I can remember learning about the bartering system where a fisherman might exchange some fish for vegetables, where both could receive what they needed from the other. This is, of course, the beginnings of money being used as a means of exchange for goods. What are you getting in exchange for money? The answer will be different for all of us since we all have different priorities and values.
Suppose you were given $10,000 to do with as you please. How would you use these funds? What drives your decision? It is important to realize that regardless of your choice, it is not wrong, it simply shows your priority.
The reasons may vary depending on your present circumstance in life. If your choice was to spend it, it could mean that you feel that pleasure is important at this time in your life. Maybe you have just had a major illness and a family vacation would be meaningful. Or maybe you would choose to pay down debt. It may be that what you owe is a burden and the relief from this stress would be more important than just spending it. How do you measure the return? In some cases, it can seem simple: if the rate of interest is 9% on your loan, then paying it off would mean a 9% return. What can be more difficult to calculate is the stress-relief gained by this reduction in debt.
When you think about getting the best return, maybe investing it is the best idea. If you save in Retirement Savings Plan, it could mean a tax refund, determined by your tax bracket, plus whatever it earns. In addition to these things, it can also offer a sense of security that you are preparing for your future.
There is another option … Did you think about giving it away? I know what you are likely thinking … “There is no return if I give it away, so why would I consider that as an option?” Consider this: When the people sent gifts to the Apostle Paul, he declared that his interest was not actually in the gift that he had received, but rather to “seek the profit that is increasing to your account.” The “profit” referenced here was because the people gave and the account was not what you might think. It was an eternal account, directly the result of the gift generously given to him here on earth. When you give what is temporal, you multiply what is eternal. So not only will you receive a tax savings for making a donation to a registered charity, but you receive a rate of return that is literally out of this world.
Let’s face it, we all want to make the most of our money and make good financial decisions. The return on investment will obviously vary depending on your choice and priority you set. Interestingly, the return on investment may have less to do with an interest rate and more to do with the choices we make.
So take a minute and tell me what you would do with the $10,000. Would you spend it, pay down debt, invest it or give it away? Why did you make that choice?