I was raised to understand that money isn’t everything—that was much more to life, and beyond some bare minimum, you shouldn’t care about money much. Instead, you should focus on love, family, helping others, being a good person, etc.
I grew up looking down on people who were “money-hungry,” who placed the pursuit of money ahead of most other things, as though they were somehow morally deficient.
This was, of course, entirely wrong.
Money is everything. I so wish I’d been taught this, rather than having to learn it myself over four decades of life. Money . is . everything.
Love? You cannot have it unless you have money. In the absence of money, love cannot be sustained.
Family? You want to feed your kids? Clothe your kids? Give them a safe home to live in? Give them some semblance of a childhood? Have any time to spend with them? You’d better have a lot of money.
Helping others? Give me a break! Unless you have surplus money, you have neither surplus time nor surplus resources to help anyone. You are the one needing all the help you can get.
Being a good person? Meaning what, exactly? Being honest? Keeping your word? Avoiding conflict? Try doing these things in the absence of money. The more money you have, the more you are practically able to be honest, keep your word, and avoid conflict.
We live in an advanced, post-industrial, capitalist society. Money is the universal medium, and because of that, it is the most fundamental medium. There is one avenue toward any end. Any end at all, good or bad. That avenue is to have money.
The best thing you can do for your kids is to teach them that whatever their priorities in life—and they can learn this as they go along (if, and only if, they have enough money to enable the space for such self-reflection)—money is job number one. If you have money, you can do whatever it is that you believe is right, proper, and adds up to a good and well-lived life.
If you do not have money, you have—literally—nothing.