SO, YOU think money can make you happy, do you? You reckon some big chunk of change can change your life? You really believe, deep down in that sad and sorry excuse you have for a soul, that material wealth makes a meaningful difference to anything?
Well, prepare yourself for a jolt, sport, because here comes a sobering, ice-cold, smack-in-the-face news flash for you. Of course it can!
We have become a society obsessed with possessions, acquisitions and the vulgarity of money. We often agonise over whether this is good or if it makes us lesser people. But need we worry? Are these even the right questions? Surely a much better question is: "Do I get a 20 per cent discount if I pay cash?"
Think of the overindulged, overpaid, drug-addled celebrity who lies on the floor of his ivory mansion, racing towards death decades before his time. You know what his final words are as he reflects on all the empty experiences and phoney relationships his so-called wealth has brought him? Probably something like: "At least I died loaded."
Now, consider the average, hard-working family man. There he sits in his modest home. Yes, he has a crippling mortgage and has just lost his job, so now has no means of income. But he is also surrounded by the love and respect and warmth of his family and friends. Would he forsake one second of that for a palace full of priceless treasure?
Too right he would. And not just for one second, either, but for good. True, he might be alone in the palace without any of the people who gave his life meaning. He will, however, now have an internet connection with unlimited monthly downloads and won't have to worry about anybody secretly checking up on his browser history.
In this next scenario a woman is confronted by a hard choice. She can live a life full of romance and great sex with the tall, toned, handsome man of her dreams, whose only flaw is that he is always behind in his car payments. Or she can endure a loveless existence with a short, dumpy, smelly man with no personality or sex appeal but who happens to be absolutely stinking rotten filthy rich.
Now, would the woman sacrifice passion and great sex for life-long financial security with a complete dweeb? You bet she would. A very sensible decision too, provided she has some brains and cheats on the dweeb with the hunk.
But hang on. What about love? Love is the most precious thing in the world. We all need love in our lives. And money can't buy love. It can't even rent.
Money can't make somebody love you, or stand by you, or devote their entire life to you as they share every intimate detail of themselves and ache to be with you every single moment. Mere money can't get you that, which is just as well. That person sounds way too clingy.
It is true that the rich often feel a powerful obligation to "give back" to the community, to make their money work for the common good. These people are nincompoops.
Winston Churchill said: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." He was a nincompoop, too. Knew loads about whuppin' Nazis but squat about partying with $1500-an-hour hookers in a solid-gold, 12-jet spa during "wash the jewellery" night.
But what is the ultimate truth about the real value of money in our lives? For that we must turn, as we always do, to the Good Book, where in Matthew 19:24 it says: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven."
This clearly spells curtains for the rich man — or so you would think. But you know what? Do what you like with the camel, but the rich man shall, indeed, enter the kingdom of heaven without any problem whatsoever, for he shall have all his money, assets and off-shore holdings in his mother-in-law's name.
Here endeth the lesson.