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Wealth & Economics > Is amassing money and assets one of the purposes of life?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Maybe once a world was based on strength - the strongest had the best food, the best cave, the best whatever. However, probably the strongest needed to reassert his/her strength against each challenger and died frequently.
At some point maybe a realization that violence isn't cool and a desire for a stability replaced strength with money. So today a dude with the dough has the best ________ anything. Some argue - it's good, others - bad, but that's simply how it is.
The motivation can be different - to leave something for the kids, to move upward on societal ladder, to be buried with dignity, to have a bigger house, a newer car, a fancier pants, whatever - for all these moolah is required. Some slave for it and achieve gratification through spending, some save and live modestly indifferent to the race, but anyone can neglect earning and amassing only to a certain degree.
So is accumulation of monetary funds an inherent purpose of our being?


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9235 comments For me, it was to a certain extent. I wanted enough (and I think i succeeded) so that in my old age when working was somewhat impractical, I could maintain a reasonable lifestyle. The idea of not being able to pay the power bill was not something I wanted, nor to end up in some charity rest home, where the basics to see you through to the scythe man were provided, but nothing more. But having reached a reasonable level of assured comfort, I have never been obsessed with money. I still do a certain level of industrial consulting but that is as much as anything to keep my brain interested in life. The idea of dying a billionaire and having been a thorough bastard getting there never had the slightest appeal.


message 3: by Michel (last edited May 29, 2017 06:50PM) (new)

Michel Poulin For me, money is only a mean to take care of my family and provide the essentials of life, plus a little extra from time to time. I don't ask for more and don't make the pursuit of more money a goal in life. Family happiness and reasonable financial security (and writing) are my goals in life. Some may say that I am saying this to look good, but I speak the truth. I just wish that most people would have the same philosophy about money.


message 4: by Avnish (new)

Avnish Bhatia | 19 comments The major goal of life is a status in the society. People amass wealth to enhance their status. Earning money and assets with permitted ways is not wrong. Let there be no upper limit of human achievements and hence the status.


message 5: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments When one has achieved enough money, then there is little motivation left for anything - apart from that which spending gives. In the beginning whatever method is used, money is just another tool for survival. I think the best life-style plan is to get just enough to enable you to concentrate on something that you really want to do or enjoy doing.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments P.K. wrote: "When one has achieved enough money, then there is little motivation left for anything - apart from that which spending gives. ..."

From my own observations - many of self-made dudes just don't want and often can't switch to something else. Business, moneymaking is their way of life. Only few can realize and say - 'hey, I've made 30 mils that's enough and now I can write books, go fishing or lie in a hammock the entire day..' For many it's their drive and purpose of life. As some grow cynical and seen-it-all, even enjoying things may become ... boring -:)
Early, comfortable retirement is a dream of many, but like with many things in life - those who can do it don't want it, while those who want - can't...


message 7: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments I have known one or two millionaires, when a million meant something, and they could not let go. That is because they became millionaires by being obsessed with what they were doing and what they were doing had a way of making money. One of them eventually failed (he was a whizz-kid in the City of London who asset-stripped companies and sold them off). The shock of failure (and it was something I could see coming many years off which is probably why I never got into that sort of thing and remained poor) nearly did for him, but he survived by starting again. But the obsession was no longer there and it was a task of necessity, a work of labour to pay off his debts. But the moral of this tale is that most millionaires have the capacity to be obsessed with what they are doing. Like good writers or good tennis players.


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments P.K. wrote: "But the moral of this tale is that most millionaires have the capacity to be obsessed with what they are doing. Like good writers or good tennis players...."

Yep, that's my impression too..
BTW, not a negligible percent among them have a bankruptcy or a few on their record. It's not necessarily because of them, as business always entails risks and not all factors are under their control. Yet, they find internal resources to get up and do it again (obsession - as you said -:))


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments So, amassing or spending as they come + a little more?


message 10: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5206 comments The only way I've amassed any amount of money is by hard work and living below my means. I don't understand, as most people don't, how to amass great wealth. It's too complicated for me to understand. It would be tragic if I needed great amounts of wealth to make me happy but, luckily, that's not the case. I buy a plant for myself or a toy for my grandchild, and I'm happy. I do wonder about people who have billions - who can buy anything, even power. What gives them joy?


message 11: by Nik (last edited May 18, 2020 07:16AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Scout wrote: "... I do wonder about people who have billions - who can buy anything, even power. What gives them joy?"

