A Reminder: Money is a Tool

Spoiler alert: I'm not going to be saying anything necessarily new here. Just a reminder. Which sometimes is exactly what we all need.

Money is a tool.

Nothing more - and nothing less. 

It's amoral - it's not good, and it's not evil. As Dave Ramsey says - money is like a brick: you can use it to smash a window or build a hospital. 

But we oftentimes treat it as something ... different. We treat it as a desired state. Don't we, at least sometimes? 

I was at a national conference this past week learning lots of great things relating to financial planning and wealth management strategies, and I was encouraged by some speakers who reminded us these things are all fine and dandy (great - really) - but they're not the end goal. These strategies can help sharpen or strengthen the tool, but it still needs to be put to work.

So if money is a tool, what are we building with it? What are we actively accomplishing (through our income) or actively constructing (through our assets)?

"Money is a great servant but a bad master," said the philosopher Francis Bacon. 

We need to remind ourselves of this. Money should be working for us - we shouldn't be working for money. And sometimes we have to honestly evaluate if we're driving our money decisions, or if our money decisions are driving us. 

Make money a tool - don't allow it to be a tyrant.
Additional Resources

1. A Wealth of Common Sense - "What To Make of a Stock Market That Has Gone Nowhere for a Year-and-a-Half"
I'll admit it - investment returns have been frustrating the past 18 months. It FEELS like for every few months of gain, we have another apocalypse-du-jour that sends things back down. 18 months FEELS like a long-term time frame - but it's really not. In this piece, Ben Carlson looks back since 1928 over rolling 18-month periods and found that the S&P 500 was either flat or down 27% of the time. So although it FEELS like this is abnormal, it's really not. Helpful perspective. 

2. Be More With Less - The Story of the Mexican Fisherman
My friend Joe told me of this story years ago, and I've included it in these letters before. Just like above though, sometimes we need a little reminder. If you haven't heard the parable of the Mexican Fisherman and the American Investment Banker, go read this version. If you already have - read it again. 
We've got a winner from last week's calendar give away! Actually, five of them! Congratulations to JB, BH, CW, RD, and MM. I'll be in contact with each of you. Calendars should arrive in the next two months or so and I'll get them individually to you once I receive them. 

Question to finish the week out on: what are you building with your money?

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