In an era of credit cards, mortgages, student loans and car payments, handling money is complicated enough. But when you add in a topsy-turvy economy, unstable unemployment rates and questions about the ethics of our mass consumption culture, dealing with money and personal finance with confidence can be a daily struggle.
We pulled together 20 ideas—articulated by everyone from contemporary leaders and culture-makers to ancient thinkers and timeless scriptures—that will not only help you navigate the challenges of dealing with money, but can also change your view of it.
The Limits of Money
Money often costs too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Price is a crazy and incalculable thing, while value is an intrinsic and indestructible thing. – G.K. Chesterton
Let me ask you one question / Is your money that good / Will it buy you forgiveness? / Do you think that it could? / I think you will find / When your death takes its toll / All the money you made / Will never buy back your soul ― Bob Dylan
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Jesus (Matthew 6:19-21)
One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give, and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God … In other words, it is hard for those who are rich in this sense to enter the Kingdom.― C.S. Lewis
“Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.” ― Wendell Berry
In the end, therefore, money will be the one thing people will desire, which is moreover only representative, an abstraction. Nowadays a young man hardly envies anyone his gifts, his art, the love of a beautiful girl, or his fame; he only envies him his money. ‘Give me money,’ he will say, ‘and I am saved’ … He would die with nothing to reproach himself with, and under the impression that if only he had had the money he might really have lived and might even have achieved something great. ― Søren Kierkegaard
If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough. –Vicki Robin
Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one. – Benjamin Franklin
What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more. – Seneca
Money is a great servant but a bad master. ― Francis Bacon
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. ― Epictetus
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – Paul (1 Timothy 6:7-10)
“It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us.” – Malcolm Gladwell
It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a very clear path to happiness. – Sheryl Sandberg
Part of me would just like to relax and have one job that pays me the amount I need to survive. And another part of me wants the creativity that comes out of struggle and frustration and fear. It’s a never-ending cycle, which must be how I want it, on some level. ― Questlove
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are. – James W. Frick
Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice. – King Solomon (Proverbs 16:8)
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.