This past weekend, my toddler-aged son got terribly ill. He spent two days being shaky, vomiting on a nearly hourly basis, sleeping, laying around lethargically, and basically being completely miserable. As I held him, my mind wandered through my various feelings for him and for the situation we were in, and I realized a few things that I thought were worth sharing.
Time spent with my family is more valuable than any amount of money. I hear stories about families in which people are driven in their careers to the point that they no longer have time for their family, abandoning them largely to the care of others. For me, spending time each day with my son is worth more than any amount of money, to the point that I no longer wish to travel if he’s not along for the trip. My wife and my son are my real net worth, not the dollars in my account.
Relationships exceed money. Of the relationships central to my life, there is no possible way to express their value in monetary terms. There is no amount of money that I would take in exchange for them or for the relationship that I share with them.
Medical insurance is well worth every dime we spend on it. As sick as he was, I never once had to worry about money or anything at all – my focus was exclusively on caring for him. Health insurance may be pricey, but it’s there for you when you need it.
Money is merely a way to complement these values. It’s great that I’ve learned to manage my finances, but only in the respect that it assures many things that will make my family’s life more secure and more fulfilling. To me, money in a college savings plan and money in a strong retirement plan and money for long-term savings is far more valuable than just the face value that it holds – it guarantees a healthy future for this little boy.
Today, take a few moments to think of the people you love and your relationships with them and ask yourself if the choices you’re making really reflect how valuable those relationships are to you.