Money is a Tool

How you spend your money shows how you live your life

Money is one of the most impactful tools ever created for storing and transferring value.

Yet, the use and effectiveness of money is entirely controlled by the user and the situation.

At times, money is like magic. It can save you time, give you a home and provide you with life saving medicines…

In other instances, it can be a never ending race to acquire “magic money” which causes stress and anxiety…

Regardless of where you currently float in this spectrum, it’s clear that money greatly impacts our lives and it’s worth spending time to think about.

I attended a finance talk in New York City led by an African man from Nairobi, Kenya.

He once traveled to his neighboring countries nearby and was confused about the economic disparities.

Even with similar land, some were poor and others prosperous?

What accounted for this difference?

What he learned was that financial markets can improve quality of life and create prosperity.

By the way in which Nairobi allocated capital to banks, infrastructure and education, the city was able to create a sophisticated economic ecosystem and build prosperity in their land.

It wasn’t by unique resources, land or war — but by finance that created the differences.

And just like efficient capital markets can improve cities, it can also improve our own lives.

If you have any money, you have a powerful choice to make which will alter your life: how do you spend it?

  • Do you buy a house and be tied to expensive mortgage payments?

  • Invest any leftover funds or just buy more things?

  • Spend money to improve yourself (fitness, education) or on bad habits (drugs, alcohol)?

The way you allocate your money says a lot about you.

Are you consciously spending or just going through the motions?

Have you decided what deserves your money and what doesn’t?

After all, when we spend our money wisely, we can gain time which in turn allows us do more with our lives (as I covered in my previous post about wealth creation: Creating a Snowball Effect).

I’ll give two examples (one big, one small) of how I have been consciously allocating my money recently.

  1. Passport Renewal: I needed my passport renewed and was a bit overwhelmed with navigating .gov websites and going through the process. My girlfriend spent a few hours figuring it out and went to two different places to complete the process. Instead, I decided to pay $200 to a local vendor to complete the process in less than 1 hour. For me, the speed and peace of mind was worth the investment and stress to figure out how to navigate this process.

  2. Startup Investments: Over the last 1.5 years, I’ve started to invest a significant amount of my capital in private companies. These are high-risk / high-reward investments. I’m interested in startups, have unique deal access and believe this is one the most effective ways to put my money to work at this point in my life. It is also something that I see myself doing over the course of my life and it makes sense to start get better at this process as early as possible. I view startups as a way to invest in the future and generate substantial gains unparalleled in other asset classes.

There are also day to day things to consider for what you give a fuck about spending your money on, and what you don’t.

For me, I don’t really think twice about spending money on coffee or going out to eat. It’s not going to change the bottom line for me and it makes me happy living my life exactly how I want to live it.

On the flipside, I really do care about the investments that I make and I see those impacting me and my long-term wealth trajectory. I spend a lot of time thinking about this and am thoughtful about how I invest.

Being aware of this distinction gives me piece of mind when going out to dinner and gets me excited when doing diligence on a startup investment.

Ultimately, money is a tool that we use to navigate our world.

How you use this tool is completely up to you. It can be used in so many creative ways to change your life, so it’s important to take the time to think about how you want to structure your life and then spend your money accordingly.

Are you using your money as a tool to get more out of life, or just using it to go through the motions?