In the immortal words sung by Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”, you are likely wondering why, a financial advisor, is sending you an email about love. Yes, it’s true it is Valentine’s day, and every marketer is filling up your inbox with these insipid emails about love. I imagine if we watched cable TV tonight we would see truck ads with the ‘loving feeling’ soundtrack.
After over a decade of working with people and their finances, I have some observations to share. Now granted, most people who hire a financial advisor are already in pretty good shape financially, and thankfully in our practice, people who seek us out are happy people too. There is a correlation, people who are happy and successful hire financial planners.
However, this raises the question, which comes first, happiness or success? If we take the leap that the ability to love and be loved is a pretty important component of happiness, then we can start to examine the similarities with love and money.
- Can you have too much of either?
- Does being a giver or a taker feel better?
- Why do people withhold generosity or affection?
- Are people’s moods and happiness affected by how much love and money they have?
- Do people define their sense of self-worth based on their relationships and net-worth?
- Are people emotional about love and money or the lack of it, fear of losing it, or excitement of obtaining it?
What wisdom can we draw from this comparison? What is a person who wishes to live a fulfilling life, not limited by real or perceived “lack” of love or money to do? Here are some insights from wise people that track with our observations:
“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” – P.T. Barnum
“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money, and I’ll tell you what they are.” – James. W. Frick
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” – Henry David Thoreau
“If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.” – Edmund Burke
“Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it and enlivens the other who turns it on his fellow man.” – Kahlil Gibran
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa
Here are some similarities about time, risk and loss:
“The Stock Market is designed to transfer money from the Active to the Patient.” – Warren Buffett
“You never stop loving someone. You just learn to live without them.” – Tupac Shakur
“Our favorite holding period is forever.” – Warren Buffett
“Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie
“’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
To answer the question, “What does love have to do with money?”
- Both have an infinite capacity
- Both come about from some combination of effort and luck
- Both can be hard to manage and control
- Both require giving and taking
- If you have none, obtaining some is difficult
- If you have abundance, getting more is easier
- You can’t force people to love you and give you money
- Both love and money make us feel vulnerable (and powerful)
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
As you reflect on your own life experience, I hope you have enjoyed and found our insights to be useful. Wishing you much abundance and an appreciation for the profound role vulnerability plays in our lives this Valentine’s Day.
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