I’m paraphrasing an idea here that I heard just yesterday. I’ve never thought about money this way before, but I’m going to try to put it to use in as many places as I can going forward.
Money is a way to decide how people spend their energy. And when you have a lot of money, you can decide how a lot of people spend their energy.
Again, not verbatim, but pretty close.
Let me give some context to how this came about. I work in a scientific field. I was talking to a colleague yesterday, who’s a scientist in the field I work in. With a group of ~20 other scientists, he does some consulting for a rather rich client. This client wants to financially support this field, so they give recommendations to what the best use of the money would be. So effectively, this client is deciding (with some informed recommendations) how a lot of people spend their energy. And out of this conversation came this gem of insight!
My colleague didn’t elaborate beyond this since the conversation went elsewhere, but this can be applied in so many ways.
Obviously you need food. So do you spend your food money at the grocery store? Or do you spend it at a local Farmers’ market where a small group of people used a lot of their energy to bring the produce directly to you? Or some mix of both?
Maybe you’d spend some money at a restaurant. Or would you rather donate that money to your favorite non-profit where people are using their energy to improve the world somehow? Admittedly this one is kind of a false dichotomy, as there are restaurants that indeed do good work, but you get the idea.
Do you want your savings with a “big bank”? Or would you rather have it stashed at a credit union where people use their energy to likely support local causes.
I spend money on PF books, because I appreciate the authors spending their energy writing those books, and would like to see more people access those books.
Admittedly, I’ve spent money on some expensive sunglasses, because I believe in quality eyewear and would like that company to influence people (the employees of said company) to spend their energy continuing to offer quality products that will last years, and maybe even decades.
And then of course this scales up to incredibly rich people. The Gates Foundation uses their money to influence many people to use their energy for curing malaria, and working to reduce famine in poor countries. Bezos uses his money to influence a lot people to bring you desired goods to your house as efficiently as possible.
But this doesn’t apply to just how you use money. This can be applied to how it’s earned too. Was the energy you spent at whatever job/career worth the money that you earned? And I don’t mean that just in terms of the amount, but also the way you spent your energy too. Was it a productive job or career?
You can even apply this to your investments & insurance. I’d rather have people spending their energy making investing cheap & affordable (go Vanguard!) than not. I’d like to have people spending their energy giving me the bast bang for my buck for insurance vehicles.
By now, I think I’ve given plenty of examples to how you can apply this philosophy. And going forward, I’m going to make a good effort to apply it to as much of my spending and earning as possible.