Would The World Be a Better Place if There Was No Such Thing As Money?

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Would the World be Better Without Money?

Two recent and apparently unrelated events converge in this installment of my Dream Quest for Personal Financial Mastery

Event #1

Involves two of my sister dreamers, Catherine and Remy, with whom I recently lunched. Catherine made a very wise comment:

The trick is not just to talk about your dream, but to actually DO something about it.


Catherine is too kind to have been directing that at me personally – she meant it as commentary for all of us would-be dreamers who don’t make the progress we crave. Still, I have to admit I’ve done some pretty extensive talking about personal financial mastery, and not much doing. Je m’accuse.

For those of you who don’t speak French, that means: I feel guilty. I need to get on the stick!

Event #2

A recent Best Buy window shopping tour with my younger son, also known as O Psychic One, for reasons to be disclosed in a minute.

The O Psychic One has been bugging hell out of me since November to get him a tablet computer. He has done his Internet comparison shopping homework and e-mailed me multiple consumer reports, feature lists, and price comparisons. I keep saying I don’t have the money for this purchase right now, and he keeps finding cheaper versions, all the way down to $248 or something.

By the way, can I just say – this modern life, who would have thought? That a mother and son can now communicate across the vast distance of five feet via the magic of e-mail.

That O Psychic One can now in the blink of a digital eye send me a footnoted essay with a bibliography begging me for stuff, and I can just as instantly write back that money doesn’t grow on trees. Why, back when Hector was a pup, I had the inconvenience of having this same conversation in person, face to face, with my own mother.

It’s a miracle, I tell you. A miracle of the modern age.

Anyway, finally I broke down. Well, not all the WAY down – I did not buy O Psychic One a tablet computer. I simply agreed to take him to Best Buy to look at some tablet computers. I had an ulterior motive. I knew that he did not have an accurate picture in his mind’s eye of just how tiny a tablet computer is, especially one that is priced at $248. It’s like a slightly enlarged Nintendo DS. I mean, it’s little. I figured he’d see one and decide he wasn’t that interested anymore.

My plan worked, but not correctly.

If you’ve been to Best Buy sometime during the last decade, you can guess why. Best Buy does not devote much display space to the small low-margin items. Where they really commit their real estate is to the large high-margin items. The new MacBooks and such with the big yellow and blue $2000 and $3000 price tags.

“You were right, mom”, says O Psychic One. “Those tablets are pitiful. Can I get one of these MacBooks instead?”

In this way, we accelerated from $248 to $3000 in less than 60 seconds without me even realizing what happened.

However, this is just set-up, not the actual point of event #2. But I’m getting there.

In the car on the way home from Best Buy, I began to ponder the topic of this post in light of Catherine’s wise observation plus my inability to purchase a MacBook for O Psychic One, who actually has some defensible reasons for owning one. I was thinking about what my next (er, first) step towards personal financial mastery needs to be.

I had decided to take my inspiration from Simon Sinek and his book Start with Why. The point of this book is that people who achieve lasting dream-worthy success do it on the strength of knowing why they’re doing it. I mean why with a capital WHY – like, they have a passion, a mission, and a coherent philosophy that carries them over the rough spots.

Watch this guy’s video below on How great leaders inspire action to see what I mean. It’s worth the 19 minutes, I promise. I’ll wait for you to be done –

So, inspired by Mr Sinek, I was thinking, my first step to achieving my dream, with all its potential obstacles and rough spots, is to answer the question once and for all:

  1. What is the role of money in a person’s life?
  2. What role should it have?
  3. Why do so many of us seem to act like infants, or Neanderthals, when it comes to money?
  4. Why should anyone care about becoming a personal finance master, anyway?
  5. Really, and this is the deeper question – would our world be a better place if there were no such thing as money?

Here’s the psychic part. Just as I had finished framing my question, which I am positive I did not utter aloud, O Psychic One says to me:

“Mom, do you think the world would be a better place if there were no such thing as money?”

Well, I’m not done thinking about that one yet, as I am still recovering from the fact that O Psychic One heard me thinking it. So there’s going to be a part 2 to this post, wherein I hope to have settled on my personal answer to that question.

