If we have food and covering, with these we shall be
content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation
and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and
destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and
some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves
with many griefs.
The first epistle of Paul to Timothy and a famous quote –
“the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil”; often paraphrased as “money
is the root of all evil”, not a dissimilar phrase, but then again not quite the
Talking about money is often considered vulgar in this
country. You tend not to ask people how
much they are being paid, or how much their house is worth, or comment upon the
expense or otherwise of their dining room table or their mahogany fireplace. It simply isn’t polite. But like it or not, at some stage in the not too
distant future you are going to have to decide how important money is to you;
and begin to understand how motivated you are by money; because at some stage
in the not too distant future, you will have to decide upon a career path of
The median wage in the UK is about £27,000 per annum. It is worth just pausing on that for a short
while. Once you take taxation out of
that, the median earner in the UK takes just over £20,000 home each year. If you then chose to send one of your
children to Bedford School, you would not have enough change for a roof over
your head or a daily loaf of bread.
Which takes me to question number 1: do you want to independently
educate your own children?
The jobs website Glassdoor lists as its top job for 2015
the role of marketing manager. It is
their top job because it comes with a decent salary and good job prospects: all
sorts of businesses need marketing managers.
The median salary is quoted as £46,000.
If you have two or three children, and want to buy a three bedroom
Victorian home in the middle of Bedford, you will probably need around
£500,000. At those rates of pay, and
after taxation, it will take you about 14 years to earn that amount, and that
is before you buy any food or find somewhere to live in the meantime. So question number 2: does it matter what sort
of house you live in?
A state school teacher earns anywhere between £21,000 per
year and about £37,000 per year, before any extra responsibilities outside the
classroom. Bear in mind now that the
average food costs per year for a family of four are £4,000; the average car
running costs are £5,000 per car; the average house rental costs are £9,000,
totalling £18,000 for simply home, car and food – and you can see that those
wages are relatively tight. Question
number 3: do you need to live with a relative amount of luxury, or are the very
Reed recruitment ran a job market survey in this region
of the country only a few months ago and it found that 56% of all workers said
that if they had their time again, they would have chosen a different career
path. Isn’t that simply a tragedy? You only get your time on this earth once; if
you can’t enjoy the once, it is too late. Whatever you feel about earning
prospects, it seems to me that one thing is certain: you spend most of your
life in the working world – you really must, if you have the opportunity (and
you do), pick something that you will enjoy.
My point is this.
It is all very well to say that money does not motivate you, or that
earning power is not important in a job, but the practicality may very well be
different. The phrase “money is the root
of all evil” sounds fine; but it is also worth testing. Do ask yourself some of those questions.
The problem comes when people start trying to equate
money with happiness. For some high
profile cases, I think that this can indeed be the case; Bill and Melinda Gates
for instance will not only have the satisfaction of building up a business
which has undoubtedly moved the whole of mankind forward, but also have the
amazing opportunity to give away vast sums of their fortune to good causes all
around the world. How wonderful that
must feel. Indeed theirs seems to be a
bit of a trend these days: a contract called the Giving Pledge unites 138 of
the richest people on the planet in a determination to give away over half of
their fortunes before they die; the owner of a Seattle based technology company
decided recently to pay all of his employees a new minimum wage of £47,000
whilst reducing his own million dollar salary to the same amount; and Alex
Foster, a young CEO of a start-up company in London, earning only £30,000 a
year, recently announced on Facebook that he gives away even half of his relatively
small salary to charity. So for some,
earning equals giving away – and one can see how attractive that might be.
But for many, money can be a real burden, something which
leads to overbearing greed, to hubris and disrespect, something which leads to
family argument and breakdown, something which is fleeting and can be lost –
and is all the more painful when it is.
Often high profile fraud cases involve people who already have vast sums
of money; they are driven purely by greed and a determination that money is the
be all and end all. They epitomise the
biblical reference that the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.
So I wonder whether you might just ask yourself this
question at some stage. Is money
important to you and why? It might just
help you start to narrow down some thoughts on how you will go about living
your life after formal education.