True or False: Money is the Root of All Evil

The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Catherine Alford. Cat is a freelance personal finance writer who blogs at

I feel like the word “money” sometimes comes with a negative connotation. Do you sometimes feel that way, as if it’s immoral to want it or strive for having lots of it?

After all, our parents warn us against worshiping it. Some say it’s the least important thing in the world. Others caution us to respect it and understand it. Then, of course, there’s the saying that it’s the root of all evil.

If you think about it, that’s a pretty serious accusation!

It can certainly be argued that a desire for money has led to some pretty catastrophic events. Some that come to mind include wars, murder, Ponzi schemes and a slew of other things that we don’t like to mention in polite conversation.

However, what about the good that money can bring? What about all the great things that it can do when there’s lots of it?

I can think of a few situations where money isn’t the root of all evil at all. In fact, it can be a ray of hope. I’ve listed of few of these below:


1.      Donations to Worthy Causes

Monetary donations can absolutely change lives. To cite an extreme example, Warren Buffett recently donated a large portion of his overall wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Even something small like paying for the food of the person behind you in the drive through can brighten their day. Have you ever noticed that around Christmas time, people are always paying for groceries and giving back? Wouldn’t it be nice if that was the norm all the time? This example actually shows that you don’t need a lot of money at all to make someone happy or improve their day.

Another example of donations is donating to your church. Many people give 10% of their income or more to their church, and that’s used for worthwhile causes in the community. You can also donate to other organizations all over the world and help people who are not as fortunate as we are.


2.      Investing in a Business You Believe In

Another great way to help others using money is investing in businesses that you believe are worthwhile and promising. Small business owners often can’t even get their ideas off the ground without the help of investors, and they are often extremely appreciative of the help they receive.

Of course, investing in a small business is definitely risky because you don’t know if they will succeed, but with enough research and enough forethought, an experienced investor will be able to spot the good ideas and help them come to fruition.


3.      Paying For Others To Travel

When I was in college, I was the recipient of a need-based scholarship to study abroad. An older couple in the community gave it. They pledged $5,000 to a student who wanted to visit and study in another country, and that lucky student was me!

Their generous donation changed my life, and sparked a desire to see the world even more. I’ve even been living abroad for over two years now. I might not have had the confidence to move abroad without the generosity of that couple who helped me travel all those years ago.


4.      It’s an Excellent Motivator

Many people older and wiser than I am will say that you shouldn’t be motivated by money; however, I’m not sure that’s true. It would be hard to find someone who isn’t motivated by their income.

Don’t we all work hard so that we do well in our careers so that we can bring home an income to feed our families? If we don’t do well at work or we slack off, we could get laid off or fired!

So, while I don’t think money should be your only motivator to work hard, I think it’s okay for it to be one of your motivators.

Another example of being motivated by money is trying to raise money for a cause. For example, Jacob has his Give 10% Back Project. He is motivated to raise money. Money isn’t the actual motivator, but donating money is. In that way, I feel like we can be motivated by the numbers without losing ourselves in the process.

As evidenced by the examples above, money doesn’t have to be associated with “evil.” I know that the quote generally means that money is the root or the motivating factor behind most evil acts. However, it’s also the motivation for some of the most charitable, life altering, and generous acts of kindness around. I’ve been the recipient of them.

How about you all? Have you been the recipient of generous acts of kindness involving money? Do you think money is the root of all evil?

Share your experiences by commenting below! 

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