Growing up my family gathered around the TV to watch the Disney animated series Duck Tales. We often joked about uncle Scrooge McDuck (the richest duck in the world) who greedily loved money. He literally dove into his massive money pool to count and cuddle his coins. His fear of losing money led to penny pinching and ridiculous tantrums. The nicknames Mr. or Ms. Scrooge were used to describe anyone who committed a selfish act around my house—take the last cookie and you’re Mr. Scrooge!
Though Kevin O'Leary might disagree with me, money does not have feelings. It does not have mind manipulating powers to change your character. The value you place on money impacts your actions. You can choose to use it for good or evil, but having it does not make you good or evil.
I admit, there are many selfish and greedy people in the world who commit terrible crimes to get money. The appearance of being wealthy can conjure a plethora or stereotypical judgments in the hearts and minds of others. Go read “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy” by Thomas J. Stanley. You will realize that most millionaires don’t fit the typical schema for millionaire. I have personally found that many people who appear to be rich are quite the opposite.
Earning money is not greedy. Borrowing money to live above your means for appearances or lavish comforts is greedy. Being wealthy is not wrong— taking from others and living in debt is greedy. True financial success is being free from appearances, judgments, or worrisome reputations attached to money. I believe freedom comes from living an honest respectable life uninterrupted by the thoughts and actions of others. Mr. H and I make choices with our money based on what we think will be the most beneficial for our family. We want to have money to comfortably take care of ourselves and be able to help other people. Being worried that others will think we are selfish or greedy because we desire wealth would only hold us back.
Giving and Taking
Not seeking financial freedom is selfish because you become a burden on society and are unprepared to help others.
I once has a coworker who was very generous. She said she earned money to give it to other people. She loved to pay for a customer’s cookie or buy lunch for a friend. Frequently she would send almost her entire paycheck to her parents to help cover a trip or pay some bills. Unfortunately, giving made her a burden on others. For over a year I watched her live paycheck to paycheck. Every month she ran out of money before her next check came. She complained about not having money for food or rent and used her boyfriend’s debit card until his money ran out. Her helping ended up hurting because she didn’t lookout for her own needs first.
Instead of labeling people with money as Mr. or Ms. Scrooge McGreedy, let yourself become focused on building and accumulating your own wealth. Find satisfaction in being in a financial position to do good in the world. Enjoy the journey!