Money isn’t everything; you’ve likely heard that saying a million times. But is it true?
We can’t survive without money, so it has to be everything, right?
Money doesn’t buy happiness or make you successful. You could have all the money in the world, but if you were missing certain things, it wouldn’t matter. What goes on behind the scenes is what most find important.
What Does “Money Isn’t Everything” Mean?
Money isnt everything because it doesn’t bring us happiness. Yes, you might buy things you like that make you happy temporarily, but material possessions don’t help you fulfill your sole purpose in life or demonstrate your values.
Money is a necessary bartering tool to get what you need; therefore, it is important to understand the value of money, but it’s certainly not everything. For example, a roof over your head or clothes on your back are important, but life has more meaning. Therefore, while we should all value money and financial stability to a certain point, there are also many other things to see value in, if not more.
Who Said Money Is Not Everything?
Many famous voices, such as Warren Buffet, have said, “Money isnt everything.” Buffet also said, “make sure you earn a lot before speaking such nonsense.” While his quote could have many different meanings, most people take it as money can’t buy you a healthy life or provide any purpose. Yes, the people that struggle to make ends meet might think money buys happiness, but once you reach the point of financial independence, you realize money isnt the root of all happiness.
Why Money Isn’t Everything To Us
Money isnt everything to us, and that surprises many people. Yes, we’ve worked hard to reach financial independence, but that doesn’t mean that money means more to us than other things. We recognize that money is important, but we also recognize it’s not everything.
Money pays the bills, feeds, and clothes us, but it doesn’t build relationships, create personal growth, or make us friends. Instead, money helps us achieve what we want; it’s a means to an end. Nonetheless, there are so many people and things that mean so much more to us.
Why Is Money Important?
Now, money is important to us, of course. It helps us meet our basic needs, financial security, and independence. But moreover, we need it to live life today and in the future when we fully retire and enjoy life even further.
What we try to focus on, though, is feeling grateful, taking care of our family and friends, and maintaining good health so we can enjoy life to its full potential.
Money Isn’t Everything: Things to Value Besides Money
So, what are things people value aside from money? Here are the top things which mean the most to us rather than focusing on money to help us live a lavish lifestyle or to keep up with the Joneses. We don’t think or act like rich people. Instead, we focus on the following.
Happiness doesn’t come from a career, material possessions, or even things we can do. Instead, it comes from who we spend time with and how we spend time with them. So we focus on quality time with friends and loved ones versus showing off and spending money, assuming it will bring more happiness.
Happiness is found within. It happens when you love who you are and what you’re doing. That might mean working a job that doesn’t cover the bills or even volunteering, but if it brings you joy, it’s what you should do. Of course, money matters to cover the bills and basic needs, but beyond that, happiness is found in the freedom you create for yourself.
You can’t ever get time back or make more of it, but you can always make more money. So instead, use each minute you have intentionally. Think about what you trade your time for, whether it’s to make money, spend time with family, take care of your health, or anything else. Make sure what you use your time for brings you joy.
In life, you can’t buy time unless you hire someone to do a task for you, saving you the time of doing it. You also can’t add hours to your day or life, no matter how rich you are. Making time is a scarce commodity that, if you don’t use, you lose.
If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. Therefore, focusing on taking care of yourself is of utmost importance. This means more than meeting your basic needs. It means getting enough exercise, eating right, getting regular checkups, and staying on top of your health care needs.
When you only focus on money and overachieving, you put your health at risk. Many work more than necessary, feel stressed, and don’t take time to care for themselves. When their health fails, it doesn’t matter how much money they have because they’ll no longer be able to enjoy it. While financial security is a great feeling, it shouldn’t come at the cost of a person’s health.
Relationships make the world go round. Life would be pretty dull without the special people in your life. Relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and others are an important piece of the puzzle. Keeping relationships alive requires time and energy. When you put in the time and effort to keep up your relationships, you’ll have rewarding experiences with your closest friends and family.
Living a lonely life or not having close friends and family can be depressing, isolating, and even affect our overall health. Choosing time with friends and family over focusing on wealth will bring you more joy, so prioritizing relationships is highly important.
You are always young enough to learn. No matter what the world thinks about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks, everyone stands to learn something new every day.
As we age, it’s important to keep our brains active. But, of course, this means something other than drowning yourself in work so you can become rich. Instead, it means doing things you love that bring you joy and help you live your best life.
For example, if you suffer from depression or anxiety, learn what hobbies or interests help you deal with it. For some, it’s running; for others, it’s cooking or sewing. The key is to learn new skills and see how they make you feel. You did well if you got a sense of well-being doing these things. But the key is to keep trying and learning so you never get to the point that you’re unhappy with your life.
Whether you have a large or small family, your community is important too. This is just another example of how money isnt everything. If you’ve ever seen a community come together when tragedy strikes their world and member of their circle, you understand the importance of spending time and supporting those around you.
Community brings a sense of belonging and happiness that money can’t buy. Being involved in your community can give you the desire to help others and think outside yourself. You’ll feel like you belong and that your life has importance when you stay involved in your community.
Experiences create core memories; that’s not something possessions can do. So, you could have a billion dollars and everything in the world, but they won’t create those memories that last a lifetime.
Experiences involve your mind, body, and soul. They often include time with your closest friends and family members. Material things don’t make you laugh until your sides hurt or you smile so big your cheeks hurt. They also don’t help you connect with everyone you love in a deeper and more meaningful way like experiences do.