In the meantime, what do you think, dear World of Dreamers? Would the world be better if there were no such thing as money?

Leave a comment. Love to hear your thoughts.


Jayne Speich is a small business coach/consultant who writes, thinks, and coaches extensively on customer service, business finance, and ways to thrive in the new economy. You can find her at theselfreliantentrepreneur.com. Jayne’s post day is Saturday.

  • Remy, Photographer & CEO of Cornerstone Creative

    I’ve had more times this week where I thought about the 12,ooo bags of grain story then I ever thought I would. thanks so much for planting a much needed thought. Has any one ever told you that you are wicked smart? Gosh, I”m glad you are on the team! xox Rem

    • oh, that’s so sweet of you to say! The 12,000 bags of grain will make an appearance on Saturday (figuratively speaking, that is) – can’t wait to hear some of your examples!


  • Heather Montgomery, CEO & serial entrepreneur

    Jayne – I think I’m OK with money :) This is the lowest income point I’ve ever been at in my life, and I’m still OK with the concept of making more money.

    I love Cath’s comment on commerce though – it has to be something!

    Thanks for the great post – H

  • Jayne Speich

    Hi Terry, thanks for commenting. I like money too, and am glad to mostly not have to choose between money and love. And also I think success actually IS tied to love, in a way! Do you know anyone who is truly, deeply successful at something they don’t love? I don’t – but I know plenty of people who do things they don’t like doing and then wonder why they aren’t successful at it. Hmmm…


  • Terry

    This is an interesting video Jayne. It got me thinking a great deal about sales (I’m a salesman) and how we approach our target clients. I had to watch it twice, then go out to the TED site and look at the transcript. He’s got some great points.

    I like money, but I do value time spent with my son more. If I had to choose between love or money, I’d choose love. Wouldn’t it be an interesting world if success was tied to love, maybe after watching this video, it is, I just never saw it before.

    Thanks for expanding my outlook today.

  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    We’d still trade flowers for flour, rocks for wood, men for horses ;-) so somehow we would always be dealing with commerce. But I do agree with Mr Sinek, that doing something just for the money never works out in the end, and doing something for the why creates value.

    I found this fascinating in the video –

    A few hundred miles away in Dayton Ohio, Orville and Wilbur Wright, they had none of what we consider to be the recipe for success. They had no money. They paid for their dream with the proceeds from their bicycle shop. Not a single person on the Wright brothers’ team had a college education, not even Orville or Wilbur. And the New York Times followed them around nowhere. The difference was, Orville and Wilbur were driven by a cause, by a purpose, by a belief. They believed that if they could figure out this flying machine, it’ll change the course of the world.

    Samuel Pierpont Langley was different. He wanted to be rich, and he wanted to be famous. He was in pursuit of the result. He was in pursuit of the riches. And lo and behold, look what happened. The people who believed in the Wright brothers’ dream, worked with them with blood and sweat and tears. The others just worked for the paycheck. And they tell stories of how every time the Wright brothers went out, they would have to take five sets of parts, because that’s how many times they would crash before they came in for supper.

    And, eventually, on December 17th, 1903, the Wright brothers took flight, and no one was there to even experience it. We found out about it a few days later. And further proof that Langley was motivated by the wrong thing, the day the Wright brothers took flight, he quit. He could have said, “That’s an amazing discovery guys, and I will improve upon your technology,” but he didn’t. He wasn’t first, he didn’t get rich, he didn’t get famous, so he quit.

    Such a great lesson, so I asked myself, “Why 8 Women Dream?”

    Because I want to teach people (mainly women) that dreams can come true even if you don’t have the money, the education, the support from family, the right clothes or shoes — that you can do it, if you don’t find reasons to quit.

    And the money?

    It would be nice, but it’s not why I do this. I also blog because I absolutely love it.

    Great post, I love your o Psychic one . . .

    I have an O Bossy One.


    • Jayne Speich

      Hi Cath, I laughed out loud at “O Bossy One.” O Psychic One qualifies for that one too: “Mom, come here!”

      Glad you liked the video. It’s one I watch probably once a month to remind myself that WHY can make all the difference.

      Thanks for the comment – and the inspiration!