Special Reveal: The Journey into ‘The Philosophy of Money’

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

If writing one book is hard, crafting two simultaneously is a completely different ball game. I recently completed my sixth book, written for financial professionals, focusing on the important role of questions (I am yet to finalize the title of the book as I kept changing it for some reason). At the same time, I was also devoting my efforts into my seventh creation, “The Philosophy of Money”. While I love all my books, this one is super special. Although there is still much to be written and refined, I am excited to offer you a first glimpse into my labour of love, which goes into the profound influence money has on our lives and society.

Money is omnipresent—a silent partner in every facet of our lives. It is the whisper in our every transaction, the unspoken guest at every table, the invisible hand that both gives and takes away. Yet, for something that weighs so heavily upon our existence, it remains one of society’s greatest mysteries. This book is an invitation to journey into the heart of that mystery, to explore ‘The Philosophy of Money.

At first glance, money appears to be a simple tool of exchange, a facilitator of commerce, and a measure of wealth. However, as you will discover through these pages, money is a complex, dynamic force that shapes civilizations, influences our moral codes, and moulds our personal identities. It is as much a construct of our collective personalities as it is a physical or digital artifact in our wallets and bank accounts.

Why then should we ponder the philosophy of money? The answer lies not in economics but in our human experience. Our relationship with money intertwines with the very fibers of our being—our aspirations, our fears, our values, and our conflicts. To understand money is to understand ourselves: our motivations, our society, and the legacy we hope to build. It’s to grapple with questions of fairness, worth, and purpose. It’s to ask not just “How much do we need?” but “What do we need it for?”

This book is not a financial guidebook nor an economic textbook. It does not seek to advise you on investments or bargain you into budgeting. Instead, it aims to offer a deeper understanding of money’s role in our lives, challenging you to confront and reevaluate your own beliefs and behaviors surrounding this most desired yet confusing of human inventions.

Through the lenses of earning, spending, saving, investing, and giving, we’ll uncover the hidden philosophies that govern our financial actions. We will break the silence that often guards discussions of money, stripping away the taboos to reveal the emotional and ethical undercurrents that drive our money decisions. We will explore how different cultures, past and present, have understood and utilized money, and how you too can create a personal philosophy of money that aligns with your deepest values and goals.

As we embark on this exploration, remember: money is not just currency; it is a language, a medium through which we communicate value, intent, and significance. By understanding its languagewe empower ourselves to speak it more fluently, to engage with it more intentionally, and to wield it with greater purpose—not just for personal gain, but for the collective good.

Welcome to ‘The Philosophy of Money.’ Prepare to change not only how you view your wallet but also how you view the world.

As we dig deeper into the essence of money, it becomes clear that its value extends far beyond the numeric figures in bank accounts or the bills we carry in our wallets. Money, in its most profound sense, is a story we agree to believe in. It is a collective fiction that has real power to shape the physical worldThe best or worst part is that this narrative is not static; it evolves with society, reflecting the changing values, technologies, and priorities of its people.

Consider the historical journey of money—from barter systems to precious metals, from banknotes to digital currencies. Each transition wasn’t merely a change in the medium of exchange but a revolution in how societies structured their economies, governed their people, and conceptualized value. These shifts were often accompanied by profound disruptions, innovations, and conflicts, each leaving a distinct imprint on the cultural and moral fabric of civilizations.

Today, the digital transformation of money challenges our traditional perceptions of what money is and can be. Cryptocurrencies and electronic payments redefine anonymity, speed, and cross-border transactions, questioning the sovereignty of nations over monetary policy and the very definition of trust in financial systems. This technological shift does not just change how we transact but alters our relationship with the state, the global economy, and each other.

This exploration is not merely an academic exercise; it is a practical guide to crafting your personal philosophy in key financial areas: earnings, spending, savings, investing, and giving. Each of these aspects forms a crucial part of your financial identity and has significant implications for your life and the lives of those around you.

Earnings: Understanding your relationship with money starts with your earnings. How you earn money can reflect your values and priorities and impacts how you view work and its role in your life. We will explore how to align your career and financial gains with your broader life goals, ensuring that how you earn your money resonates with your personal values and contributes to a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Spending: Every spending decision reflects what you value, often serving as a direct expression of your priorities and choices. This book will guide you through rethinking your spending habits to ensure they are not just impulsive or habitual, but thoughtful choices that enhance your life’s quality without compromising your financial future.

While many view spending as a straightforward aspect of financial management, the reality is more complex. For some, spending comes easily, almost naturally, but for others, the act of spending—even on necessities—can provoke anxiety and discomfort. It’s common to label individuals who are reluctant to spend as misers or to belittlingly call them “kanjoos,” but these oversimplified labels overlook the deeper, often unspoken, philosophies that govern their financial behaviours.

Many individuals who find it difficult to spend money on themselves may have a well-developed philosophy of earning, saving, and investing, yet lack a corresponding philosophy when it comes to spending. This absence isn’t merely about frugality; rather, it’s rooted in deeper psychological or cultural influences that shape their views on personal worth and the value of money. For some, spending on themselves may feel like a breach of self-imposed standards of saving or a deviation from financial goals, even if they possess significant (and sufficient) resources.

Understanding and addressing this gap requires recognizing that money is not only a means of survival or comfort but also a medium through which individuals express their self-esteem and view of personal deservingness. Encouraging a healthy philosophy of spending involves developing a balanced view where financial outflows are not seen solely as losses but as investments in one’s well-being and quality of life.

It is important for those who struggle with spending on themselves, to gradually develop a philosophy where they see personal expenditure as a necessary aspect of a balanced life. This includes recognizing that judicious spending can enrich their lives, contribute to their happiness, and even enhance their ability to earn, save, and invest by fostering a more satisfied fulfilled state of being.

By broadening the discussion around spending to include these perspectives, we can help individuals not only manage their finances more effectively but also live more harmoniously with their money (in short live a HappyRich Life).

Savings: Saving money is not just a practical necessity but a profound statement of your hope for the future. We will explore how saving can be a form of self-respect and a commitment to your future self and a vision that extends beyond the immediate horizon. It’s about creating a buffer that allows you to go through life’s uncertainties with confidence and peace.

Investing: Investment is about more than growing your wealth; it’s about applying your personal philosophy to help you live the life you have imagined with your money. It’s about making a real difference in the lives of your loved ones. It’s about contributing to the well-being of your community and the world. This section will help you understand how to make investments that resonate with what’s truly important to you.

Giving: Finally, giving is perhaps the most profound expression of a personal philosophy of money. It reflects a recognition of the interconnectedness of our lives and a commitment to improving the broader world. We will examine how thoughtful giving can be a powerful tool for change, an expression of gratitude, and a means to forge deeper connections with others.

By engaging deeply with these areas, you will not only manage your finances but also articulate and live out a philosophy that makes money a positive and purposeful force in your life. As you turn the pages of this book, you are invited to rethink not just the mechanics of money but its meaning in your life and its potential to influence the (and your) world.

In conclusion, ‘The Philosophy of Money’ is not an abstract treatise detached from reality. It is a call to action—a guide to transforming your financial activities into a cohesive philosophy that enhances your life and contributes to a world where money is a tool for mutual benefit and growth. Let this book be your compass or guide in navigating the complex, yet ultimately rewarding, landscape of personal finance.

Welcome to a new way of thinking about and living with money.