As one of my clients recently said, “I want the simplicity of poverty, and the security of wealth.”
I think in that moment she captured many of our fantasies about money.
Fantasies such as: if we had enough money, we’d feel secure. The fantasy here is that money can buy safety – that we would have to worry about the financial implications of whatever comes along.
Of course my client was really speaking about her need for security. About the need to have her anxiety mitigated.
She was hoping that by solving her money concerns – by having more money – would create security.
Now there’s a bind in the statement, “money buys security.”
Much lime many statements, it contains an element of truth, but it is not completely true.
The answer to the question of, “Does money provide security?” is not yes, and it’s not no. It’s a little bit like taking a person with a food addition and saying, “The cure for your food addiction is to stop eating.”
Of course that would succeed in stopping the food addict’s relationship with food, but it would come with some unintended consequences.
Similarly, if we indicated that money is not the source of security in any form, and advocated that we don’t need money to feel secure, we’d be dismissing an important reality of our culture.
On the flip side, if we said money created security, we’d be significantly misrepresenting where real security comes from.
I would share that there are ways in which money is important and helpful and can help us feel more secure, and there are ways in which money can’t help us feel better or more secure, and that other venues are also needed.
In other words, there’s an important role for money, but there are also limitations to that role. For example, a strong sense of security comes from the knowledge that we’re not alone in this life and comes from feeling the care of those who love us.