Nimi Akinkugbe

If you go round a room and ask the question, “What does wealth mean to you?” each of us will have a different definition of what wealth means to us. It is personal and it has much to do with our situation.

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In her article “Redefining Wealth”, Karen Ann Kennedy says “Everything in our life is about exchange. We live our lives in a modern-day barter system that trades something (usually time) for something else (usually money). We trade time with our families for time at the office. We trade time taking care of ourselves for time at the office.”

We trade almost everything for money – our time, our health. We work so hard, several hours a day to afford so many things that we don’t have the time to enjoy. Yes, we all have to work and make a living. But you do need to ask yourself, “at what expense?”

It is important that from time to time we stop and reflect on what really matters to us. There is no better time than now when so many Nigerians are going through incredibly challenging times. Take a few moments to add up the things in your life that money cannot buy. Certainly having enough money to be able to take care of your obligations such as your rent, school fees, medical bills and to be able to set aside some savings and investments, reduces the anxiety and worry that we are faced with, but it is as important to realise that it is not all about money.

Here are some of the important things that money does not buy:

Money can’t buy you health

Can you put a price on your health? Or your life? Money can pay for expensive hospital treatments, comprehensive insurance coverage and all the tablets or medication that you can swallow but the best medical care in the world doesn’t guarantee you good health. Health has more to do with your long-term lifestyle and habits. It also has to do with your genes. Don’t neglect your health. Don’t spend all your time chasing money only to spend it all on stress related medical bills. Rest, eat healthily, exercise and live.

Money won’t buy you a wonderful family or good friends

Money doesn’t guarantee you a healthy, happy family, of course it can help support your family with the basic comforts and even the luxuries of life, but at the core of relationships, the essence, is not about money.

You may attract a posse of “friends” if you are rich, but how many true friends can you really vouch for if you lose all your money. Good friends are one of life’s best gifts. The support, care, and thoughtfulness that come from genuine friendship has no price tag. Cherish your friends as you would your most prized possession; they are rare and precious.

Money doesn’t buy respect

In Nigeria, it might appear as though money buys respect, doesn’t it? We all want to be respected; we want the respect of our relations, our colleagues at work, and society at large.

If you are very rich, people may be very nice to you, but sadly this is often because of what they hope to get from you. When fortunes fade, those “fair weather friends” tend to disappear into the sunset. True respect can only be earned and not bought.

Money can’t buy you experience

Some of the best lessons are learnt through experience and it is through this that some of the deepest knowledge comes. It is only through hard work and time that knowledge and experience can be derived.

Money doesn’t buy happiness

Our materialistic ostentatious society relays a false message that money is the most important thing and the constant desire for more has caused untold damage to our societal value system, morals and economy. Money buys you food, clothing, shelter, experiences, and things. Beyond that, longer-term happiness is dependent upon a strong relationship with God, a loving healthy family, reliable friends, good health, a fulfilling secure business or job, security, moral values, and freedom. Next to these things all the money in the world pales into insignificance.

Money cannot buy you time

Don’t waste your time. Once those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years pass, they are gone forever. Don’t spend your life chasing after things that don’t matter. The precious moments you missed spending with your loved ones are gone. Stop now and re-consider your time.

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