Friday, April 3, 2009

Money

Monster - Leah Mackin

“Money doesn’t buy happiness.” - Ivanka Trump in the HBO documentary Born Rich. How come only the rich say that?  If that’s the case I think they should allow the rest of us [via monetary donation] to become as unhappy as them. It’s only fair. Misery loves company!

Money is such a taboo topic. People will gladly tell you who they shucked and jived with last night but wouldn’t dare disclose their salary in the next breath. A lot of people's self worth is tied to how much money they're bringing home. But why?! Everybody wants money, and it’s the one thing everyone is least likely to share [either in figures or literal bills] with one another. If we all had it it would lose its “value”; if none of us had it, well, perhaps we’d all be rich.


I once heard someone say “Money doesn’t change you, it just allows you to be who you really are.”

Money, and the insatiable desire for it, brings out the ugly side in all of us. We all need it and want it, the world runs on it. We want enough to provide for ourselves and our families, but we also want more than the next person; to be millionaires, with six homes all with perfect picket fences, yachts galore, beach houses in exotic locations, and in sometimes, we just desire it as a means to show others that we are better than they are. Because that's all most people truly want anyway. To be special. To be revered. No doubt Donald Trump gets greeted differently than you or I would.

I’ve met many people who’ve told me that they want to and will become millionaires. And all I hear within that is a beautiful fallacy. We forget that with more money come more problems. [And inevitably more spending.] I remember getting a hefty lump sum a few years back, and I was so overwhelmed and terrified by it, I ended up putting the money aside until I could figure out what to do with it. Imagining receiving a windfall tomorrow or winning the lottery, or getting some grand inheritance you hadn't heard about until now? What would you really do with that money in that instant?

If you haven’t thought it out, it won’t be as simple as “Well, I’ll pay off my debt, I’ll buy a house.” No no no. People will come out the woodwork. People will ask to borrow or be gifted money. You may just blow it all on a Maserati. Shit will come up. Depending on who you associate with, perhaps lots of shit will. Things will undoubtedly change for you, but you also have to be prepared for the ways in which it will change the things and people around you. Windfalls and sudden money are totally different game than growing up wealthy. For one, you’re spared the lifestyle and the society in which a lot of rich kids grow up in. Stuffy, “tasteful”, and sheltered. Secondly, you may be the only “rich” individual in your circle. That’s pressure. I prefer the idea of earning your riches rather than just having them handed to you. There’s a gratitude and even a humility in the former that I find is usually missing in the latter.

Because I'm aware of how things would change [and also because I wouldn't want more money than I could spend in a lifetime], I have no desire to become excessively wealthy. It’s not that it’s far fetched or impossible but it's simply because I’m very aware of what I want. I want to own a brownstone or a loft in the city, I potentially want a second home elsewhere and I want four two-week vacations a year. And you might say, 'Well Lady Blue, that takes money.' Of course it does. But not billions of dollars. At least not according to my calculations. [Side note: If I did have a million trillion dollars, I would make sure my friends and family were taken care of  real well. No question.]

Plus, I have my tricks; nothing illegal and nothing shady. Just live small. People who are now making let’s say, $150,000 a year and saying that they can’t get by are insane. How did they get by before they were making that lofty amount? Were they dumpster diving? Lord, I hope not. If they can't "get by" they are probably living right near their means, indulging in things they don’t need and too busy keeping up with the Joneses to notice. You know what the Joneses are probably doing? Minding their business and giving no fucks about you and yours! Just like you should be doing! Personally, I don’t care what the Joneses are doing because the Joneses are not paying my bills.

Just because you got that raise doesn’t mean you should splurge on a new living-room set. Sure you can splurge, but if it's not planned out, you'll face the consequences. People trying to impress other people is one of the reasons why we’re in a recession. I’m not saying I’m faultless, but thankfully I’m very young and have quickly learned from my financial mistakes. I guess people don’t talk about money because it hits us at our core. At our weakest. We’re afraid that without money we’ll be seen as incompetent, boring, unimportant. And we believe that with it, we’ll be seen as intelligent, lofty, fulfilled. It connects to our spirits and fucks with our well-being. Our worship of money is due to the fact that it feeds many different feelings within us: power, greed, despair, comfort, respect, appreciation and more.

Remember that no matter who we are or what we have, we all arrive and say goodbye the same exact way: penniless.

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Be succinct and keep it classy :)