Does Money Have Intrinsic Value?

You may have asked yourself the question, “Does money have intrinsic value?”. The answer to that question may surprise you, and I would love to give you a deeper understanding of this statement. 

Money’s value is only relative, meaning its worth is only realized if the owner of an item accepts your offer. Your money is only valuable if you can trade it for something of intrinsic value.

If the seller denies the amount, that money becomes inherently worthless regarding the trade. There is a saying that a man with no money is in the same position as one who has all the riches in the world but cannot purchase what he wants.  

Either case proves that money cannot accomplish its purpose because it is irrelevant. The ability of money is only measured by it giving you the option of exchanging it for something of value. 

Unlike with the money of the past, gold and silver, you can’t melt down current day money and have it still be worth something.

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The Problem with Money – You May Not Value It Personally

One of the main problems you face today is that society is guilty of being consumed by money. Investing for abundance, building net worth, quantifying everything; some people spend no time discussing what money is used for. 

At one point in my work life, I questioned whether I was born to work for a paycheck for my entire life. I determined that I personally valued money up to the point of having my basic needs taken care of and providing a secure future for my family.

But in order to talk about strategies for acquiring money, it made the most sense to first set goals. Then, I concluded that starting with goals was too presumptuous; moving to the basics and talking about values is what’s more important

And once you establish your values surrounding money, you’ll be able to determine that money likely has no intrinsic value, only relative value. It’s the things that money can provide and you can trade it for that have value.

Money vs Your Value System

Money is worth less than the paper it is printed on as it is just an abstraction used to calculate and keep track of currency.  Most people find time with family, life experiences, charitable work, and free time to be far more valuable than money.

But, in order to get those things, you typically have to have money. It’s hard to not work overtime in order to spend time with your family when you don’t have enough money to make the rent payment that month.

And how can you have unique life experiences if you have no money to pay for travel or tickets to events. You can still create your own experiences but you may find that limiting.

So while money has no intrinsic value, having it opens up the possibilities to do more in life and living on your own terms.

How Come Money Has No Intrinsic Value

You may be thinking, when did money lose its intrinsic value. The answer to that is pretty simple. Back in the day, currency was defined by the type of material it was cast from, for example, gold and silver in western countries. 

If the government or country’s economy collapsed, the value of silver or gold is tied to the worldwide standard. That was a great way to trade and made it easier to determine the coin’s value. 

When money was first standardized, it was called “fiat” from the Latin “let it be done.” This term is what we know as money today, and it will never have intrinsic value if you don’t look at adding your own personal values to the dollars you spend.

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Steffa Mantilla

Certified Financial Education Instructor

Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the founder behind Money Tamer. Her 12-year background in operant conditioning and positive behavioral change training is used to help people find effective motivators to change their harmful money behaviors. Steffa explains the reasons “why” behind people’s financial behaviors and how to successfully change them. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. You can learn more about her here.

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