Industrial Myth #2: Personal Worth = Net Worth

Saint Daddy

SD (Saint Daddy)

Today, Father’s Day, is a great time to do some myth-busting about a subject we make first contact with through men we love: our fathers, uncles, brothers and husbands. Where did they get their bankrupt ideas from? Who else but their grandfathers, great uncles and brothers-in-laws. Bad ideas about money (and good ones as well) often pass through the generational lines. Today, let’s toss out this one for good:

Penny you have; penny you’re worth.

Now, my immigrant dad grew up poor in Panama. From his young perspective, a person’s worth as a person is tied tightly to and is not distinguishable from their net worth. It infected his thinking about money and the rich. Therefore, to have money was a righteous goal. In my dad’s old neighborhood in Panama, people treated kids who dumpster-dove for dinner as if they were garbage on two legs. The children of the wealthy and socially well-connected to the colonial powers, by contrast, were perceived to be  somehow made of better stuff and were treated as if they were.

Here’s the truth: Money is just a piece of paper or a scrap of metal unless human beings assign them worth. Let the Confederate dollar after the American Civil War prove it.

People, in contrast, have intrinsic worth simply because they are human.

So, whether you’ve got a wad that would choke a horse or a little ball of lint rolling in your pocket right now, you, human being, are worthy of taking up skin, air and space on earth.

Personal worth ≠ net worth.

To all our dads, uncles, brothers and husbands, a happy and blessed father’s day!