You want to be there, right? At the Money Fountain? Of course you do. So do I. Everyone, actually. But have you ever really thought about what you want money for? Don’t worry, this isn't one of those money-is-futile morality preaching stories. Money is necessary, for food, bed, healthcare and for shampoo in your hair. But keep the cost of living aside, most of us cover up the basics pretty early in our careers. What do you really want money for?
Here’s my list:
10. Meaningful gifts to friends: Among the hundreds of gifts that you’ll give during your lifetime, only a handful will stand out… a book, carefully chosen, that appears to have been written just for her, a childhood photograph, hand-framed by you, something your friend mentioned so long ago that he himself might have forgotten it, something that takes him a step closer to his goals. Friendship is built on moments, not things, but the thought behind a gift means a lot.
9. A convertible car: I don’t need a BMW, a simpler one will do. It’s one of the few things that I really want to earn for. I’m not crazy about cars or anything, but the idea of coming down a mountain road in an open-top car, with trees on both sides is scintillating. I don’t know, maybe this song has something to do with this wish.
8. Books: You've seen shopaholics, you've known them, perhaps you even are one. I HATE shopping. Except when I’m in a bookstore. When I’m in a Landmark or a Crossword or even just a second-hand book stall by the roadside, I go crazy. I want this and I want that, the huge encyclopedia the Batman comics, the Steve Jobs biography, Freedom at Midnight, The Motorcycle Diaries, The Lost Symbol, Sins of the Father, Manuscript fou – sorry, I’ll just shut up now.
7. Pamper the girl I love: The girl you profess to love, the girl who’ll love you back, the girl who’ll spend her life with you and stand by you through thick and thin… every girl deserves to be pampered by someone, and this girl deserves your absolute best. Put a smile in her eyes: pamper her silly.
6. Pamper my mother: Fulfill any long standing wishes. Everything else is secondary.
5. Travel: I've talked about this earlier too, probably the thing I’d do if I had infinite money. Sand on the beaches is free, so is snow on the mountains. But you’ll need cash to get out of your city home and reach there, eat there, stay there and so on.
4. To create: Excerpt from my diary, 25th December, 2010:
“I’d like to have a sort of study of my own, with a library along one wall, and a computer and furniture that I've made myself. And easels for painting, and sculpting material in one corner, and chemical apparatus for making perfumes from flowers. And a guitar and a flute.”
You get the idea.
3. Change a life: It’s a matter of perspective, what’s insignificant to you might mean everything in the world to someone else. Maybe pay education fees for slum child, maybe create a new job in your company for someone who can do better than beg on the streets. It doesn't take much. The key is to remember your priorities when you get your next raise.
2. Test yourself: Maybe you don’t want a smartphone, a big car or much of anything else. That’s no excuse to live a tramp’s life. In our age, money isn't just means, it’s also a meter, a way of checking how good you are at what you do. Don’t rum endless races, don’t buy things you don’t need, don’t worship the greenback, but don’t let those be reasons to not test yourself.
1. To give it up: I’m not going to retract on my promise of not preaching the futility of money. No, I want money, I want it for all of the things I've listed above. But at some point in my life, after I've done all this and more, I want to be able to realize truly that money isn't necessary for happiness. I cannot do it now, for you can only renounce what you have achieved… but I hope the day comes.