What’s a Dollar Worth?

The other day I was cleaning out a work truck at my house. It was the end of a long day. That morning I had fired a long time employee who’d been driving the vehicle for the past year. It really upset me to let the guy go. But the firing was something that had to be done. Unfortunately, so was cleaning out the truck.

My three year old son came into the garage just as I was pulling a bag of tools from the bed of the truck bed. “Can I help?” he asked.

When my son Nick was born I was blessed with the most important assignment of my life – to help that tiny baby develop into an inspired, confident and well prepared young man. It’s a duty that I often struggle to balance with my inclination to be his friend. So when an opportunity to teach him an important lesson, like the value of hard work, presents itself, I take full advantage.

Within an hour our job was complete. We’d discovered a pile of tools and supplies, and bagged up six contractor bags full of trash. Nick worked hard and did a great job shoveling through all the debris. I couldn’t help but be proud of my son. To show my gratitude I gave him a big hug, and then I reached into my pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill.

He took the money with almost a cynical smile that seemed to say, “Really?” He flipped the bill over a few times looking at the stamped images and writing. Finally he looked up and said, “What is it?”

Nick’s only connection to currency has been the extra change that he likes to drop into a large glass milk jar in my living room. Being the exceptional father that I am (or at least try to be), I took this chance to teach my little man about money. Try as I might, I could not get him to understand the concept. It wasn’t until I related the dollars to the amount of “stuff” (in this case candy) that he could purchase with that money did it finally seemed to click.

Suddenly it hit me…most people misunderstand the value of money.

We spend the majority of our waking hours trying to make a living. Whether you work as a traditional employee or generate your own income working for yourself, there’s a lot of time and energy associated with the pursuit of the dollar. My little son reminded me of the question that motivated my move into Real Estate. “What value am I getting in exchange for my life?”

Let me explain. I believe the concept of money can be best associated with the concept of life. We trade portions of our time and efforts, segments of our life, for compensation. When we purchase a product, it’s an acknowledgement of the value of the life or lives that went into its production. Essentially, we trade part of our life for a part of someone else’s when we spend our dough.

By now you’re probably wondering how this relates to Real Estate Investing. There’s a significant connection.

Real Estate can allow you to generate an incredible income by leveraging the talents, efforts and money of others. It’s a medium that can give you more time and more money. Best of all, it can give you more life.

So the next time you’re standing in line to pay for something trivial, or rushing off to work, or bagging up the trash in company vehicle, don’t forget to ask yourself a very important question. What’s your life worth?

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