For some moneymaking (and often moneylosing), adding one deal to another, expanding biz, etc is a joy per se. Others turn to things that matter.
And can one be truly free without a coveted "financial freedom"?


message 12: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Paskoff (grpaskoff) | 243 comments Having financial freedom isn't the same as accumulating wealth. Nearly everyone wants their work to provide some value to society and to be compensated for that contribution. But there is a huge disparity in the world in what trade skills are equitably compensated and which ones are truly valuable. I think the pandemic is highlighting that there are many jobs critical to every nation's infrastructure that are taken for granted: truckers, grocery store clerks and checkout, food processing workers. And yet, despite the pandemic, I highly doubt that these jobs will result in higher wages in the future.


message 13: by P.K. (new)

P.K. Davies | 353 comments G.R. wrote: "Having financial freedom isn't the same as accumulating wealth. Nearly everyone wants their work to provide some value to society and to be compensated for that contribution. But there is a huge di..."

For sure, life isn't fair, GR. If anyone can find an algorythmn to explain luck we might be able to understand it better. But it is there and favours some most of the time and others not at all.
But those who make lots of money, if it is not given to them like Donald Trump, have probably got one thing in common; enormous energy, and many of them have somehing else in common; something in their background that drives them to have to show the world (or someone in particular) that they can succeed. But often they are successful because they truly enjoy what they do.


message 14: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 2919 comments Recommend Outliers: The Story of Success which I have just read. Interesting take on what makes success in multiple fields


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments P.K. wrote: "For sure, life isn't fair..."

Maybe it's for the better, that nowadays this seem to be accepted as an axiom. People just shrug and continue the rat race. In the past this spurred individuals and societies to seek how make things better. Since the best is often the enemy of the good, maybe it should be viewed as a constant lest this kinda dormant equilibrium is broken, but I do feel nostalgic at times :)


message 16: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5206 comments One doesn't have to be wealthy to achieve financial freedom. All that takes is having no debt, owing no one. And that's essential to my peace of mind.


message 17: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 167 comments Pretty much anyone on this forum is likely to be living in one of the lucky countries with comparatively strong security of person, property and political rights. (Subtle erosion of those rights notwithstanding...)

I read a stat a few months ago that said if you have $32k Australian - which is about $22k US, you're in the richest 1% in the world. I don't whether that's entirely true, but it won't be far from true. So that's just for perspective.

Of course, in our own lucky countries, those amounts are paltry and useless, so most of us need/want more. I can honestly say I have never been motivated by money but I am definitely motivated by not having to struggle.

I would love to make my living from writing but (as amazing as I am) that's unlikely to happen so I need to keep doing other stuff that pays.

The really interesting thing for me...and this is the main point I wanted to make...is that the richer you get, you never feel rich. I have a friend that regards me as super rich but I'm not - not in my mind. If you have to keep working then you're not rich.

However, I am aware that your spending tends to increase with income so that you always feel like you're chasing security.


message 18: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 167 comments Reading back over that, I sound like an arsehole.

And yet I'm a really sweet guy.


message 19: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 167 comments Now I really sound like an arsehole.


message 20: by Faith (new)

Faith Jones (havingfaith) | 51 comments You can't take money with you. What about feeling a need to leave a positive legacy in the record of the species, so when you're gone there's something to show you were once here and made creative contributions? Otherwise death is a comprehensive voidance of everything you were, which is horrible. A lot of you are authors and usually not in it for money, so isn't the point of a life to show that you lived and actually did something with it?


message 21: by Faith (new)

Faith Jones (havingfaith) | 51 comments Faith wrote: "You can't take money with you ..."
Now I sound like I'm brassic.


message 22: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 167 comments Faith wrote: "so isn't the point of a life to show that you lived and actually did something with it?.."

Yep, couldn't agree more.


message 23: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Adrian wrote: "...the richer you get, you never feel rich..."

The ambition naturally grows with the achievement. If it's a healthy ambition that motivates conquering new goals, why not.. Feeling satisfied is probably more important than feeling rich and the former feeling doesn't necessarily depend on how many digits appear on one's bank statement.


message 24: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Scout wrote: "One doesn't have to be wealthy to achieve financial freedom. All that takes is having no debt, owing no one. And that's essential to my peace of mind."

Some super rich (supposedly?) feel on top of the world owing much more than they have/worth. For some real biz is doing it with minimal own capital, maximum leverage and desirably non-recourse loans.
Having no debts is an excellent feeling. But then one needs to have income for having no expenses is theoretically possible but unlikely..


message 25: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Faith wrote: "...isn't the point of a life to show that you lived and actually did something with it? ..."

