Changing Money Perception Over Time

In 2002 I didn’t have any money of my own yet. But today, I have over $750,000 in gross investments. Sometimes I feel like I don’t value money as much as I used to. I guess a lot can change in 12 years.

My perception of money 

Do you ever get the feeling that the more you learn about the world around you, the less you realize you actually know about it? Throughout my adolescent years my view on personal finance was restrained to over simplified rules and models, taught by the public education system, which for practical life purposes meant very little 🙁 Isn’t it interesting that we learn how to dissect frogs and solve polynomial, algebraic, and transcendental functions in highschool, but are never taught how to buy or sell a home, how to use a credit card, or what kind of investments can be placed into a Roth IRA? 😕


Luckily education doesn’t have to just come from schools. Over the past 6 or so years I have exposed myself to regular doses of financial knowledge from newspapers, business shows, and of course, the internet. And now, in my mid twenties, I have a completely different view on finance. I used to think that money was just a medium of exchange that I could earn, spend, and save. While that’s not necessarily wrong, it doesn’t tell the full picture.


How I look at money today

So here’s a better explanation of what money TRULY represents to me.

When I look at money today I see POWER. When I look at my net worth I feel POTENTIAL. When I save money I insure my future SECURITY. When I spend money I’m buying INFLUENCE, and I’m buying back my TIME, which is the most precious commodity in the world! When I read about money I gain KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING about society. When I invest money I facilitate jobs, wealth, hope for others, and create MEANING to this world. When I waste money I squander my LIBERTY and INDEPENDENCE. When I invest money into stocks I’m buying POSSIBILITIES. When I blog about money I share and disseminate CONFIDENCE. And when I eventually reach financial independence I will experience FREEDOM like never before.

Money gives me perspective and context. By associating money with powerful words it’s easy to understand the importance of financial literacy, not just from a materialistic point of view, but also in terms of reconciling our emotional and personal well being with the modern world we all live in. The more we understand how money works the more dominion and authority we’ll have over all the dimensions of our lives. By controlling our money we control our fates! 😉

Will it take a lot of work to reach financial enlightenment? Maybe. But will it be worth it? Definitely! 😀

Below is a summary of how I used to think and feel about money. For the full story, read my original post.

2002 – high school.
Money isn’t that important. I will be satisfied making $40,000/yr.
2005 – college.
Worried about my job prospects. But willing to work hard and hope to eventually make $60,000/yr.
2008 – entry level job.
Money is easier to make than I had initially thought. Set a personal goal to earn $80,000/yr.
2011 – experienced employee.
Realized the potential of investing and passive income. Raised income projection to eventually make $100,000/yr.

And now…

2014 – intermediate graphic designer
Outlook on life – Enlightened


What has changed

I’m currently making over $70K a year ($15K of this comes from investments, not from work.) This means I’m on the same income level as many senior employees at my workplace. 🙂 even though I probably pay less taxes than them. This also means I’ve already exceeded the income expectations I had for myself back in 2002 and 2005. I had completely underestimated the scope of the financial universe back in highschool and college.

I will continue to track progress, use careful leverage, diversify my portfolio, focus on opportunities instead of obstacles, discover new revenue sources, and do all the other things I’ve blogged about that’s been working well for me so far. If I manage to eventually triple my current investments then I’ll make $45K a year from passive income alone! And if I steadily climb the corporate ladder then I could see my annual working income reach $75K eventually between my 2 jobs. Wow, I can see my total income easily reaching $120,000/yr one day if I just continue doing what I’m doing now 😉


Random Useless Fact: Not all bees are yellow. For example, this is a blue carpenter bee 🙂

notallbees_are_yellow_blue_carpenter_bee money perception


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Edwin sierra
Edwin sierra
04/22/2014 10:30 am


Lauren @
04/22/2014 12:16 pm

This is a great way of looking at it, I definitely haven’t done a year by year review of my thoughts on money but I’m sure it will change frequently throughout my career. I’ve just graduated university so my thoughts on money are already changing.

04/22/2014 2:50 pm

Nice to see your progress. Upwards and onwards! WHen I was a kid, I used to collect quarters and keep track of them in my Keroppi bank book. It’s a bank I started on my own. I’d roll them up and deposit them in my BMO savings. I’ve always been a saver. Too bad, my earning power isn’t as high as I would like it to be. But I’m in a better position than I was before a year and a half ago.

04/23/2014 4:43 am

Great post. I too used to track my money perception, how funny… I have come to realize though, that money does not know who we are, where it is or who owns it. Money was the product of what to do with a surplus in a barter system, where some hunter gathers were more efficient than others, and could not immediately find someone to barter with for an item or service of immediate need, and hence money was created, call it an IOU for future use. Back to present perceptions… At some point, you will find that there is a “magic” amount of money stored that allows you to live the life you want, finitely or perhaps indefinitely… and then at that point, anything above that is just bonus for a “rainy” day when society changes its perception of monies value. For my life, our magic number is that invested money makes 10% above our current living expenses. The only caution I will throw out there is, don’t ever let money control you. Understand it, and how to manipulate it to get the life you want, and live a healthy, happy balanced life. never lose sight of changes in others… Read more »

04/24/2014 5:47 pm

Our household NW flipped that 1M mark back at the end of 2011… call it a YEAH moment. and just this month we have investable assets of 1M… another yeah moment I’m not doing this to toot my horn, but rather point out to you that given time, living by certain rules and not being greedy, reaching goals that others may think are lofty are achievable. The key understanding that compounding works and proof is in the curvature of your NW tracking. Again though, I have been through a few ups and downs in the markets, which I’m not really sure you have as yet. My curve has a few ‘ramps’ in it… My advice: always keep an eye on your debt ratio. It is inevitable that we will see further market corrections, it is the positions we take prior to them that predict our outcome post drop when everyone else is fearful – Cheers.

04/23/2014 10:10 am

I haven’t really kept formal track of my perception of money, but it’s very similar to your evolution of thought.

Marie @ 724 Credit
04/23/2014 5:52 pm

This is how maturity takes place. When we get older our perception changes too.

Trading Naked
Trading Naked
04/24/2014 6:29 am

I’m 35 years old and I’ve achieved partial financial independence. A couple of things I realized when I did:

Love is important.
Friends are important.

Because wow, does it ever get lonely sometimes.

Also: mo’ money, mo’ problems. I never dreamed that I would reference that phrase as much as I do now. But hey, you won’t feel it, and you won’t “get it”, until you get there 😉

My Own Advisor
04/24/2014 3:48 pm

You’re rockin’.

You’re a younger me, with more money than I had then… 🙂

I still find myself in a position where I feel stressed about money. This is because I have a $200k + mortgage. The house value is much more than that, but I don’t care, because I have to live somewhere and I’m not selling.

Like you, I hope to diversify my portfolio, focus on opportunities and increase my income over time by working hard (at work) and maturing my blog (at home).

On that note, good to follow you and I wish you much success. Thanks for following back.

Stay in touch!

04/27/2014 4:49 pm

I think my biggest paradigm shift when it comes to cash is that there is more to life than working…10 years ago I would never have thought that not working 12 hour days was in my future

hungry hungry artist (@blerghhh)
05/28/2014 11:49 am

Congrats on your progress… If only I had some work income, my gains would be increasing too. But, to paraphrase Homer, “Working is for suckers!”. I’ve changed my Linkedin profile to “unemployed bum” last November, and I’ve been better and better for it ever since.

Financial Underdog
05/28/2014 12:59 pm

By the way, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” is a quote from Aristotle, a greek philosopher.

Why do I know this….