Why do so many people have a hard time with managing money?
“World View” is a term recently popularized by philosophers and media pundits who debate spiritual and political matters. It refers to the lens through which people see (and therefore interpret) the world around them. All information and observations must pass through this lens and be colored by one’s World View.
Similarly, there is another “View” I would like to propose for consideration, and I’m calling this the “Money View.” In my nearly two decades of dealing with people and their finances I have slowly awakened to the fact that how people are doing financially is often a direct result of their “Money View.” Just as with World Views, there are several very different Money Views, each with its own ramifications. These include, but are probably not limited to, the following:
1. Money as a Mystery – in which people seem to have no clue how money is made (or retained) and therefore think that others who are successful financially are somehow “lucky”
2. Money as a Master– in which one’s entire life is lived out
in bondage to the need for more money, or at least the drudgery of scraping by. This is often accompanied by terms such as, “I have to go to work,” or “Another day, another dollar.”
3. Money as a Monster – this is the condition whereby financial pressures become so large they dominate a person’s thoughts and affect him emotionally. Often at this stage relationships are damaged and health is compromised.
4. Money as a Major – in which a person applies most of his focus and fascination on how to acquire more. In this situation money is an idol.
5. Money as a Motivator – this is the condition whereby money is used to push one to higher achievement and greater contribution. This can be for both selfish or selfless reasons. Beware.
6. Money as a Manipulator – whereby a person uses his or her money to get what he or she wants out of other people. It is here where phrases such as “Money is Power” apply.
7. Money as a Minimizer – the condition in which the presence of money diminishes one’s ambition. This is where complacency and mediocrity reside.
8. Money as a Maximizer – where one is driven to utilize his or her money to make a greater contribution and maximize his or her potential. This is usually much more selfless and altruistic than #5 above.
9. Money as a Monument – where money is used as a status symbol, to build a reputation, or as an attempt to establish an immortal family legacy.
10. Money as a Menace – wherein the money one has is a destructive force in one’s life, either by feeding addictions or by causing fights or by dominating one’s time and energy with the care and maintenance required to sustain it.
In considering this list, it may be helpful to ask yourself some questions, such as:
1. Which “Money View” best represents where you are right now?
2. Which of these “Money Views” have you encountered previoulsy in your life?
3. Notice that several of these “Money Views” are quite negative. What are you doing to make sure you are living under a positive and productive one? Which one would you choose?
4. What are you doing to grow in your financial understanding and education?
In each of the above views we see that money is always used as a Means. The key question in money matters is therefore, “As a means for what?” This is why the Bible again and again treats money as a heart issue. Money in itself is not evil, but the heart is desperately wicked, who can know it? Money becomes a dangerous or productive tool, depending upon the heart that wields it.
Make sure you choose your “Money View” deliberately and intentionally, don’t simply let it choose you. Pursue some financial education to enable you to be in charge of money instead of it being in charge of you. And guard your heart when it comes to money, in plenty or in want.
That’s my view.