The point of life is a fundamental topic per se.. Just enjoy it while living (if someone can afford being a hedonist), multiply, leave legacy or imprint, enter history books, do something meaningful to you?


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9235 comments Faith wrote: "You can't take money with you. What about feeling a need to leave a positive legacy in the record of the species, so when you're gone there's something to show you were once here and made creative ..."

In a sense, that applies to my theoretical publications. I have published it in the hope of making a difference, and as for my fiction, having written it, there seems to be no point in not publishing it. However, I don't think the legacy aspect is a driving force. I don't really think about what is left behind, apart from my family, and to some extent the horrible job they will have cleaning out my garage, etc.


message 27: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 167 comments Nik wrote: "Feeling satisfied is probably more important than feeling rich and the former feeling doesn't necessarily depend on how many digits appear on one's bank statement..."

Yep. Having had some tens of thousands read my books (which pays surprisingly little) is deeply satisfying in a way that money never can be.


message 28: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1597 comments I agree with Scout that financial freedom and being wealthy are not synonymous. However, financial freedom is not simply defined as not owing anyone.

Sadly, most of us are only one emergency away from debt. The majority of bankruptcies that I have done were the result of major medical expenses or someone unable to work for 3 months (either job loss or inability to work because of that major medical issue).

The number of divorces in America after age 50 has resulted in a huge number of adults, especially women, facing retirement and 15 or more years remaining on their mortgages. We live longer than prior generations and on average women live longer than men. We are headed towards a huge number of single women living alone without enough retirement/assets/savings to last the number of years they are likely to live.

The rule of thumb has been you should have 7x your annual income saved when you retire. Most of the baby boomer generation doen't have anywhere near that with. 54% of the 50 to 59 age group having less than 100k saved and 28% of those in their 60s having less than 50k. Many of them are supporting their aging parents.

Money doesn't buy happiness, but feeling financially secure definitely makes a difference.

What amount of wealth do I need to feel secure? What amount of happiness did my job provide? 7x my annual income when I became disabled would provide that (but it's never going to be in the same ballpark). Six years and I still miss my job. It was part of my identity for 30 years. So the financial security without having my purpose back would not be sufficient to provide the same level of happiness I had when working and earning that income.


message 29: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Lizzie wrote: "Sadly, most of us are only one emergency away from debt. ..."

Sadly, indeed, if that's the situ for many people. I hear the same thing from a friend living in California and being a high-earner for years


message 30: by Bannerfischer13 (new)

Bannerfischer13 | 1 comments Everything is good in moderation. I think no one in their right mind would argue that there is something in the world to which this rule does not apply. So it is with wealth. It's good to have money, but you shouldn't try to get lost in earning it with all your might. I used to work in a very well-paid position, but I left a lot of time there. Now, when I work in a new job, I have less money, but more happiness and enjoyment of life. I hope each of us will find our balance.


message 31: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9235 comments And I hope you continue to enjoy more happiness and enjoyment.


message 32: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Bannerfischer13 wrote: "Everything is good in moderation. ..."

Agree with that. Good luck with the new job!


message 33: by Jim (last edited Jun 07, 2021 09:29AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 34 comments I have been financially poor and financially very comfortable during my lifetime. I prefer being very comfortable.

I have a highschool diploma - no college. I have always been ambitious, confident, and well-read, but believe I posess no more than average intelligence. For the first six years of my marriage, I had to work two jobs. Subsequent promotions and corresponding salary increases allowed me to focus full-time upon my primary career after that.

Sound advice, patience, disciplined budgeting and saving, plus unwavering encouragement from my spouse through both good times and bad all attributed to the following accomplishments:

- Able to allow my late wife to realize her desire to be a stay-at-home, full-time Mom to our 5 children.
- Paid off a 30-year mortgage in 17 years.
- Have not had a car payment since 1986. Have paid cash since.
- Able to retire in 2001 at the age of 54 and have enjoyed a comfortable retirement for the past 20 years to-date.
- Have not had an outstanding loan or unpaid credit card balance for 21 years and counting.

Life experiences have taught me that an unforeseen and uncontrollable calamity may strike at any time. However, so far, so good for the past few decades.


message 34: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13095 comments Jim wrote: "... so far, so good for the past few decades...."

Yeah, per aspera ad astra.
Glad you are well set up and hope you'll keep it that way


message 35: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5206 comments My purpose in life is to be happy. Not easy to achieve, but easier if you don't have debt. There's a quote from a Jimmy Buffet book I read: "Want what you have." Not to say that you can't work for more, but in the meantime, well, what you have is probably pretty good and something to be thankful for.


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