What Is Money?
Silly question right?
Maybe not. The question may appear ridiculous at first, but it forces us to ask ourselves what purpose we really perceive money to have. It’s been said America is a “consumer culture”, meaning, we live to buy and consume stuff. In general I find this to be true. For the average American, we are already thinking about what we want to buy before we even have the money to buy it. It’s hard to argue this isn’t happening. Commercials are geared to compete for our money, credit is extended to us to buy things we can’t afford, advertisements are designed to promote the idea we can change who we are or how we feel through purchasing a product. Sometimes, all three work together like some kind of unholy trinity of financial ruin-a commercial runs showing a cool guy in a cool car with a cool image getting the attention of the cool girls, the low interest rate for the car loan is shown at the commercial’s end, tempting us with the possibility this could easily be us.
If you think about it, not only are you buying a car you may not have wanted before you saw the commercial, you are also buying the loan to purchase it. That’s what interest is-the price you pay someone else for the right to use their money. Who benefits from all this? Well not you. Unless you consider yourself to have benefited from the new cool image this new cool car gives you. But how long does that last? And at what price?
Many people have found their options in life limited due to foolish financial decisions made in the fires of desires stoked by ads. That payment that seemed totally worth it for the new cool car may not seem as worth it when the car is neither new, nor cool. And that brings us to the point of the post:
So What Is Money?
Or rather, what is money meant for? What can it do? Is it meant to provide continual access to the latest and greatest product some company full of people smarter than you is trying to sell you? Or can it be used by you for something greater? Let me provide you with an example:
Let’s not talk about money for a minute. Let’s talk about apples. Most people like apples. Apples are pretty common, at least in America. If someone asked the question “What is an apple?”, my guess is you would get a pretty unanimous answer of “Food. An apple is food.”, and this would be correct of course.
But is an apple only food? I don’t think so. Where the average person may look at an apple and see food, I see something more. Something more powerful than the energy an apple provides, longer lasting than the time it takes to consume it, and more useful than the function simple food can provide. You see, an apple is largely something you can eat, but not all of it is edible. An apple contains seeds. Seeds are useless if you just want to eat the apple, but they are incredibly powerful if you plan on growing more apples. To me, the seed is the nuclear core of the apple. The seed is the best part of the apple. It is the blueprint that will lead to orchards and orchards of apple trees producing infinitely more apples. The seed is what I care about. The seed is where it’s at.
Why Are We Talking About Apples?
For the purposes of this argument, let’s assume an apple can either be eaten or planted, but not both. Sure, eating the apple would feel good in the moment. It would meet your immediate desires. You would feel the instant gratification of having your hunger eased. But how long before you’re hungry again? Just like that new cool car, the feeling of satisfaction doesn’t last.
Now what if instead of eating the apple (or spending your money on something you don’t need, if you haven’t drawn the connection between apples and money yet) you exercised self-restraint and focused on planting the seeds instead of eating the apple. What if you invested that money you were going to spend on that car? What if you let the seeds grow into a new apple tree? Sure, you’d have to wait awhile, but what could happen? And what if you planted the seeds of the apples that grew from the tree? Soon you’d have two trees producing seeds. This process could go on infinitely, leaving you orchards and orchards of apple trees to support you for the rest of your life.
Now I know what you may be thinking. “Sure David, this sounds good. But how realistic is this anyway?”
Oh friend, let me tell you. You are close to having your mind blown. If you’d like a sneak peak at what I’m going to lay out in future posts on this series, take a look at my compound interest spreadsheet here on my site. You can download it for free here.
This spreadsheet illustrates how just one investment over the course of several years can multiply into more money than you would even know what to do with. Seriously. More than you could spend. Now imagine if you did this with several different investments? Imagine if you took apple planting seriously?
Not to over-hype this, but I’m about to show you something that is going to absolutely blow your mind in a way you’ve probably never experienced. Be sure to check in next week for part 2 on this series for just how quickly money grows when you grow trees and re-plant the seeds.
Join me next week for part 2 of the “What is money?” series where we explore just how powerful an apple seed can become.