It was the love of money that ancients considered the root of all evil, not money itself. Modernists interpret that to mean that avarice and greed are the culprits here, but we’re loafing around in the same neighbourhood.
A more clear-cut case reveals itself in relationships. Some significant proportion of marriages end over disputes and stress concerning family finances, and we can intuit that many more are thusly tested. I’d go further and say that almost all marriages and a big majority of other relationships find themselves in a sticky puddle with respect to money at some point.
Can we prevent or mitigate any or some of this misery? Yes, but as with any personal change, we must want it and then make it a priority. Avarice is another word for wanting, or acqusitiveness. Curbing our desire for more things is a natural start, as is creating a mindset of living (well) within our means. Dickens’ Mr Micawber:
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.” – (Chapter 12 of David Copperfield)
For our purposes, let’s equate “happiness” with a greater chance of calm and steadily maturing relations with our spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. If we’re yet to meet someone, it naturally follows that if money isn’t a concern, we’ll behave more serenely and apply better judgement.
Easy, right? Not so fast. The question remains why we all find ourselves in a race for better houses, smarter cars, fancier phones (Good Lord! really?) and more time eating in restaurants. Partially it is our nature and partially I think we’re subject to enormous pressure to be seen as successful by our peers. And anyone else who might be looking at us.
That looks to me to be a big obstacle to spending less, saving more and creating a surplus in our money supply. Keeping our own counsel requires strength and a willingness to be different. Sticking to a plan is a test of discipline.
The question then pops up again: What is more important to you? A new/ish car? A bigger house? Another meal out? Or would you forgo these things to be more in control of your money and therefore your life? Oh, and maintain or start a more complete and satisfying relationship?