Rich Dad, Planning Daughter

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Money is paper; it has no natural worth.

However, when I was little, I saw inherent value to it. I earned it from my chores and knew that it was something desirable, but I didn’t understand that money has value from usefulness not from ownership. Owning money is not valuable if using it never happens. Saving is wise, but knowing when it is the right time to spend is wise as well.

As a result, a more difficult lesson to learn is that money isn’t the end. See, when I saw inherent value in the money, that’s when it sat in my sock drawer or later in investments without any purpose but growing more money. Now, long-term investing is an awesome thing. To let your money sit and grow more money over time is wise, but to let your money sit to grow more money because more money is the end misses the point. It’s important to know why you’re growing your money. What is the money for?

When my dad led me to ask this question of myself, I discovered what I wanted money for.

For me, I want money so that I can feel financially secure in the future. I want some of my money to be waiting for me when the floor falls out from under me. Similarly, I like being able to provide for myself in the present. During my college life, I wanted to make sure I had enough money to put food on my table, a roof over my head, and books in my backpack. Financial security is one of my top five values.

Also, I enjoy spending money on others, buying birthday and Christmas presents, treating them to meals, and assisting them in important purchases. As I spoke of last week, I enjoy providing for others. Hospitality is definitely one end that my money is for. Similarly, I found that, even in my early teens, I was saving money so that my finances would enable me to have a family some day. I was saving money to buy a house, to support a husband, to have children, and whatever else the family life would ask of me.

See, for me, Friendship / Love is my biggest value and, as a result, I align my money with that.

My money has value because I have values my money helps me achieve. In this season of New Year’s resolutions and old year evaluations, treat your imagination with the question: What’s the money for?

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Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.