April 16, 2012, 5:00 am

Is Greed a Good Motivator?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Assets and Net Worth
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I’m a numbers guy.

 

I work in finance, I blog about finance, you can say without a doubt that I like finance ;-).

 

You can also assume that I like money too. After all, you can’t evolve in a financial world 24/7 without the love for money. People that don’t know me will tell you that I love money and I’m “that kind of guy”. But these people are wrong. There is a huge difference in liking a great lifestyle and liking money. The problem is that where we live, a great lifestyle is synonymous with making money. If you want to live the good life, you need more than spare change in your pockets.

 greed

I’m not greedy, but I use money to motivate me

 

Most of my motivations in life are not directly related to money. But I know that the generator of all my dreams will be money.

 

I truly enjoy having my wife at home so she can take care of our family.

I truly enjoy the fact that we go on vacation every year and spend awesome moments together.

I want to show my kids Disney World next year.

 

These goals are based on my main values: family and enjoying life. However, if I don’t make enough money, my wife will have to go back to work and we will live a stressful life. We won’t go to Virginia Beach or elsewhere for vacation and Amy won’t be able to pick up shells on the beach. We won’t go to Disney and I won’t be able to see the excitement in the eyes of my kids.

 

Since I’m a numbers guy, the easiest way to measure if I can achieve one of my goals or not is to know how much money I make and how I manage it. This year, I’m focusing on knowing where my money goes instead of making more. I know that money will come, but I certainly need to know how to use it efficiently!

 

Greed Vs Money

 

By definition, greed is the love of money. I guess the problem with greed is the fact that putting money or making money a fundamental value. While greed is a poor motivator, money can be an awesome coach!

 

Greed can push you to do some shady things in order to reach your goal. It’s normal since money comes as the top priority. However, if you simply use money as a goal, as numbers game, it becomes a healthy way to stay motivated.

 

Most people see money as something bad, something you should not be looking for. They reference money as greed but I think there is a sane way to use money as one of your main sources of motivation. It’s just a matter of the importance you give money in your mind and in your heart. One should not be discouraged because of a lack of money. He should use this as a source of motivation; as a goal to achieve.

 

What I Like So Much about Money

 

There is something truly amazing about money. And it’s not related to what it can bring you or the power it holds. The true amazing thing about money is that it’s measurable! There is nothing like a number to set a goal! Let’s take an example. If one of your goals is to bring your family to Disney World, you have 2 ways of dealing with it:

 

#1 You hope that you will have “enough” money saved and seek a good deal in January

#2 You check right away how much it costs and make a savings plan for it

 

I’ll let you guess which strategy will work better for most goals ;-). With option #2, you will be able to track your goal on a monthly basis and see how well (or bad) you are doing. This is the magic about money; you simply have to follow a number! It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s not related to emotions (such as “I really want to do this” instead of thinking “Can I afford it?”). There is nothing easier than putting a trip to Disney on your credit card. But hell your trip will become expensive!

 

 

Another Example

 

Before I published my net worth on my blog, I didn’t follow it on paper. Therefore, I was simply making money, spending money and thinking that I might be doing well since my pay check was increasing from one year to another. But the past 12 months showed me that I spend too much and I should revise my expenses.

 

The fact of publicly reporting my net worth is a means for me to know if I’m heading in the right direction or not. The blog is a powerful tool as I can count on YOU to tell me that I’m doing well or not! Even though I know where to go, your comments are definitely an additional source of motivation for me.

 

I think that when we can simplify most of our goals to a dollar sign, it makes everything easier. It’s very hard to reach “financial independence” but it’s much easier to reach an “alternative source of income generating 40K/year” which would grant one financial independence. What do you think? Do you use money as a motivator?

 

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Comments

Greed for FREEDOM. That’s where my greed is. To be able to do anything I want, whenever I want with nobody telling me what to do.

This is the centerpiece of my post today on FS. It reveals my passive income and various income streams that are slowly getting me there. Let me know your thoughts, and tell me if you still don’t believe in my “how to retire early” post!

Best, Sam

Well said! I totally agree with you and Sam. Some people use money as a sort of scoring system to see how they stack up compared with others. For me, it’s all about financial independence!

Though I wouldn’t consider my self greedy I don’t like what money can do and put my family and our situation. I wouldn’t just to anything but I think that you have to understand that money does help create a lifestyle. Just how much you need really depends on you. More isn’t always better since many spend without paying attention like you mentioned.

Thanks for this post! People do view money as dirty. I use money as a scoring system. I may compare myself to PF bloggers, just because they motivate me to do well in personal finance habits, but I do not like to compare myself in net worth. That’s just a losing game.

by: The Financial Blogger | April 16th, 2012 (12:44 pm)

@Sam,
I couldn’t agree more. Reaching financial freedom is awesome!

I commented on your post… But still, the point was the calculation used in your previous post, not your situation.

So true. We all have control over our own lives.
We don’t need to “hope” that one day we can have enough money to do xxx. All we have to do is research, crunch numbers and PLAN… and it’ll happen!

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