million do for them.  What I find is that most just want to lead a productive and contributory life.  They list things most important to them and what we find out is most items do not require “millions”.  It’s quite an amazing discovery.

From this vantage point I see the disconnect between people’s lives and their money.  They will go to great lengths to try and accumulate money, but few often connect their money with their life.  The money has become their master.

We want to avoid this situation, as it will not lead to happiness.  It will lead you further and further away from your true goals in life.  Money is a tool.  It’s made to be used.  It’s made to be spent on yourself or for the benefit of others.  The focus on endlessly accumulating will not make most people happy.  Accumulating for goals and living life within your capacity is key.