Greed makes the world go round, right? Well, sort of. In order for a capitalist society to function, money and purchases are certainly necessary, but greed suggests selfishness or a desire for a superfluous amount of money. We all need money to survive, and having extra money so you don’t have to worry is certainly an admirable and understandable goal; so at what point do ambition, and the hope of having more money, become greedy? The answer depends on who you ask, but there are certainly clear signs you are greedy with money. If you turn a blind eye to someone who needs your help, then you might be greedy with money; working tirelessly to earn more money even if you don’t need it is another sign, and so is prioritizing money above all else. Here are four examples of being greedy with money to watch out for.
1. You ignore people you can afford to help
A Gallup Poll found that 85% of Americans donated to charity. Giving to charity is certainly a noble thing to do, and if you can afford to do it but you refuse, then that is a good sign you are greedy with money. The great thing about charities is that there are so many kinds: You can find one that aligns with your interests or beliefs.
The issue of whether to financially help a family member is trickier: You don’t want to create a mooch or reinforce a bad habit. However, if you have a family member who sincerely needs your help, and they are usually a responsible person who just happens to be facing a hard financial time, then saying no when you can afford to help could be greedy.
2. You keep trying to make more money
There’s nothing wrong with a little ambition: Having money can be a great thing. However, if you keep working harder and spending more time on your work, and you’re doing it simply to make more money than you actually need (or could ever need), then that’s a good sign you are greedy. Financial stability is fantastic, but wanting more and more money just to have it isn’t necessary. If you know that you are financially set and that your financial future is stable, you don’t need to quit working. However, if you’re doing extra work or plugging away just to get farther ahead, you might want to stop and think about what you’re doing. There’s nothing wrong with being rich, but at some point accumulating more and more money becomes greedy.
3. The rest of your life is falling apart
If you’re regularly hearing complaints from your family members or friends that you work too much (and that you don’t need to for financial reasons), or if you are actually facing more direct questions like “why do we need more money?” then you might be getting greedy with your money. Once your family members and friends start noticing that you put money above them, your relationships can suffer.
Focusing too much on money can also add stress to your life. Having too little money can certainly be stressful, but so can worrying too much about money or putting too much pressure on yourself to make more money. A study released in 2015 by the American Psychological Association found that money was the top significant source of stress, and also found that parents, younger generations, and people living in lower-income households indicated greater stress when it comes to money.
4. You’re too stingy or too loose with money
Frugality isn’t a bad thing; being careful with money is smart. However, if you refuse to use any money for fun (or more importantly, necessary) expenses, or your family members are afraid to ask you for what they need, then you might be being too greedy with your money. For example, if your son says he needs new shoes because his shoe has a giant hole in it, and you tell him to suck it up (but you can afford to buy him new shoes) then that’s pretty stingy.
On the other hand, envying what other people have and trying to keep up, or spending too much money without keeping track or thinking about the consequences, can also be greedy. If you need more and more money because you can’t stop spending, or you’re spending more than you can afford just to keep up with your friends or mentors (including eating out too much), that’s a bad sign.
Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Also, just because you fall into one of these categories (or more) doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re truly greedy. Perhaps you do many wonderful things with the money you make, and you’re changing the world in some way. However, if you truly wonder if you’re greedy, and you fall into many of these categories, then you might have your answer. Whether or not that’s a problem really depends on what you personally think about greed.