You are probably not too thrilled to hear this, but the plain fact is money is the ruler of most things in our universe. It’s probably obvious to you that money comes into play for certain situations, but when you start digging, you’ll probably find that money is the sun around which you orbit. Like it or not, it affects our career choices, our love lives, and even the friendships we keep.
In case you need more convincing, here are some of the key ways that money runs your entire life – from most obvious to least.
1. Your Crappy Job
You do that job to get the money you need to pay the rent, buy food and do all of the other things you need to do in life. It’s the money factor that prompted you to get that job in the first place, and sometimes, it’s the money that causes you to stay in that job for far too long. If the work is miserable, your boss sucks, and your coworkers act like they’re the spawn of Satan, why else would people call something a "crappy job" and then continue to stay in it? The promise of a steady paycheck, of course.
For some people, it goes deeper than that. There are lots of people who choose careers solely based on the potential for making a lot of money. How many people do you know who wanted to be either a doctor or a lawyer when they grew up? Those are two completely different professions that require totally different skill sets, but somehow, the upwardly-mobile people you know were trying to decide between the two. Why? They’re some of the highest-paid professions out there.
Instead of "following their dreams" and pursuing the thing they’re really good at or that they’re really passionate about, some people instead choose a career for how much money they plan to make. For some, that can result in a high level of dissatisfaction in life, since they eventually find out that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. But hey, there are people for whom money is the ultimate goal, and for them, money could indeed buy happiness.
2. Your Love Life
Even the people whose parents fix them up with an arranged marriage can fall prey to the romantic notion that there’s just one person out there who’s their "soul mate", but deep down, people want to marry someone who will contribute something to the union financially. What’s more, being a person who’s not financially stable can result in a poor marriage outcome.
According to research published by the Pew Research Center, 84 percent of unmarried people polled believe love is a very important reason to get married, but at the same time, 30 percent believed that financial security is a very good reason to get married. People just tend to crave that stability that can come with partnership.
On the flip side, financial strain can also cause a lot of trouble in a marriage. In other words, financial success can help a marriage survive. A study conducted by North Carolina State University found that financial harmony was considered by participants to be a key indicator of marriage success. Among participants, 39 percent cited financial strain as the main source of conflict in their relationships. Surprisingly, though, the study found that spending time together was the solution couples believed would help to solve their marriage issues, not more money.
So while love and money can be mutually exclusive, it’s clear from the research that money does still make a lot of people’s love lives go round.
3. Your Sleep and Health
Like it or not, you’re going to stress about money from time to time. If you’re short on the rent money this month, you might find yourself awake at 3 a.m. worrying about what to do. If you’re stressed, you’re more likely to choose poor food choices or to drink alcohol in excess to cope. Keep that up long enough and it’s bound to affect your health which, in a cruel twist of fate, could affect your productivity at work.
From there we cycle back to work again, and the fact that when you’re less productive, your entire career can suffer. Keep up that lackluster performance long enough and you may be the first one let go when bad times hit the workplace. If you thought you had money troubles worth the sleepless nights before this, think of the ones you’ll have when you lose that job and have to go take yet another crappy job just to get by.
4. Your Vacations
Sure, you might dream of spending your days sipping margaritas on some warm beach, but for a lot of people, that’s a distant fantasy that never comes to fruition. Why? Money, of course.
Ask yourself: how many times have you decided to skip out on a dream vacation for money reasons? If you’re putting that money into a savings account for your future, good for you, but if you’re like a lot of people, you instead spent it on going to the bar after work on a regular basis. Maybe you decided not to leave town for the Christmas break because you knew you’d earn overtime pay if you worked over the holiday. Maybe you decided to come home early from a vacation you actually did take, because something came up at work and you knew you could lose your job if you didn’t rush back. In both scenarios, money was the ruling factor.
And then there are the vacations you actually do take. How many of them are less-than-ideal, simply because you didn’t want to pony up the cash it took to really enjoy yourself? Once again, it’s that dang money factor coming in to rule your life.
5. Your Friendships
Did you ever have a friend who never seemed to have a dime for going out to concerts or events? When faced with a friend like that, you really have two options: either continue to pay their way into everything under the sun, or stop asking them to do things with you. Or perhaps there’s a third option: find free events and only ask your broke friend to do those things with you. Still, you get the point. Even your friendships are affected by money. Nobody likes to continue to exist in a situation in which there’s an imbalance, and when your friend is constantly broke and you’re not, that causes an imbalance.
But it goes the other way, too. If you’re a middle-income earner, how many rich friends do you have? Those rich people might deign to have coffee with you from time to time, but they’re not going to think of you first when they’re planning a lavish vacation on an expensive yacht. So with that in mind, it should be obvious that even your friendships revolve around money, too.
6. Your Hobbies
How many times have you been yachting, sailing, or gone on a safari? For the majority of people, the answer is "very little". That’s because all three of those examples require a significant investment of time and money, and those are things the average person – especially those who are just starting out in their careers – don’t tend to have in abundance. On the flip side, there’s a good chance that you’ve read a book, gone hiking, or played a game of Frisbee relatively recently, since those are simple hobbies that won’t tap you too much financially. Hobbies can be directly related to the types of friends you have, too – which is another thing we’ve already covered here.
Let’s try a little exercise. Ask yourself what you’d do with your time if money wasn’t a factor. While reading books and going cycling might still be on the list, chances are that you’d add in things like going for long drives in your Ferrari or taking a week-long cruise in the Mediterranean.
Money might not be the cure for happiness, it might not land you the love of your life, and it may not help you win better friends, but then again, it certainly might. While knowing that everything revolves around money can be a somewhat unpleasant realization, it can also be a freeing one. Look around and you’ll realize that since everything revolves around money, everyone else around you is also dealing with it, too. While you may not be able to do much about it, sometimes just knowing that you are not alone in your struggle can make things easier to bear.
With all of that in mind, go about your business, hopefully not encountering too many sleepless nights about the fact that money is your lord, master, savior and every other "ruler" metaphor you can possibly think of.
Do you think that your entire world revolves around money? Let us know in the comments section below!