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Money and how we value ourselves

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Money and happiness: a surprising number of major lottery winners end up unhappy (Image by Tumisu/Pixabay)

June is Money and Relationships Month. In part one of this series, we look at your valuable human capital and your relationship with money.

Money: we know we need enough to feel secure as we manage our way through life. After meeting basic needs, the relationship with money and what it can do for one is complicated.

It then becomes a value proposition: what do you value?

Generally, if you ask anyone what they truly value the answers are sincere: family, home, faith, community, etc. It is not what really happens in the process of daily living where we subliminally assess where we are in status ladder within ourselves and our community.

How do you assign value, explicitly and implicitly?

Explicit value

Explicit value is a material assessment, a display of net worth. Think of exterior displays of value.

A Rolex watch is still a status symbol displayer. What’s a nice watch worth? An instant web evaluation will not only state what its value is, but how to purchase one – cash or credit, how to sell one, what model is best, how long a shelf life, touting components of excellence and extensively more.

Other displays include the most expensive bag, the largest gold chain, the luxury car, the designer suit/dress, the large cash stash, the high-grade credit card (how a card ever became a status symbol is beyond comprehension.)

The ultra-rich, as noted in social media, are the most subtle displayers, dressing like just plain everyone with ubiquitous T-shirt and jeans, but on closer evaluation wearing a $100,000 watch.

It is truly a smorgasbord of cultural pretentiousness, or is it?

The perception of value may lie only in the eye of the beholder.

Wearing a valuable watch implies that person has made it.

Do you know if it is real?

Was it bought on credit?

Why does that watch or any other display of wealth mean he/she has made it – in your assessment?

Has he/she truly “made it” or is it all an illusion?

Telling the difference between real and fake value in wealth, education, expertise, and other attributes has become more difficult than ever before.

So, why do we do it at all?

Implicit value

What about you? What is your value?

Here is where things get complicated.

The implicit assessment of other’s values (real or fake) and then comparing them to ourselves is how we denote our own value.

We tend to place great emphasis, subliminally, on how we want other people to think of us.

And implicitly, we do the same in our assessment of others every day, every way. It is instantaneous.

We cannot help it – it is our mental way of relating ourselves in the social stratification order – and whether we will fit in, almost in the “birds of a feather flock together”.

If we tend to feel particularly insecure in our own identity, seeing someone – in our mind – that has more social standing because they display better, is unsettling in the short term and potentially destabilising over the long term.

Even so, we also buy into the equation that if we only had more money and became rich, we would be happy and secure within our personal values.

Guess what also happens in these jockeying for money and implied social positions?

Human capital: elements of value

The value of money does not increase the value of you. Numerous missives have been written about Megabucks, Powerball and other lottery winners. It’s not the golden entry to nirvana that the lure of such a powerful image implies.

Winning – getting ahead of your peers – can be socially destructive and damaging to relationships, so serious in many of these cases that in a matter of a few years, the money is gone, the person(s) is bereft, neither fitting in with their new rich community and unable to return to their old community relationships.

A litany of complete family deterioration, illnesses, bankruptcy, and more follows.


Does money buy real happiness? Is that called winning – the game of life? So why do we do buy into the illusion?

Our human capital is our most valuable asset.

We forget in this social environment that our most value is inherent within us.

We do not have the confidence to recognise that each of us is unique, our human capital is equal to anyone else – and no amount of money, more or less, changes that uniqueness.

The psychology of money often explains that how we manage our money may be due partly to how we were brought up, our relationship with parents impacting as to whether we are savers or spenders.

Further, that while we may learn to manage money better, that does not change our relationship with money itself.

However, after many years as an international financial planning practitioner working with clients who needed money guidance, I truly believe it is much more personal.

It isn’t the relationship with money, it’s the relationship with ourselves.

Every money decision we make reflects whether we truly believe in our personal value, our own human capital.

The less we believe in ourselves, the more we rely upon spending money in outward displays to bolster our confidence and assuage our insecurities.

Now, you are sceptical, I’m preaching, how would I even know?

Ah, but I do know. I’ve made those mistakes, numerous times over the years.

Your intrinsic real value is in you, your human capital net worth.

If you are having trouble managing your money and you can capture your power value in your human capital, that confidence will truly change your perspectives of yourself, your unique ability to increase further success.

And your relationships, leading to a more fulfilling, happier life.

Next: How do you increase your human capital value?

Martha Harris Myron is a native Bermuda islander with US connections, author, YouTube creator, Google News contributor, and a retired qualified international financial planner. Contact: martha.myron@gmail.com

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Published June 03, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated June 01, 2023 at 7:37 pm)

Money and how we value ourselves

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