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Do You Have Money Or Does Money Have You

If you ever want to get a conversation kick-started, start talking about money. Mention that five letter (or some may refer to it as a four-letter) word and you will receive an earful. I use to think about money 24/7, for many of the same reasons most Americans think about money. Let's face it, why do most people wake up in the morning? They have to go to work to make money, to pay for the "things" in their life. Those "things" could be a mortgage, car, private school, groceries and one of a hundred other items.

There is nothing wrong with having money. The problem occurs when money has you. In my former life as a corporate executive, I used to buy things I could not afford, with money I didn not have to impress people I did not like. It didn't matter how much "stuff" I accumulated, it was never enough. I had to keep up with the Joneses.

My wife Angela use to cringe every time I purchased a new toy. She would always say, "Honey, we don't need all this stuff to be happy." I would always try to justify my actions in some lame way that sounded just horrible.

I figured I was the one who made the money, therefore, I was entitled to with it as I pleased. What a fool I was. Money definitely had me.

I was content because I was wealthy, but that contentment would only last for a short period of time, then the hunger would sink in again.I had to have more. Finally, in 2004 it hit me. I was on a corporate trip at one of the nicest hotels in Destin, FL. I just finished a round of golf with my colleagues and decided to call home and see how things were going. We had one daughter at the time, Madeline was 3 years old.

I asked Angela how Madeline was doing, she said fine. Then I asked if she had asked where I was, did she miss her daddy? What Angela said next, floored me. She said, "Actually honey, it is no different whether you are in town or not, we never see you.

You leave early Monday and we see you home Friday night." Although I had realized great success in my job, I was failing as a husband and father. I was chasing prestige and money while I should have focused on my family. That conversation stuck with me until I finally left my job in May 2005. I was an ex-stutterer who had no college degree, earning over six-figures and was miserable.

Fast forward to September 2006. I am the wealthiest I have ever been. I am wealthy because I am content. We now have three daughters Madeline 5, Laura 2 and Paige one. Every night at 5:30 pm we have dinner as a family.

We say grace and thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed on our family. In my previous life as a corporate executive, I was having a drink at a local bar at 5:30pm, waiting for traffic to die down so my commute would be shorter. No dinner with the family, no conversation with the people I loved, just a hollow feeling wondering what else there was to life. I challenge you to be content first, wealth will follow.

Money is to be used as a tool. Give to your church, your favorite charity, or others in need and watch the blessings come back to you ten-fold. I have given more away in 2006 than I did the past ten years combined and have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Its o.k. to have money, but when money has you it's a problem.

Sam Crowley is a best-selling co-author and motivational speaker. You can see Sam's home business at Sam's mission is to create ten millionaires in the next five years

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