This post is a follow-up to my last one. I was not implying that making money is a bad thing, I was implying that GREED is a bad thing that has created the mess our American economy is now in. Read on for my guest post. Larry Winget rants about making money.
I got in a discussion with some friends of mine this week over the topic of money. I commented about the people who write me and others in the “money” business about how we have become way too focused on money. Many write me to say that my books and some of the other books that are also very popular are more about greed than anything else. Can you believe what people will say? I actually do get these kinds of letters. It seems that when you tell people to be as successful as they can be and to earn as much money as they can earn then you are considered greedy and money hungry. Tell people to live up to their potential and then get put down for doing it. Amazing, huh? These folks tell me they are offended by my constant focus on success.
I recently got a letter from a woman who told me it was more important for her to spend time with her kids than to be out “becoming more successful and rich. ”Holy CRAP! I will bet you this woman who “talks” about how important her kids are spends the bulk of her time sitting on her fat ass watching TV (maybe with them) and doesn’t have a dime saved for their college education. Unfair? Maybe. She might be a wonderful mommy who really does spend time with her kids and if she is, I applaud her and apologize for my generalization.
But never shake your finger in my face telling me how altruistic you are and talk about how success is NOT about money. Success is about money. The Peace Corp - Habitat For Humanity - The Red Cross – The Salvation Army – the Susan G. Komen Foundation – and my personal charity of choice, Feed The Children. All of those charities are about money. Money drives every charity. Money builds hospitals and homeless shelters and habitat houses. Money fights cancer. Money feeds those children.
(Warning: these next few paragraphs will possibly offend some of my more sensitive readers! HA!)
Money also builds churches. It even builds the churches for those pious, small-minded people who belittle the rest of the world for focusing too much on money. Ouch! Yep, I slammed the church folks! I did a radio show last week where I was being interviewed about debt. A guy called in and told me that while my ideas were good I had left out Jesus. I said, “What???” He said, “ As long as you keep your hand in the hand of Jesus, you will be fine.” I asked him if he was in debt. ”Yes.” I asked him if he was in trouble financially. ”Yes.” I asked him if he spent more money than he earned. ”Yes.” I asked him if he was behind on his credit card payments. “Yes.” I said, “When you reached for your credit card last time you were at the mall, I guess you had to let go of Jesus’s hand to do it, didn’t you? Let’s not involve Jesus in your stupidity! Jesus didn’t make you spend more money than you earn. Jesus doesn’t get the blame for that one. You did that all on your own!” Let one of these good folks get in trouble financially because they spent more than they should or bought too much house or can’t make their payments and they want Jesus to bail ‘em out. Drop to your knees and beg God to help you out of your financial problems! Oh yeah, that makes sense. I consider that a huge insult to God. I know that God will forgive you for your stupidity and your insult. I won’t, but God will, and that’s the difference between God and me. I think begging God to bail you out of your stupidity when you KNEW you were being stupid is a slap in the face to God! While I have no idea what God would say or even if She would say anything, I would speculate (and hope) that God might say, “You got yourself in this mess and you can get yourself out of this mess.”
So for all the pious who call me and the others who consider it our OBLIGATION to earn as much money as we possibly can, I want to ask you: What paid for that building you call your church? What pays for the missionaries your denomination sends to “save the souls” of the people in foreign countries? What paid for that church pew your big butt sits on? What paid for the Bibles and hymnals and ………okay, I’m tired of this. MONEY paid for all of it. MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY!!!!!!!
Whew! I feel better!
Back to my original question. Why do you work? I know why I work. I work for the money. Period. I recently gave a speech where the president of the company approached me when I was finished and said how lucky I was to be able to experience my passion like that. I asked him what he was talking about. He said, “Your speech. That is your passion, it’s obvious.” I said, “Thanks but that speech is NOT my passion. That speech is my JOB. I am really good at my job and I’m glad you enjoyed me doing my job, but what you just witnessed is anything BUT my passion. I enjoy it but I’m not passionate about giving speeches.” He was incredulous. I told him my passion was my wife, my boys, my bulldogs and my free time. I told him I was passionate about sitting on my back patio with a glass of fine scotch in my left hand, a great cigar in my right hand, my bulldog Ralph on my lap, my wife by my side, watching the sun go down over the mountain while Willie Nelson plays in the background. That is something I can get passionate about. The rest is work. I do what I do for the money. I do what I do to pay for the life I love. I do what I do to finance as many nights sitting on my patio as I can get. That is why I work.
Why do you work? If it isn’t for the money - you are a liar. Yes, you may find what you do extremely satisfying. Yes, you may love it. But if the money wasn’t there, you couldn’t survive on satisfaction and love - you would need to go do something less satisfying that you didn’t love so you could get paid. While I love what I do, if I didn’t get paid well for doing it, I could fall in love with something else that did pay well.
I am tired of people pretending that money doesn’t matter when it comes to work. It is the ONLY thing that matters when it comes to work. And the way to make more money from your work is to be better at what you do. The better you serve others, the better others serve you. . .with their money. It all ties together: Service is tied to money. Charity is tied to money. Excellence is tied to money. Why does bringing money into the equation make it dirty for some people?
Money is the result of serving people well. Serving people is an honorable thing. Money is the result of hard work. Hard work is honorable. Having money is a wonderful thing in your life. It pays for college for your kids. It pays for healthcare when you and the people you love get sick. It takes care of your mom and dad when they get old and need help. It feeds the homeless and helps those who are less fortunate. It pays your taxes to build roads and provide fire and police protection. It is to be appreciated, saved, invested, and ENJOYED.
Yes, it is okay to earn money and then enjoy it! Live up to your means - not beyond your means - but up to them. I read a posting this week on Amazon where a guy who hates me, hates my books and was kicked off my blog here for hating all of you, made fun of me for having so many pairs of cowboy boots and for selling bobbleheads. He said I was sitting a poor example for spending money on things I didn’t need and for selling things that other people don’t need. What a frigging idiot this guy is! I can’t wait for the People Are Idiots book to come out to see what he says about that one. I should have dedicated it to this moron. There is no shame in working hard for your money, investing it, saving it, paying your obligations and then ENJOYING the rest in any way you see fit. You are HELPING the economy by doing so. Besides, it is WHY you WORK HARD! Enjoying your money is your reward. As for selling bobbleheads - I really wanted my own bobblehead. I only wanted one but I had to order a thousand in order for me to get ONE. I got my one, then sent my Mom one and didn’t have room to store the rest so I decided to see if anyone else wanted the rest of them. They did. They are all now sold. If people choose to enjoy their money by having a bobblehead of me on their desk, then it isn’t my fault. And yeah, I made a buck of two doing it! Good for me.
Bottom line. Money is important. If you don’t think it is important, try going without it for a while. You won’t last long. Want more of it? Work harder to serve others! Money is your reward for doing that. (Go buy You’re Broke Because You Want To Be for more ideas!)
Okay, that’s my rant and I’m sticking to it!
Larry Winget - Award Winning Speaker, Best Selling Author & TV Personality. Find him at http://larrywinget.net/blog