The Deceitfulness of Wealth

Does money make people happy? It’s a worthy question in a country where the “pursuit of happiness” is a given right. Would more money make you happier? Has it made you happier? The Deceitfulness of Wealth

It’s natural to feel better when money is in the bank, income is increasing and financial plans are progressing. We tend to feel secure when these are in place and insecure when they are not.

During the 2008 recession, many people felt miserable. Affected by tenuous jobs or unemployment, devastated investment accounts or real estate values, pain came from many angles. It affected happiness. But should it have? Some people truly experienced hard times. For most however, it was actually “paper” losses or temporary inconvenience. It was more worry than reality. Even when forced to make less than ideal decisions, how much did this great recession really affect the well-being of most people?

In my profession, I try to help clients grow and protect wealth to achieve their goals. However, a financial plan doesn’t eliminate risk. In fact, when it’s really thought out, you might begin to see risk in a new light — that you cannot protect against every risk. Failing to see this, however, can perpetuate an endless pursuit to accumulate enough. But, how much is enough?

Financial firm, UBS, conducted a survey with millionaires asking them how much money they aspire to have. The universal answer was about twice what they had. The majority also said they were one major setback from a significant impact on their lifestyle.

King Solomon, said to be the richest person to ever live, concluded that wealth was unfulfilling: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Money is just money — it comes and goes. Since you can’t know the future, you’ll make choices that result in both good and bad outcomes. We all do. It’s okay to live with that imperfection. Your worth is not determined in your wealth.

Our worth has to be based on something else, which calls us to question our purpose. This compels us to decide who God is and how He works in our lives. Those who deny His existence have to ask what they can do to create happiness. Or more importantly, what can they do to create lasting fulfillment? If God is in your life, do you trust that He is ultimately in control of providing for you?

Solomon determined, after experiencing all his riches and pleasure, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” Even the wealthiest person has to ask, “What for?” Money is deceitful because it can bring a form of happiness. It feels good to have enough to easily satisfy our needs and desires. But, that happiness doesn’t equate to lasting fulfillment or even joy. It’s just a mask — a deceitful, sly, subtle diversion.

It’s not wrong to have money. But, we should not love it. Our income is determined by diligent work, wise principled decisions and the providence of God.
Proverbs 30:8–9 says “Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

Consider how much money matters to your happiness. Don’t put too much emphasis on accumulating or reaching the point of security. Cherish what does matter.

Wealth is a resource that can be used for good, but it can come and go. Discover your purpose and what eternally matters….

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More Reading: Practically Speaking — Sudden Wealth