Money is extremely important in our lives. We use it to feed and clothe ourselves, put a roof over our head, educate our children, and to pay for all the goods and services that we like to consume. Yet, money is not the be all and end all in life. As the British statesman Winston Churchill once said “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. Despite its myriad of attractions, there are things that money just can’t buy.
The Beatles coined it best when they sang “Can’t buy me love, money can’t buy me love”. Nobody is going to fall in love with you because you have money and, if they do, then that is not the sort of person you want to share your life with anyway. Couples who marry for money rarely last.
Of course, love comes in many forms and shapes, but whether you are talking about a relationship with a partner, child, parent or just a friend, love should be unconditional without expecting anything in return.
Money cannot buy time, no matter how much you have earned, or in what way.
That is what those people who spend all their waking hours at work find, never taking time off, whilst they pursue their goal of getting rich. At the end of that period, their bank balance may be swollen, but their lives will be poorer in so many other respects. There is no way they can catch up on relationships that have been neglected, children’s birthdays missed, or the hours that could have been spent with ageing parents in their golden years. As the famous quote goes, nobody on their deathbed as ever said “I wish I had spent more time in the office”.
Respect is always earned, it can never be bought. It comes because of who and what you are, your character, behaviors and how you act towards others. People may be better prepared to do things for somebody who is wealthy than their poorer neighbor, but that should never be confused with respect. That is merely the reflection of the fact that they are expecting a higher financial reward for doing so.
It also does not mean that you will respect yourself any more than if you were struggling to make ends meet. In fact, the opposite may be true if you have had to resort to underhand means to make your money.
Wisdom is earned through experience, not paid for by dollar bills. It takes years to learn true wisdom, and there is no way that the process can be skipped by paying for it. You can spend money on classes or private tutors, and they can expand your knowledge base, but how to apply that knowledge takes wisdom.
Health can never be taken for granted, and it is a blessing whether you are rich or poor. You can have all the money in the world but, if you are too sick to enjoy it, then there is really no point to it all.
It is true that, if you are rich, then you can afford better health care, but this may be necessary because many people have sacrificed their health in the pursuit of wealth. The effort and determination to succeed in corporate life is often associated with a lifestyle that ignores exercise and a balanced diet in favor of long hours, intense personal stress, and unhealthy eating and drinking patterns.
 Purpose in Life
What many people fail to realize is that money is just a tool, and a means to an end, not the end in itself. Money does not give you a purpose in life or an objective to which you should strive every day. For some it may be a measure of success, but that does not define the achievement in itself.
Money cannot buy friends – or if it does, they are likely to be the hangers-on who are happy to associate with you in the hope that your affluent lifestyle can rub off on them. They are not the true friends who are there for you whatever happens in life, and who are there to share the ups and the downs, the triumphs and the disappointments. Never make the mistake of confusing the two.
Many people confuse the pursuit of money with the pursuit of happiness. But just having a lot of money and being able to buy things will not make you happy. Once you have enjoy the new car, house, item of jewelry or other object on which you had set your heart, you are likely to become dissatisfied again, and want a bigger, shinier one, or feel unhappy because somebody in your social circle has a better or newer version.
Happiness does not come from always wanting new things but enjoying what you already have. And often that enjoyment is derived from intangible, but much more valuable possessions than material objects – love, respect, friendship, health, and peace of mind for example.
Whilst money can be spent on developing talent, if you do not have innate skill and ability at something in the first place, then you can never succeed in elevating it beyond a certain level. However, many music lessons you have, or extra coaching you receive, you can never become a concert grand pianist if you are tone deaf. The same goes with any other field of human endeavor – people are born with talent, it is not bought.
The truth is an absolute, and is incorruptible. Money may be able to buy influence and may help to distort the facts or assist in a cover-up but, in the end, the truth will out. And, whilst you may be able to hide your part in any wrong doing with your money, when you look in the mirror at night you will know your misdeeds, however bulging your wallet may be.
Whilst having money is something we all enjoy, it would be a mistake to place too much emphasis on it at the expense of other things in life that making it worth living. Whilst many of these things may be intangible in nature, possessing them can make even the poorest man richer than the man in the house next door who has millions in his bank account.