Opinion- The Meaning of Money

The Meaning of Money – Golden Eagle

Rachel started working at an office when she was 16 years old and retired when she turned 66 – 50 years of hard work. Initially she lived with her parents and was able to save approximately 500Euros a month. By time, she attended university courses to obtain several promotions and wage increments. But as Rachel’s salary improved, expenses also skyrocketed, starting from normal everyday things like food and coffee to plasma sets and laptops, a loan to buy a car and later a mortgage for house with her boyfriend whom she married and had two kids (great expense!). Rachel’s tax bracket and social security taxes also went up too!

On average, Rachel was able to save 500Euros per month throughout her life, which works out as 6000Euros per year (500Euros x 12months), or 300,000Euros in all her working life (6000Euros x 50years). (Note that for simplicity of the argument, inflation of the money and increases in the cost of living have not been taken into account. The outcome of Rachel’s savings would be less bright had this been taken into account.)

One evening on her 67th birthday, Rachel sat on her rocking chair gazing at the sky, the wonderful sunset and the faded image of the moon while wondering about the meaning of money and her savings account containing 300,000Euros. Feeling miserable that she had spent the best of her days working hard for promotions, sitting in her office and making ends meet while saving the money, Rachel wondered what she could buy in today’s world with that amount? Probably an average house in a semi decent location, away from the centre ofLondon of somewhere of prestige, or she could buy a small yatch or cabin cruiser, maybe afford a new car too should she buy a second hand boat. Definitely not something of the great luxury she dreamed about all her life.

Certainly not a lot for all her effort and dedication!

From Monday to Friday, Rachel worked 8 hours each day, travelled for 1 and a half hours to work and back, slept for 8 hours and spent 2 hours cooking, eating and cleaning. After taking a shower and running some small errands, she was left with 3 hours of free time daily in which she felt exhausted and many times fell asleep in front of the telly. Weekends where not really intended as relaxation time, as there was a weeks’ shopping to do after cleaning the house. It got much worse when her second child was born. Lost in thought, swinging on the old rocking chair, Rachel wondered how she grew old without realising, but worst was that she had spent most of her time awake in the office (the last place she would choose to live had she any choice!)

‘What is life?’ – All her life was dedicated to earning and saving money for her retirement and for a better living – If her life is described through money, then what is the meaning of money?

And is it really worth the effort, dedication, energy and time for so little so late?

At the age of 67, Rachel felt old, exhausted and had certainly lost all the passions and aspirations that formed her teenage years.

‘If only I had a shot at one of my dreams!’ uttered Rachel angrily.

‘Worst case scenario is having a shot at your dream and failing – no big deal!’

Rachel’s children grew up with a similar life-style to their mother. Jacob landed a professional career as an architect and saved a 1,000Euros a month on average which would work out as 600,000Euros at his retirement while Peter never cared about going to university. Peter managed to save 200Euros per month which would add up to be 120,000Euros when he turned 66!

In life there are two kinds of people – some that dream at night and wake up in the morning to find it was all a dream while others dream awake during the day and dedicate their time and energy to fulfilling their dream.

Wondering about the meaning of money, Jacob realised that he was dedicating his life to the accumulation of wealth just like his mother. But if this was actually his dream, it wasn’t going anywhere as he only could save up slightly more than half a million after all the effort. Thus he concluded;

“I spend most of my time working for money,

Thus money matters a lot to me,

However if money really mattered- I wouldn’t be doing a job,

As there isn’t sufficient money to reward all my hard work and dedication!

And this is the irony of life and the meaning of money”

“I am a day dreamer, I will follow my heart and chase my dream” rejoiced Jacob with a serene smile as he starred at the clouds reflected on the lake. “Money is important but it isn’t worth dedicating all my life to it, and – I certainly cannot grow rich with a paycheque job”.

“There are many ways of obtaining an income to live on- the truth is we don’t need much money to survive- I’ll be searching for the answer until I find the true meaning of life, which should be independent of the meaning of money- and why the two are so interlinked is a mystery to me” thought Jacob as he packed his suitcase preparing himself for the journey of life.

Money is today’s slavery”, Jacob said to his mother Rachel as he kissed her goodbye. “People spend most of their time at the place they don’t want to be. It is true that some people love their jobs, but if many where given the option – would you like to go to work on Monday morning? I think I know the answer to that survey.”

“People give up their freedom, to be in a place where they are controlled and told what to do” continued Jacob, “and to me that is modern slavery, less implicit than what it used to be centuries ago because people today are more intelligent- but it still is slavery!” And on that note, he faded into the distance waving at his mother from the back of the bus, who deep down inside completely shared her son’s opinion but never had the courage to bite the bullet and take the plunge herself. Even worse was that when she realised all these facts, it simply was too late!



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