Which is more important, making money or managing money?

I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 491.5 million views in recent years.

In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:

  • Which is more important, making money or managing money?
  • Do you think that being healthy and rich is more important than being rich and famous? Why or why not?
  • Do wealthy people have different values than regular people?

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Source for all answers – Adam Fayed’s Quora page.

Which is more important, making money or managing money?

I was listening to a Martin Lewis podcast a few days ago.

Most British people have heard of him, or know him.

He founded the website Money Saving Expert.

On the podcast, he gave a very interesting suggestion.

He suggested taking a day off work to look over all your bank statements, and check deals that exist in the market. By deals, he means things like checking for banks that offer incentives for moving.

He estimates that most people can save 1,000 GBP from such a day’s work, whereas few people make that from a primary job.

Of course, it does depend on the circumstances of the individual or family. If you are very poor, making money will be more important.

Even if you are lower-middle in the income scale, you could make a strong argument that making money is more important.

In most developed countries, at the middle or above middle level, managing money becomes more important.

I personally know countless middle-income people who “got rich slowly” by middle-age, and others, who often earned the same, be broke.

I am sure almost everybody reading this has met that middle-aged person, who bought assets decades ago, and is now wealthy.

Likewise, I know some people who have earned in the multi-millions who have wasted it on:

  • Lifestyle and overspending
  • Divorce lawyers
  • Very speculative investments rather than sensible ones
  • Or playing it too safe with money and inflation has eroded it to zero (this happened in Zimbabwe and numerous countries which saw a collapsing currency)

So, managing money in a sensible way, becomes essential. If somebody takes too many risks with spending and investments, they could run out of money.

Likewise, if somebody assumes they are taking no risks from keeping money in the bank, then they might get a surprise one day.

This especially becomes important because one day, the money might stop. That is one reason so many sports and entertainment stars go broke.

They become used to earning a lot of money, and then it suddenly ends at retirement in many cases.

Do wealthy people have different values than regular people?

It depends on the individual, their values and how the money was acquired.

There is a lot of dehumanizing in the media. Just like immigrants and other groups, wealthier people are seen as a monolithic group.

Some of the stereotypes surrounding wealthy people are:

  • They are more greedier than the average person
  • Due to the first point, they are trying to take advantage of others
  • They are unethical at best, and doing illegal things which deliberately hurt others at worst
  • They pay less taxes than everybody else, even if they don’t emigrate, when actually that isn’t the case in the vast majority of cases.

Of course, there are also plenty of people who have positive ideas about the wealthy, which are based on hard-work, risk-taking and so on.

The reality is, if you become wealthy, it often just exacerbates what is there already. If you were happy before becoming wealthy, there is a decent chance you will be very happy after becoming wealthy.

If you were miserable before, you might become even more miserable after gaining money, as you focus on the “new problems” you have.

Likewise, if you treated people well before gaining wealth, you are likely to treat them even better after gaining wealth, due to having more time, money and other resources.

If you were a bad person before gaining wealth, there is a chance you will become even worse with wealth. Success in any domain can reveal who people really are.

This quote from Henry Ford says it all

What is true of the self-made wealthy is priorities are likely to be different.

Think about it. What is the difference between that millionaire, 60-year-old teacher, and the broke 60-year-old, who has had the same income all their lives?

The former made security and choices a priority at a young age, and saved and invested for decades, taking advantage of compounded growth.

The latter is more likely to think “I could die tomorrow. Live every day like it is my last”.

The same is true for those who get wealthy through starting businesses. The biggest motivator is often not money in isolation, but the desire for personal freedom.

If you start your own business, you can say no to meetings and doing things that you don’t want to do.

A person who wants a secure, middle-class, income, doesn’t care about that as well.

Do you think that being healthy and rich is more important than being rich and famous? Why or why not?

Your health is more important than money. Money merely makes it easier to make the right choices when it comes to lifestyle.

Therefore, you find that wealthier people are more likely to be healthier, and less likely to die early.

Even assuming that the rich and famous person is healthy, being famous is worse than being anonymous in most situations.

Many people assume being famous is cool, especially when they are young, as it gives them a kind of shallow respect.

Most people who are famous say they wish they could be unknown.

Here is an interesting Jim Carry quote

Most celebrities say the same thing. Plenty go to great lengths to hide their identities in public.

Imagine being so famous that you are recognized everywhere you go?

Suddenly doing simple things like taking your children or dog for a walk gets difficult.

Your safety becomes a concern. You might even need private security guards around your place.

It should therefore be no surprise that plenty of famous people go off the rails, and give up on fame.

Being wealthy and unknown, or at least not known enough where you are likely to be recognized on the streets, is best.

With that being said, gaining notoriety or fame is useful for business owners in some regards. Most people have never heard of most businesses and people, which is the issue that marketing tries to resolve.

However, there is a big difference between being known in certain circles, and being so famous that everybody recognizes you in the street.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 500.1 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon

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