Too many people look to money to solve life’s problems, which usually causes more problems. Money can’t cure boredom, find love, or even make you happy. Money aside, life is all about the good, bad, and ugly. It’s about embracing everything life throws at you and figuring out how to make lemons out of lemonade. We wouldn’t have the good if life never threw us curve balls, right? The key is to live life to the fullest. We aren’t like cats and get nine lives. Instead, we get one life to live, and it’s up to us to make the most of it and embrace every moment.
If Money Isn’t Everything, Why Does Everything Need Money?
Money is a means to an end. Yes, sometimes money provides us with the things, experiences, people, and places that make us happy, but it’s not money that brings us joy. It’s what’s behind the money, like the feelings we have, that bring us happiness.
Money is our way of exchanging one resource for another, so yes, it’s necessary, but many things are arguably more important. Knowledge, happiness, time with loved ones, involvement in society, and a low-stress life are what’s important.
Money Is Not Everything FAQs
If money isnt everything, then how should we think about it? Here are some questions to consider.
Why Is Money Not the Most Important Thing in Our Lives?
Money can’t do the things humans can. It can’t give you a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to, or the confidence to step outside your comfort zone. Money helps you achieve wealth, but that’s just a number. It’s not what drives the happiness inside you, which is the most important thing in life.
Can’t Money Buy Happiness?
Money doesn’t buy happiness, and in fact, it can be a burden. Beyond covering your basic needs, money can cause more work, stress, and frustration. If you use money and buy unnecessary things, you’ll have more to care for, clean, and track. Money also makes you greedy. Once you taste what money can buy, you’ll suddenly want more, and the cycle never ends.
What Does “Make the Money, Don’t Let the Money Make You” Mean?
You make money at your job, but money doesn’t define who you are or how you conduct yourself. Money shouldn’t make you act differently, such as giving you an air of superiority or thinking that others are beneath you.
Money can help you buy the things you need and want, but the person you become should be someone who acts on what they believe in, takes care of others, and builds relationships that last a lifetime.
Can We Live Without Money?
Since money is our only bartering tool, we can’t live without money. However, we can live without the attitude, stress, and frustration that money brings. You need money to live today and in the future, but that doesn’t mean it should change who you are, even if you have millions of dollars.
Why Is Money So Powerful?
Money does have a sense of power. It is what gives you the freedom to do almost anything in life. It’s how you buy your house and cars, travel, and buy the things you need. Of course, none of us would have anything without money; therefore, it has a hold on us, but it shouldn’t. Money isnt everything but powerful, so we should see it that way and make sure we’re living life to the fullest in all other areas.
Is Money the Only Way to Stay Happy?
Money can be a piece of your happiness because it provides a roof over your head and clothes on your back, but it’s a small piece of the puzzle. Other ways to stay happy include doing what you love, spending time with those who mean the most to you, and using your time how you intend.
Is There More to Life Than Money?
Yes, money is a way to get what you need and maybe want, but it’s not the only thing in life. Think of money like your car, it gets you from Point A to Point B, but does your car make you happy? No, it’s the people and places you get to see using your car that make you happy, and that’s why there’s so much more to life than money.
Do You Need Money to Succeed?
Money is important for success, but it’s not the only factor. If you let money have a hold on you, it can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. You’ll constantly feel like you need more, even with more than enough money in your bank account. On the other hand, you succeed when you love the person you’ve become and what you’re doing with your life.
Why Do You Realize That Money Isn’t Everything As You Get Older?
As you get older, you realize the more important things in life. You know it doesn’t bring happiness when you have more than enough money. The people you surround yourself with and the things you do with your life bring joy. It’s a shame that most people don’t realize this until they are much older; they might not live the same way they do if they could learn this sentiment earlier.
How Do You Teach Your Children That Money Isn’t Everything?
Kids watch adults with an eagle eye. You could talk to them until you’re blue in the face, but they’re watching your actions, not listening to your words. So if you want to teach your kids that money isnt everything, show them how to be frugal, make sacrifices, and enjoy life’s little things without spending money. Instead, let them understand experiences and be intentional with how they spend their time to bring joy.
Are There Any Books That Show Money Isn’t Everything?
Many authors have written books about different perspectives on how money isnt everything. There are books for kids and adults, but you should always form your own opinion.
Is the Phrase “Money Isn’t Everything” a Justification for Mediocrity?
Some people think the phrase money isnt everything justifies their ‘middle class’ or ‘boring’ life, but it’s not true. Money isnt what buys happiness. Instead, what you do with money, time, health, and community determines your happiness.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of Money
Money is important, but money isnt everything. You can’t live without it, but you also can’t live without a feeling of peace and happiness. You have to create happiness by living a life that makes you feel fulfilled. Your job, material things, house, or car aren’t making you happy, but the things you do with your life and how you live it will.
Samantha Hawrylack is a personal finance expert and full-time entrepreneur with a passion for writing and SEO. She holds a Bachelor’s in Finance and Master’s in Business Administration and previously worked for Vanguard, where she held Series 7 and 63 licenses. Her work has been featured in publications like Grow, MSN, CNBC, Ladders, Rocket Mortgage, Quicken Loans, Clever Girl Finance, Credit Donkey, Crediful, Investing Answers, Well Kept Wallet, AllCards, Mama and Money, and Concreit, among others. She writes in personal finance, real estate, credit, entrepreneurship, credit card, student loan, mortgage, personal loan, insurance, debt management, business, productivity, and career niches.