There’s been a lot of media write-up over studies that show Millennials would rather have fulfilling jobs with low salaries than jobs they didn’t enjoy but came with high salaries. Gen Y doesn’t seem to be as driven by money and success as they are by wanting to make a difference.
And there are existing stereotypes in place for creatives, for people working in nonprofits, for those who want to make a difference first and a living second. Think of the poor writer or the starving artist; we’re conditioned to think in order to do good, creative, or meaningful work in the world, that typically requires a conscious shunning of material wealth — and money.
Additionally, movements like Occupy Wall Street lead us to believe that it’s the majority of us against the minority of them, and the wealthy minority oppress the poor majority.
Combine these concepts and ideas, and you have many members of the Millennial generation who do actively think money is bad and evil. Or the only people who work to grow their own wealth do so because they’re greedy or driven by mixed-up priorities and values.
But is this necessarily the case? Does wanting money to grow your wealth mean you’re greedy?
Wanting More Money Doesn’t Make You a Terrible Person
You shouldn’t feel badly for wanting to work hard and make your own opportunities in order to earn more money and grow your wealth. There shouldn’t be a moral conflict with wanting more money — especially if you want to use your money to do more good in the world.
Money is not evil. It’s a tool that can be leveraged to put you in a better position to do things like:
- Give back to your community via your resources or your time.
- Create businesses that help others.
- Fund innovators and creators who are designing tools and products that can improve the lives of people around the world.
Instead of looking down on people who have money, and assuming they must be greedy or otherwise “bad” because they’ve built their wealth, direct that energy to building your own wealth. Money can provide you with the freedom you need to do more good in the world.
Don’t Be Afraid to Earn More
If you want to use money as a tool to better position yourself to help others, you should pursue that. Don’t be afraid to work hard at your job to earn raises. Don’t hesitate to launch your own side hustle to bring in extra money. And don’t question your motives if you want to start your own business.
The fact is, it’s hard to help others when you can’t even help yourself. Taking care of yourself isn’t greedy when it means you’re in a better position to do some good in the world because you’re not struggling or hurting.
And when you do start earning more, don’t forget what it was like to be ambitious, creative, curious, and hard-working — all the things that will inevitably earn your more and more money. If you’re not sure who needs your help, start there: with people who are currently in the position you were before you started growing wealth.
These are always people you can reach out to and help find their own path to success. And they, in turn, can help others behind them.
What Does Greedy Look Like?
If you want to grow your wealth so you’re in a position to take care of yourself, your family, and other people by creating something of value for them, or being in a position to provide more resources to those in need, or to be able to donate your time to causes that need help, you’re not acting out of greed.
Here’s what greedy does look like in relation to acquiring more money:
- A failure to appreciate all that you already have and to value those things (and people!).
- Approaching any opportunity with your first thought being, “how can I make money off of this?”
- You’re only concerned about how much you can make — not what you can offer to others via your success or your wealth.
- You have a giant vault in your basement filled with coins, and you regularly dive into it like a swimming pool.
Greedy also shows itself when someone is thinking only about acquiring more and more money — with no intention to make that money work in such a way that it is helping others.
So, yes, you can want more money without being greedy, as long as you remember money is a tool. Put it to good use once it’s yours.