To what end do we work?

To what end do we work and make money?

If I were to answer the question, I would tell you that I make money so that I can provide for myself and my family. To live comfortably and without worry. Although I make a small salary compared to the average in Canada, I also realize that when compared to the rest of the world I am very well off. It's true, while I may not be driving a luxury car or living in a large house, I also do not worry about having food to eat or where I am going to sleep tonight. In my situation I am free from the basic wants and enjoy peace and stability in my life. This can't be said for a very many people in the world.

The reason I bring this subject up is because I was looking at a situation where someone was expecting to reap a large amount of money and instead of enjoying some of the proceeds, was instead looking for another investment opportunity to use the money towards. I would have expected that at a certain point, making money would become unnecessary and the motivation would  be gone. I was asking myself what the point of creating wealth was if you were never going to enjoy any of it? If you continually sold and then bought new investments ad infinitum? And if you are going to pass the investments on with the expectation that your descendants would continue to manage them through the same cycle, what is the point of it all? Is the enjoyment of the interaction the sole purpose and not ever to enjoy the proceeds from your hard work?

I look at someone such as Warren Buffett, who as of writing this is apparently worth $40 Billion dollars. He can provide for himself and his family and their families for their entire lives. He has even said that he will give away 98% of his wealth, while still leaving enough for his family to live an exceptionally comfortable lifestyle. So my question is, to what end does he continue to work? I feel that he would have met all of his goals and to continue to create profits wouldn't enhance his life any. I think that for him it must be something that he enjoys doing. Something that brings him happiness, and undoubtedly also his shareholders.

Maybe I read too many personal finance blogs where one of the main goals is to grow your wealth into a big enough nest egg so that you can retire comfortably. Or maybe even to retire early for that matter. These people see making money as a means to an end of not having to work anymore. After which they hope to relax and enjoy the things they've been putting off like travelling or spending more time with family.

I know that working can give people a purpose and maybe that's reason enough for some. But at the same time I hope it's more than something to just keep them busy while time ticks bye.

In the end I suppose different people have different ideas on working and the purpose of having wealth. I see it as a way to reach happiness and to share happiness with others, and not as happiness itself. Clearly others must derive some happiness, satisfaction, or purpose from continuing to work far past when their financial needs require them to.

To what end do you work?


  1. I really enjoy reading your blog. I also make less than the average Canadian, and although I would love to make more, I'm satisfied. To me, work is simply a means to pay my bills and save for retirement. I don't need the "latest and greatest", and I'm really not sure if I would ever find a job that made me happy unless I was my own boss. The key to happiness is to be thankful for what you have, give to charity, be wise with your income and investments but don't sacrifice your present existence for an undetermined future.

    1. I never did reply to your comment and I am truly sorry for that. I have just read it again (7 years later now) and would like to express my thanks for taking the time to actually read something I wrote and offering a thoughtful comment. Thank you again, I hope you are well.


Post a Comment