Tuesday 30th August
The older I get the more I realise that money is a funny thing. So much of human activity is bound up in a desperate struggle to obtain it, and so much misery is caused by the disparity in the amounts different people possess, and yet in itself it is of no value. Only as a means of exchange does it have any value, and the rate of exchange – what money can buy, or how much money one is prepared to spend to obtain something is a fluctuating thing, entirely dependent on circumstances.
When I was growing up in Putney I was not entirely aware of how much or how little money we had. Actually my mother’s alimony settlement was pretty paltry and I have since discovered that quite regularly both Grandma and my mother would be forced to sell investments to make ends meet. As I started to earn a living I can remember how expensive clothes were, and how long it would take me to save up for them. Later, as my income increased I would find that I was accumulating a balance in my bank account, simply because I was unused to spending money frivolously, and had continued living quite frugally. After I met Edward, money was never a problem, but neither of us spent foolishly, and although I was never short of it, I never felt I had money to waste either. Now that I am alone I find that I have a very healthy bank balance, and several investments. By force of habit maybe, I have these plotted on a spreadsheet, and regularly check my share values and record them in their separate columns. But in a strange way, that is all they are – numbers on a spreadsheet – they have no real value other than that. What on earth does she mean, I hear you mutter. Well, let me put it this way; I have no needs that my income from Edward’s pension does not meet; I do not want a larger or a second home; I have more clothes than I can be bothered to wear and, so, I have no intention of cashing in any of these investments in the foreseeable future.
There is comfort in the knowledge that I am financially secure, of course, but if I did spend it (on what I cannot imagine) it would no longer be there, and so in a strange way its only value is in not spending it. As I said at the start of this piece, money is a funny thing.