Money means freedom and power in a million different ways. Sure, there’s the obvious way of being able to structure your own days and not work, but there’s so much more to it. Having some money in your bank account gives you a cushion in your life no matter what dice the universe rolls. Money has such amazing superpowers and I will NEVER understand the lure of spending it all on junk and stuff and crap before sewing up your own parachute, umbrella, safety net. Having some cash in your bank account lets you react the way you want to react. It lets you put your own self interests first.
Money is freedom from bad romantic entanglements
I don’t watch much television, but I do enjoy Law & Order: SVU, The X-Files (there’s a season 10!) and Judge Judy. Judge shows litter the daytime TV landscape, but Judge Judy is by far the best in my opinion. Watching her yell at people makes my day. I also feel like I learn so much about human beings and relationships from her show.
I’m always shocked by the paltry sums of money that people go to court over, prolonging toxic contact with someone who is better left behind and forgotten. I’m not saying that you should let people take advantage of you, but sometimes it’s better to move forward without the hassle, stress and time of suing for some cash you’re owed and chalking the loss up to a lesson learned.
I hope that the plaintiffs and defendants on Judge Judy aren’t the most typical slice of Americana, but I find that vast majority of failed romantic relationships showcased there terrifying. Money gives you the freedom to leave an unhealthy relationship behind quickly. If you’re earning your own cash and you’re not up to your hair follicles in debt and you’re not living paycheck to paycheck and you’re not dependant on somebody else, you can summon the necessary resources to exit and move on with your life.
He hits you once? She verbally abuses you? He treats you like a maid? She cheats on you? I promise you that you’ll find it a lot easier to leave if you have some cash in your bank account and a way to sustain yourself. Money gives you the freedom to let go of the wrong person. Money grants you independence.
Even Judge Judy herself knows this. She recounted this conversation with her first husband in her memoir.
I said to Ron, who was in private practice and could set his own hours, “I have to be in court tomorrow afternoon. You need to go to the swim meet.” He had a look of incredulity. “That’s not our deal. If you want to work, that’s fine, but your job is a hobby.
….We were divorced within a year, and I vowed to never again let another person define me.”
Money is freedom from a negative living situation.
I see so many unhappy living arrangements on Judge Judy that could easily be solved with a balance in a bank account. The crazy and violent roommate is someone you just don’t get along with. Whoops, the house you rented on Craigslist is actually a crack den. There is no running water in the place. The idyllic neighborhood during the day turns into a loud club at night.
My last year of college, my roommate decided to stop paying rent. I could have taken her to court over the landlord keeping my security deposit because of her failure. I would have won this very clear case, but the sum was a small price to pay to see her true character and end the friendship. Perhaps on principle, I should have sued her, but the idea of squeezing blood from a stone placated my moral outrage.
Money is a cushion from a hostile work environment
And money doesn’t just buffer you from unfortunate personal entanglements. Money gives you the wings to flee a negative work environment. It lets you tell your boss that he can’t swear at you. And urges you to tell a supervisor that he can’t make a pass at you. Money demands that you tell your employer that he can’t ask you to do something illegal or unethical. In an uncertain world with a fickle safety net, money whispers in your ear that you’ll be okay even without the system’s official support.
If you have your own money to back up your reactions, you’ll find it a lot easier to leave and find a new job, complain to human resources without obsessing over the repercussions, blow the whistle to the relevant government agency with less fear of retribution. No depreciating asset will give you the flexibility that a healthy bank account balance can. I’m not saying everything will be easy, but I can guarantee that everything will be harder with no money in the bank.
Money buys you more justice
Speaking of that fickle safety net and uncertain world, money protects you from the system when you do make a small mistake. Caught smoking a joint in public? Arrested for protesting for a cause you believe in? Even for misdemeanors, you better have bail money or else you’ll sit in a cell until it’s all sorted.
Overworked public defenders with crushing caseloads may not give you the same defense that a gaggle of attorneys working solely for you can give. Money talks. It’s a sad reality that the justice system will often peek under her blindfold or at least put her pinky on the scale if you wave enough cash in her face.
Money is power
Money gives you the freedom to make your life what you want it to be and the most valuable thing money can buy is freedom from having to worry about money. I know I repeat that sentiment a lot, but it’s a good sentiment and I think it perfectly encapsulate my philosophy on how to think about money.
Money makes the world go round. It lets you define your own worth, choose your own path in life. Money gives you flexibility. Don’t waste your money on stuff. Make no mistake, all the stuff that you will buy in the store will eventually be relegated to the dumpster. The rate of stuff turning to junk may vary based on the purchase, but eventually everything will be tossed. Everything.
Your freedom is more important, no?