Chapter 15. Your Money and Your Life

Money is a terrible master. If it gets over you and you get under it, you become its slave.

E. Stanley Jones, theologian

The late D r. Gordon Allport, of Harvard fame, in writing about the characteristics of healthy personalities, offered these six traits:

  1. A positive concept of self.

  2. Seeing value in people as human beings.

  3. Enjoyment in helping others.

  4. A realistic perception of the world.

  5. A sense of humor.

  6. A unifying philosophy of life that defines purpose for living.

I can't help but wonder, when considering these characteristics, how much bearing our money life has on the health of our personalities. For example, do you have a poor self-image because you feel you don't make much money or manage money well? Have you ever met individuals who, rather than valuing people as humans, view relationships as stepping stones on the path to material achievement? Have you ever wanted to help someone but couldn't afford to? Do you know anyone who is living a champagne lifestyle on a seltzer budget? Has your sense of humor been dampened by financial frustration and strain? And, finally, do you ever feel that your financial situation is keeping you from fulfilling your sense of purpose in life?

Most of us can probably answer "yes" to one or more of these questions. The quality-of-life issue I'd like to focus on here is the last—a unifying philosophy of life that defines purpose. I have witnessed a great disconnection in people between their money and their lives and ...

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