Is Everything You Earn Really Yours?

Finance
earn money

This is a bit more of a philosophical post on a topic I have always had a, let’s say “interesting” perspective on. Is everything you earn really yours? I don’t believe it is. Well is that not what the word earn means? Simply googling the word provides a two-lined definition:

  • Obtain (money) in return for labour or services.
  • Gain deservedly in return for one’s behaviour or achievements.

In both of these it sounds like something is earned deservedly in exchange for actions. This sounds great and is how it should work in a world that is fair, right? But the world and life is not fair, not even close. So, if the world is not fair is all of your hard-earned cash really yours?

My perspective

Don’t get me wrong I believe one of the basic rules of life is that hard work gets rewarded. Not always in the same manner or equally (we have already established that the world is not fair) but in the end, it does. I have seen careers and businesses evolve based on what people do and how they do it. Most often than not it is the best people who come out on top, but as with anything in life there are exceptions. However most of these people who come out on top had specific circumstances that shaped them into becoming who they are.

There are probably lots of facets that influence your perspective on this topic. Circumstances, upbringing, education, religion, just to name a few. All of these have a big bearing on my perspective, probably the biggest being religion. But be that as it is I think a universal perspective on wealth should be that not everything you earn is yours.

Naturally many people would say stuff like off course not, a lot of what you earn goes to paying taxes or any other necessary expenses towards basic needs. Taking all of this out of the equation, you have probably been very fortunate and a bit lucky to be in the position you are. Not everyone has had your upbringing, education or circumstances which allowed you to be who you are. And therefore, I believe giving some of your earnings back by believing it was never truly yours is one way to try and make this unfair world fairer. There is always someone who is worse off than you.

Another reason is that I do not see us as human beings; as simply being consumers. Would that not be the worst point to life? Having limited time on this earth simply to consume as much as possible to satisfy an appetite that keeps coming back? That sounds crazy. Not seeing all your earnings as yours allows you to not take a consumerist view on the world but rather an improvement view. Suddenly your earnings are a resource which can be used for good and improvement, leaving the world in a better state than what you found it in.

Not viewing all your earnings as yours allows you to master your money. Giving some money away or using it for different purposes than consuming is actually very empowering. This is so against human nature but something to remind yourself of every day. It makes you feel a lot more content with your wealth to give some away, especially to something/someone you are passionate about in this unfair world.

What does the world think?

Well it is interesting but it seems like this is how the world actually works on a macro scale. Not perfect or to the degree that it should but there are signs of it. Although people believe (especially in Africa) that developed countries are only exploiting them and this is actually taking place in many instances. I believe there is a genuine interest to assist developing countries through the use of foreign aid. Although foreign aid should have a payback from a long term economic perspective, I truly believe that foreign aid is provided due to people agreeing that the world is not fair. Take a place like Sweden for example which pays 1.36% of its GDP towards aid. That is actually amazing. But my belief is that people have made a conscious decision and know that it is far better being born in Sweden than in Central African Republic, therefore we need to help out. It seems like even governments can understand that not everything they earn is theirs and that is a big idea.

This is even clearer in many of the world’s philanthropic billionaires. Many see it as a way to get fulfilment and support something they really care about. As stated in the link Bill Gates makes these decisions through the lens of his death, a very powerful tool to manage your wealth and legacy. The rule then still stands that it feels better to give away money than to make it.

In conclusion I believe having the view that not everything you earn is yours makes you more content with your wealth. In the end if this is all a game, you will be the winner. It is not easy nor does it come naturally but it something I keep reminding myself of and believe.

What is your view on earnings, your income and overall wealth?

Always grow your wealth for tomorrow while being content with your wealth today.

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