‘Money is like butter; it’s meant to be spread’
Question: I am jealous of people who have amassed so much wealth. Media keeps highlighting all these billionaires. But do not get me wrong. I do not want to be a billionaire. All I want is to have at least a seven-digit savings account. Is that too bad?
Answer: I encourage you to watch this YouTube channel, The Survival (https://www.youtube.com/@TheSurvival). The channel is all about condensed videos of two guys going into the jungle and building elaborate villas, sometimes with swimming pool cum water slide. What is amazing is that they use just rudimentary tools for digging, cutting and hammering.
These guys do not use any power tools—not because there is no power in the jungle but because manual tools are their choice. Instead of nails, they use wooden pegs or strips of wood to bind planks to make into floors, walls and roofs. Instead of cement they use clay soil. And for their sheer determination combined with amazing ingenuity, the channel has accumulated 2.34 million YouTube subscribers on just 190 video uploads. Of course, it takes months for these guys to finish just one YouTube episode.
By definition, a tool is a device or implement used to carry out a particular function. Tools are already powerful even if they are not powered. But tools cease to be effective if the second part of the definition is not fulfilled, that of carrying out a particular function. Such tools will just end up accumulating dust instead of YouTube subscribers.
Money is also a tool. Money is one of the means in personal finance to get from one’s starting point (as quantified in a person’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) to his financial goals. It is the same tool that companies use, large and small, to realize their vision. That is why you will not see the accumulation of the most profits as part of any vision statement, which represents a company’s long-term plan on what it wants to become, what it wants to achieve and how it wants to impact its various stakeholders.
So, merely building a seven-digit savings account falls short of a true vision for you. More importantly, it is your impact on those around you that will make your wealth buildup worth your while. It is written that:
“Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when someone has more than he needs.’ Then he told them a parable, ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops. Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?’ So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.” – Luke 12:15-21
Before you embark on building your worth, ask first the purpose for such venture. Blindly building wealth is akin to having no vision, no goal. At the risk of over quoting a financial planner (i.e. Dan Benson), “If you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it.”
Again, it is written:
“We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it; but as long as we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. People who long to be rich are a prey to trial; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and harmful ambitions which plunge people into ruin and destruction. ‘The love of money is the root of all evils’ and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds. But, as someone dedicated to God, avoid all that. You must aim to be upright and religious, filled with faith and love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith and win the eternal life to which you were called and for which you made your noble profession of faith before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:7-12 INQ
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Efren Ll. Cruz is a registered financial planner and director of RFP Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, author of bestselling personal finance books in the Philippines and a YAMAN Coach. To consult with a YAMAN Coach, email [email protected]. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 105th RFP Program this January 2024. To inquire, e-mail [email protected] or text at 09176248110.