Why the Means to Money Matter

The sun was peaking out from behind clouds sending streaks of warm rays cascading downward. A good slather of SPF 40 was once again applied to my arms and legs, readying for another round of bathing light. The sounds of the waterfall into the pool created a hypnotic hum resting my mind from the chaotic days that I just endured. Alas, a break. Me, my book, the pool, and the sun. If only I were rich, I thought to myself, then I could enjoy this experience each and every day. Wealth would be the savior and my road to, well, everything.

Hmmm, wealth? An interesting thought. Wealth is actually something I already had and lots of it. Wealth is what we need to survive and live happily. It’s the food and water we need to live, the health we enjoy, the relationships we embrace, and the freedom we have. So, in essence, it wasn’t wealth that I was really thinking about, it was money. However, money is a symbolic process we use to help gain elements of wealth, but it’s not wealth in itself.

Money, on the other hand is really only a perceived value. To put this in context, I couldn’t help but to think about the 1929 Great Depression when the world economies nose-dived. Virtually every country in the world was impacted. Peoples’ incomes, profits, and prices all plunged, and international trade dropped by more than 50%. The value of money was severely impacted; however, none of the physical resources, trees, coal, etc., had changed. The ‘means’ to wealth were still there, only the value we placed on money had changed, and radically at that. This is not much different from the recent world economic collapse – the value of things dropped dramatically but once again the ‘means’ to generate the wealth were unchanged.

This is a profound lesson. It’s important to focus on the ‘means’ to create value not the perceived value itself. If I’m going to make an investment, it’s far better to base the decision on the ability of the company to produce ongoing value, not on the price of the stock at any given point in time, because as we all know, stock prices will vary ad nauseam. This change in perception will bring greater clarity to anyone’s decision making process.

What are you basing your investment decisions on?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

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