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Home > Does having money on your mind make you mean?

Does having money on your mind make you mean?

January 19th, 2010 at 06:50 pm

Ironically enough, while I was surfing for the best way to offer support to the victims of the disaster in Haiti, I came across an interesting article addressing this question. It referenced a 2006 study published in Science magazine. The research concluded that there is an inverse relationship between having "money on the mind" and compassion. Significantly, people who were "primed" to think about money were measured in various areas of social interaction, such as helpfulness, caring and collaboration. The result? Not so good. They were more aloof, indifferent to the needs of others and more isolated from social interaction in general.


So ummm, okay, says me to myself: time to look in the mirror here. Has a focus on frugal living made me less forthcoming or spontaneously generous? Has thinking about savings goals and controlling expenses crowded out energy I direct outwardly toward others? You know, I actually think that might be true in my case. I'll have to do some soul searching on this one!

What do you think? Has your focus on saving changed the quantity and/or quality of your interactions with others? How do you maintain a balance?

7 Responses to “Does having money on your mind make you mean?”

  1. Single Guy Says:

    I try to make sure I do other things. I volunteer with a local group that does displays at childrens events and fund raisers. I also donate blood regularly. And give some things away with Freecycle. And last year I did volunteer work with local elderly setting up DTV converter boxes. I guess some people might say that's just me being cheap, but I like to think I do more than lots of people do, so what if I watch my money very carefully, I don't feel guilty about it.

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    I don't know about statistics, but I don't think so. Not really. Money is simply having the means, but to what end is up to us.

    You can be a generous heart, but without money, all the best intentions still won't do them any good.

    Conversely, it is indeed a shame think only about money (thinking only about the means, but to no end).

    I certainly do think it's best to be money-minded, but to never lose focus on why. And hopefully, we are driven for a good reason, such as helping out people in times of need (but also having the means to do so).

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    No, not at all for me. Focusing on money has made me more responsible for my own destiny, but I still care about others who aren't able--for any reason--to fend for themselves as well as I am. Money is worth nothing without a stable, healthy society, and money means nothing if you just go through life trampling on other people. My heart is way too sensitive to the suffering of others to ever be able to turn my backs on them. I do donate a bit less monetarily right now, but only so I can fix my mistakes and be better able to help in the future.

  4. miz pat Says:

    I know in my life, knowing where I am financially means I'm aware of what I can and cannot do to help out.

    I budget for my church and for the United Way. I am less likely to give money to people who are stupid with their funding and expect others to help them out all the time, but I'm also better at providing. When my old roomie lived with me, she never paid me a penny in rent and I brought some of her food and some meds too. Being frugal at a time when I was feeling pretty poor meant I was still able to have the joy of being helpful to her.

    Because I knew where I stood financially, I knew what I could afford.

    My roomie needed to pay an unexpected bill and asked if she could borrow $100, and I had it in hand for her immediately without worry about my bills.

    I'm doubling my church pledge this year because I belong to a small church and they need the help. I'm able to make the decision because I know what I'm doing and what my financial goals are.

    I think frugality is helping me to be a better Christian.

    Frugality is a tool, like a gun. You can use a gun to defend your family and your country, or you can kill and rob people. You can use frugality to horde for yourself, or you can use frugality to provide better for those in need.

  5. davera Says:

    Awesome insights, thanks guys!

    SA, I appreciate the way you offer of your time and energy to the community. I can see that's a sure way to maintain strong connections and neighborly sharing.

    Ceejay, just the fact that you are sharing your life with two other adults, and now a baby on the way, tells me that frugality hasn't impeded your caring. It is clear that your saving and getting out of debt is to serve the higher purpose of helping your family have a strong financial foundation. And yet, you are still sharing of your resources with others, like the Haitian people.

    BA and Miz Pat, you really nailed the core issue here. You've said it so clearly. Money is the means, not the end. When money becomes the end goal, when hoarding becomes the sole purpose in and of itself, when it's all about obsessing about how much we can accumulate, that's when our hearts can become constricted.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful responses.

  6. Jerry Says:

    I think it comes down the the emphasis that is placed on the money. People who are solely about gain for gain's sake, or for things that lead to selfish gains? Yeah, they are likely to be less compassionate. However, people who ground themselves in other things (some sort of a moral compass, whether it be religious, ethical, or otherwise) have the insurance of placing other things higher on their list of important things than money. It makes a huge difference.

  7. star paper writing service Says:

    From my point of view think of money does't make you mean. If a person has lots of it it can make her worse one.

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