5 Things I’ve Learned About Money

“What Would You Do If You Had A Million Dollars?”

Someone asked me that question the other day and my immediate response was, “Buy an unlimited supply of Otter Pops and fans…duh.”

This heat crisis is clearly bringing out the inner tantrum in me.

The question caught me off guard and has been on my mind ever since.

If you asked me 3 years ago, I would probably give you an impulsive answer like, “round up of every human in my contacts and pay for an all-inclusive weekend in Vegas in which none of us would even remember.”

Now that I’m attempting at being a civilized adult these days, I’ve given the question much thought the past week. In doing so, it’s actually brought up far more insecurities and questions than I ever imagined it would.

Money has consumed my decision making for as long as I can remember.

I don’t do anything in my life without first asking myself the question, “How much is it and can I afford it?”

Even questions regarding my career decisions. How am I going to afford a national advertising and marketing campaign for my book (it comes out August 3rd by the way )? Will I be able to help people if I cant develop a steady income? Was writing the correct career move?

And those questions are almost always followed with a string of questions as to why I don’t have the money I need to do whatever I want to do. And that almost always leads to me slipping back into the depression I’ve fought so hard to overcome.

Money consumes all of us. Why else would we work a job we hate, in a town we can barley afford, trying to impress people who don’t even really care about us? Meanwhile, we become more and more depressed and do whatever we can to avoid it all together.

Instead of trying to tackle the million dollar question which gave me anxiety just thinking about it, I came up with a better question – 

If money didn’t exist, would I still get up every morning and do what I am about to do today?

That question matters to me. That question makes me think about the things I actually care about. Things like serving the world and chasing my passions over a paycheck.

And THAT million dollar question is what sent me on a quest to learn more about money and what other people think about it.

So, I spent the last week interviewing friends and family and asking questions about money and what their opinions were on it. Here’s what I found.

5 Things I’ve Learned About Money

1. Money Shapes Our Decision Making

Do you remember the last time you made a decision that didn’t revolve around money?

I don’t.

An opportunity exists all around us, but as we get older, our vision becomes narrow and we fail to see the positive things this world has to offer. Over time, we let money affect our understanding of the way the world works. We give up hope on believing in ourselves and settle for what the world presents to us.

We lose our ‘childish’ creativity and begin to make decisions based on fear and impulse. We jump from job to job hoping we will have enough to pay rent next month. Survival mode takes over and all your passions go out the window. Soon enough, you’re working a job you hate, in a town you can’t afford, trying to impress people who don’t care about you.

2. Money Alters The Pursuit of Our Passions

Have you ever thought about what you would do with your time if money didn’t exist?

You see, we all have this mentality that there will be sometime in the future when things are better. So, we become slaves to a job we hate, confined to a system that brings us all to our knees by design.

We do this because it’s what we have to do now, in order to do what we want to do later.

Let me tell you something in which you may not want to hear – you are where you are because that’s where you have chosen to be. The best time to be who you want to be is right now. Your life can change in an instant. You hold all the power in your hands.

You can be whoever you want whenever you want. Deep inside all of us resides a passion limitless beyond what we believe to be capable of. If you let your passions make your decisions for you, money will follow.

3. Money Does Not Place a Value On A Human Beings Worth

I asked my Dad if he thought money determined your worth and this is what he said…

”I’ve been wearing adidas shoes and the same damn jeans from high-school my entire life. You think I care? No, because money doesn’t consume my life. And I’m happy. I’m happy because my family is happy. And that is what success, and worth, means to me.”

I was fairly confident he was going to fire a Dad joke at me as his answer – but then, he mic dropped that bombshell on me. Well said, pops.

Money does not determine your worth as a human being. You determine your worth. Money gives us the opportunity to do something good or bad, but the decision is entirely up to you. You hold all the power.

4. Talking About Money Scares Us All

Most people never take the time to understand money and how it works.

We’re taught early on that money exists and that we’re going to need it down the road. But, we never know why we’re going to need it. We don’t understand that we’re supposed to use it to pay bills, or file taxes, or tip the waiter, or buy clothes, food, etc. We just one day learn it because someone says, “You’re an idiot. How did you not know you’re supposed to tip the waiter 20% you moron?”

We’re underprepared. And then made to feel like a fool for being underprepared. We never learn the appropriate steps to take, and the correct financial decisions to make, until we’re forced into a situation that teaches us what we didn’t know. Then we look like an idiot for not knowing before.

We don’t know what questions we’re supposed to ask. And even if we did, society makes us feel like an idiot for asking.

My question is, why is society not teaching us about the things that actually matter, early on in life?

5. Money isn’t the root of all evil. The LOVE of Money is.

People mess this up all the time.

Money itself is neither good nor evil. It’s a form of exchange for crying out loud. It’s a way for people to trade one thing – say, their money or their time – for another thing, like food or housing (or sex if you’re one of those weirdos).

Having ambition and going after something of value is not the root of all evil. It’s when you allow money to consume your life and decision making when it becomes a problem.

I’m well aware that money, as a form of exchange, isn’t going away anytime soon – so I’m certainly not telling you to boycott it all together. Unless, of course, you’ve had a change of heart and decide to donate all you have to charity. If thats the case, the Ryan Jones Charity of People Helpin’ People is now open for business (please don’t Google that, it’s not a real thing).

What I am telling you to do is reevaluate what you know to be true about money. Do not allow money to alter your decision making. Follow your passions and don’t be afraid to ask the questions that matter. Those are the questions that will bring you the most joy out of life.

And, in answer to the million dollar question – Yes, if money didn’t exist, I would still wake up and do what I do every day because it’s the only thing that has brought me the most joy in life.

But, with that said, I will take an otter pop and a fan if you have any laying around…

That’s all I got for now. Stay tuned, friends