We live in a culture that is fixated on making and spending money. If Convid-19 doesn’t make you question some basic assumptions about the purpose of money, nothing will. So, what’s the point of it on the backend?
Place yourself in the shoes of someone else for a moment. Let’s call this person Morgan. We’ll refer to this person in the masculine sense for ease of purpose, albeit this name can go either way on the gender spectrum, so bear with me.
Morgan has been obsessed with lemonade since a very young age. He grew up selling it by the roadside when he was a toddler. He even mastered the recipe by perfecting it with a secret ingredient. He has drank it every day of his life for as long as he can remember.
In college, his budget could only afford him cheap store-brand lemonade, and even then, he had to cut corners just to make it last. Morgan left that institution with a deep yearning to consume more, hard to fathom by most, and he sought employment which could provide the financial means to afford high-quality lemonade in mass quantities.
He had to struggle to earn his lemonade, but after a few promotions, he was able to set himself up with a respectable quantity—a stocked refrigerator no less! Still, Morgan worked hard into his 30’s, settled down with a wife and kids, cut back on his consumption to afford other things but his desire never faded. In his forties, he procured the rights to a lemon farm (yet he didn’t own it outright).
Just when Morgan felt he was getting somewhere in life… with partial access to a lemon farm, the ability to borrow money to afford more, and the freedom to drink lemonade whenever he wished… Something happened to the lemon crop.
A fungus from overseas blew across the trade winds and eliminated the entire population of lemon trees. For the foreseeable future, Morgan will have zero access to the beverage, and with no lemons to make the homemade variety, he thinks he’s floating down sh*t’s creek without a paddle.
At this exact moment in time, Morgan, for the first time in his life, does not possess the means to drink, make, or enjoy lemonade. He’s never gone without it, which to him is a bit of a mind f*ck.
The point being is… for the first time in our lives, no one has the means to earn money. Outside of essential government jobs, corporate gigs that are shielded from the chaos of convid-19, or extremely wealthy organizations/business owners (that continue to pay salaries and benefits to workers that are not working), there’s no money to be made.
It begs the question, what will our perception about money represent when we have the means to procure it once again?
The entire adult population, or a very large percentage, may experience what I call ‘the flip.’ This happens when a life event changes one’s perception about life itself. I witnessed this firsthand when a close friend of mine survived 9/11. He chose not to take the elevator up early to a meeting on the top floor of tower number one. Instead, he chose to eat a bagel on the ground floor.
A simple decision… without any clue about what was going to happen… saved his life.
He went forward and spent his hard-earned money. He enjoyed it. He remodeled his New York apartment and bought an HDTV (which was a big deal in 2002).
I experience this myself in 2013 when my son was born. We represent adoptive parents. Without getting into too many details, we struggled to start our family. Up until the time when we were about to become parents, and for the duration of my life, I was obsessed with saving money for a rainy day. I was not unlike my friend prior to 9/11.
Afterward, I went through the process of ‘the flip’ – and it happened the second we received word that our adoption was finalized.
My perception about money from that point on was the following; it represents the means to enjoy special experiences, it’s worth saving some and but it is equally as important to reward oneself and his/her family.
Here’s the riddle—if you were a saver before the pandemic, and you’re not one of the tens of thousands that are dead and cremated when it’s all over, wouldn’t your perception about money change? You survived a global pandemic! You could have died, with a pile of cash that you worked hard to save your WHOLE life but never allowed yourself to enjoy. What will you do when you have the means to access “lemonade” when the pandemic subsides?
The flip side of that riddle—the world bounces back but you find yourself unemployed, with a mortgage, little-to-no-savings, but you own all the fancy things you ever dreamed of owning: nice cars, expensive golf equipment, a fashionable wardrobe, etc. You enjoyed ALL the money you made but saved little. Wouldn’t you ask yourself, what do these items represent, and what purpose do they serve having survived a pandemic? What do these possessions even mean? Did they give me pleasure, or was I deceiving myself?
And if you are lucky enough to keep these items, and you don’t have to sell the Porsche to pay the mortgage, would you keep on spending the way you did? Would you go through a cost/benefit analysis, given the fact that the only reason you’re still alive is based on the fact you had access to food and shelter?
So what… is the purpose of making money… in a post-pandemic world?
We’re going to come out of this, and when we do, don’t be surprised if you and many of the people you know experience ‘the flip.’ Possessions that were once considered to be important in one’s life will be less so, and reciprocally, a select group of people will go in the opposite direction: life is short, so enjoy what you have. Every person on the planet is susceptible, as every human being is susceptible to the virus itself.
And what will be the common denominator, the focal point that trumps any and all concerns about money or possessions?
Love of family will represent the most valuable currency, because without it, we’re all just a bunch of cavemen and cavewomen trying to get by from one day to the next.
The family unit itself represents the starting point to reunite the world.