Money makes the world go around, they say. And it truly is a very important element in our lives, although sometimes it takes on a much bigger role than it needs to.

Plenty of people believe that having more money would solve all of their problems. Most of them are likely correct that more money would make some things easier, for a time, but they often over-estimate the ability of the money alone to solve everything, forever. Others are reluctant to spend any money when it could help them greatly.

I have dealt with people from all over the wealth spectrum, and I find it interesting how those on the higher end sometimes seem as if they have more money problems than those on the lower end. Could it be that it is not the amount of money you have, but how you use it, and how you think about it?

I came across a video on Twitter last week, where a guy was going around giving $100 to homeless people, and it was incredible to watch their reactions. The guy got plenty of hugs, thanks, and “God bless you’s”, but I could not help thinking that those people were likely not much better off a few days later. I only hope that one or two of them managed to find a way to use their windfall in positive way to improve their long-term situation.

When dealing with families in business, money is often at the root of their issues, and it is not always the lack of money that stands out. Very often, problems arise around the use of money, and perceived fairness surrounding money, rather than not having enough of it.

I recently had one of my occasional brain malfunctions, when I locked the keys inside the cab of a truck that I had just rented, as I parked it in front of my office. The plan was to load up some furniture, go home and load some more stuff, and then head off on the first half of a 10-hour drive to the cottage. The extra hour or so that it would have cost me, to get a lift back to the rental company to get another key, was not in my time budget.

I called my wife and once again she had the solution: she called a cab and sent it to my office, and the cab driver used a tool that he had in his trunk to “break in” to the truck, while my partner Tom and I brought the furniture down using the elevator.

It cost me $25 and I gave him a good tip too, since he saved me from an extra hassle when I could not afford it. That’s when I said to Tom, “When money can solve a problem, then it’s not really a problem. Provided you have the money”.

I wrote down that quote, knowing it would come in handy some day, at least for a blog post.

How many problems do you think you have, that you could afford to pay someone to take care of for you, but you don’t? Instead, you continue to live with the problems, because you don’t want to spend the money?

Some people go through their lives being so frugal that they are miserable, even though they could well afford to spend some money that would actually make some of their problems go away. I have trouble understanding those people. You can’t take it with you when you die.

I do not suggest you spend every last cent, so that you become homeless, and need to depend on the kindness of strangers giving away money, but to spend a reasonable amount, to improve your quality of life, can make a huge difference in your happiness level. Can you think of some areas in your life where this might apply?

Steve Legler “gets” business families.
He understands the issues that families face, as well as how each family member sees things from their own viewpoint.
He specializes in helping business families navigate the difficult areas where the family and the business overlap, by listening to each person’s concerns and ideas.  He then helps the family work together to bridge gaps by building common goals, based on their shared values and vision.
His background in family business, his experience running his own family office, along with his education and training in coaching, facilitation, and mediation, make him uniquely suited to the role of advising business families and families of wealth.
He is the author of Shift your Family Business (2014), he received his MBA from the Richard  Ivey School of Business (UWO, 1991), is a CFA Charterholder (CFA Institute, 2002), a Family Enterprise Advisor (IFEA 2014), and has received the ACFBA and CFWA accreditations (Family Firm Institute 2014-2015).
He prides himself on his ability to help families create the harmony they need to support the legacy they want. To learn how, start by signing up for his monthly newsletter and weekly blogs here.