Throughout history, people have philosophised about money, whether it is good or bad, what is too much or too little, how to get it, how not to lose it, can it bring happiness or is it the road to ruin?
Benjamin Franklin famously said "Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one".
Whether we read a book, watch a film, support a favourite football team or vote in an election it is a common human trait to pick a side or form a view. We like to set the world into neat choices to help our understanding, to create some order and to know where we stand. Money is no different with some seeing it as the saviour, others the villain, some thinking they are the "have's" and others the "have not's".
But money in itself is none of these things; it is a tool to attain something else. Money is a method of exchange, it is the currency of trade. We do something to earn it and then we use it to buy the things we want in life.
Often people forget this yet seeing money as a currency to help us get what we want from life is the start of formulating a financial plan. A colleague who is a financial adviser was with me recently and we were talking to a group of HR and reward professionals. They were saying just how hard it is to get their people to think about planning for their future.
The adviser asked them to think of some things on their bucket list for when they retire. For one it was to own their own horse and horsebox; another wanted to learn how to play the guitar; and one wanted to visit all 5 continents with a trip around the world.
The adviser then asked them to estimate roughly how much they thought those interests would cost and when they would think they would like to do them.
All of these questions were really easy for them and they replied almost instantly.
The adviser had been writing this on a flip chart and he explained how they had all just written a financial plan and what could then follow was a discussion on how to achieve that plan given their circumstances, pensions, savings, needs and attitude to risk.
There were a few gasps and giggles and then nods of acknowledgement.
Money is there to enable people to live their lives and do the things they want not to be amassed as an end goal in itself. With the expert help of financial educators and access to financial advice, everyone can see how to make the most of their money and develop their financial plan.
"Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver."
Money can’t buy me happiness… or can it?!Financial Wellness Employee Engagement A popular song lyric got us thinking about whether money can buy us happiness. Even if it can’t, it can be a contributing factor to our mental and emotional wellbeing.