This is a post by our regular columnist Clark.
Money, as is widely known, is only a tool (“a” and not “the” because bartering is an effective one too for many goods and services) that helps a person fulfill their needs and also satisfy wants. Ed Rempel had written about six values involving money that motivates people. I’m going to continue that post in the another direction and offer a few characteristics that some people develop when they start making more money.
I’m not referring to windfalls in the form of inheritances, lottery wins, or cashing in on stock options but only to increased earnings through a higher-paying job or to going from being a student to becoming an employee. Please note that this post is not an all-encompassing character classification, speaking for every person that gets a raise or starts to earn an income. It is only meant to highlight that some people with below-mentioned qualities do exist.
The obvious one on a personal finance blog! Increased incomes lead to the typical consumer activity of buying and doing things to “enjoy life”, boost their image, keep up with the neighbors, and lead a life worthy for whatever level they have reached as dictated by society (not necessarily in that order for some people).
As Ed mentioned in his post, money does provide self-confidence and subsequently, the ability to overpower the many curve balls that life may throw at us. Nonetheless, some people take it one step further and become overconfident – the “I have a job that pays well and others that don’t are to be looked down upon” camp. This arrogance may manifest in the form of belittling statements of others that haven’t been fortunate to see their better days yet.
Certain people gain an incredible amount of knowledge overnight (it could be that their new colleague offered a suggestion and they merely repeat it to friends) once they start making some or more money. They show their new-found knowledge by meddling with friends’ affairs (though no help was sought) and chide them to push harder. Now, I’m not denying that some people may have genuine concern for their friends and want them to do well in life too. But, spare a thought for the unemployed or low-income friend who wants to improve but circumstances (maybe past mistakes) do not let them or maybe, they are destined to never match their other friends in terms of social status (not every person we went to school with may land a high-paying job and maybe, they don’t want one either!).
Closed mindset (“My way is the only way or the best way” mentality)
If one becomes successful by going to university, then there could be an outpour of suggestions to others that doing so will be the cure-all for their life’s problems including relationships. That is, going to university will entail a high-paying career, better dating prospects and a subsequent successful marriage.
However, the “go to university to make more money” idea doesn’t always bode well. The field of study plays a big part in the ultimate earning potential of the candidate, not to mention their capability, street smartness and professional networking skills (not necessarily in that order). As for dating prospects, I agree that the initial inclination may be toward a good career and reasonably attractive but lasting relationships don’t always match that filtering criteria. For curiosity sake, how many professionals (including yourself) that you know are married to another (doctor to scientist, architect to lawyer, engineer to economist, etc.)? I suspect that this percentage will be a small minority.
It would work well for people to accept that change is permanent and most good and bad things will pass away. Having sufficient money helps to live life without worrying about food, shelter, and clothing. Beyond that, the greater the income above the minimum, the more the freedom to engage and enjoy other luxuries. Appreciation of the existing status quo by those that possess one or more of the above traits, striving to improve themselves, while empathizing with the unfortunate ones (at least in their eyes), and offering a helping hand when needed would go a long way in making every relationship more cherished.
Have you come across people with any of the above traits? Have you seen someone change (not spending-wise but character-wise) after they witnessed an increase in earnings? How did it manifest?
About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.