The Question To Ask About Money

If today should bring you a pay raise or a nice new contract, a nice uptick in the stock market or even a lottery winning, remember to ask this question about this money: “What am I paying to get paid this?”

Wealth is never free. It always bears a cost. In what was required to get it, in the new social circles it will thrust you in, even in the amount of mental energy and time that will be required to manage the money. It changes people—just as power does. Upton Sinclair would call this the “dress suit bribe.” You pay someone to shine your shoes because someone pays you to be the kind of person with nice, shiny shoes. Except you think you’re doing it because you like the look of them.

This is why Seneca and Marcus would spend so much time denigrating wealth. They had plenty of it—and they wanted to lessen its power over them. They knew that it could become a form of slavery if they weren’t careful. Even though neither of them really earned those fortunes—that the it was simply a trapping of power—both Seneca and Marcus knew that the money was hardly free.

Congrats on your success. We wish you much of it. Just be aware of its costs.