Are Money and Success the Same Thing?

money and success, life, money, income

“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden

Likely the greatest basketball coach in the sport’s history described the true meaning of success, yet many continue to relate success directly to money. So, are money and success the same thing? No. I wish people would stop defining themselves by their money or what it can buy them. Success is when you are happy and the people around you are happy to have you in their lives, because being with you makes them happy. That’s success in my world.

Money is something tangible, success is not. Success is a feeling of fulfillment. Unlike money, success is not something that’s given to you. Success is personal, something that exists inside of you and only you know how it feels. More importantly, success is never the same between two people, how and when you feel fulfilled due to success differs from one person to another.

Keeping this in mind, I do understand that success is sometimes connected to money. Money allows us to successful, accomplish challenges and obtain goals such as purchasing a car, financing it and paying it off. That’s financial success that entails money, yet it gives you fulfillment inside of a successful goal completion. Furthermore, money can bring you success and being successful at something can bring you money.

Money Can Bring Success

Certainly there are circumstances where money can certainly bring you success. Two prime examples that stick out to me in this moment: are using money to invest in education and using money to buy a home. Even though both examples are significantly different from each other, they both possess the opportunity for success.

Investing money into your education is investing money into your future. This is why student loans exist, as they allow one to borrow money in order to invest for their future. After successful graduation, the education earned gives one the opportunity to find a fulfilling job to earn an income and find success in their career path.

Buying a home is another great example of how money can bring success. Through a down-payment and successful mortgage repayment buying a home can open doors towards a bigger home, the use of home equity towards starting a business and some even use their home purchase as a ticket towards retirement – something I highly don’t recommend.

How Success Brings Money

Being successful does not entail spending money in order to become successful. Sure, it’s easier to become successful at something by throwing money at the idea, but you can use success to bring you money. Blogging is a great example of how success brings money. When I started blogging two years ago, I never dreamed of earning a penny for sharing my ideas. In two short and relatively quick years I’ve managed to earn thousands of dollars due to blogging. I had no prior writing experience or any website creation experience, but over time I became a better writer, learned how to optimize my websites, started two more blogs in the process and money started to flow in. Yes, I became successful in everything that entails running a blog, and that same success has created a path for a healthy side income.

2 Examples of How Money and Success Cross Paths


This is one area where most equate money with success, yet a successful career does not mean money. Having a successful career goes beyond the money you see in your account every two weeks. Take for example my friend Sam (Financial Samurai), despite a successful career and a six figure income, he took a leap of faith, quit his six figure income job and became self employed. Why would anyone do this? While most strive towards a six figure income, he had it and left it all behind in hopes of becoming a successful online entrepreneur. Obviously, from Sam’s example, he defines success in his career beyond money. Through being an entrepreneur, not only did he become his own boss, he also has the ability to create his own hours, call the shots and the income potential becomes unlimited – think eight figures.

Yes, there are SOME people for who the job is the key and money is only secondary. But when we chat about someone, the first topic is usually about their job, which leads us to assume how much money they make. It’s how we became wired. I did say became, because everyone in our society assumes a successful career equals a lot of money. That’s not always the case, because there are equally as many successful people who don’t earn a shit load of money and instead are comfortable with an income that affords them a basic lifestyle – whatever basic means to them at the time.

“Tonight I do not have to set the alarm because tomorrow I do not have to go to work” -  Sam @ Financial Samurai


Money can relieve stress and buy you better healthcare, but money can also create health problems. Striving for enormous wealth can be taxing on the health. And once the wealth is acquired at whatever level, worrying how to upkeep the lifestyle and wealth can create it’s own stress. Certainty most people would choose to heave their health over any money, because if they have their health they have the opportunity to earn money and create whatever success they set their sights on. Having money doesn’t guarantee a healthy life where one is healthy, happy, active and independent that one doesn’t rely on others. The only effect money can have on successful health is that it may enable you to buy the best healthcare possible.

Final Thoughts

As I said earlier, money and success are not the same thing, yet they cross over one another in many faucets of our lives. Money drives success and as indicated in my blogging example, success drives us to money. This definitely means that in certain circumstances money can influence success, and success can determine how much money you have. Money is not the only measure of success in life, yet for most people in our modern-capitalism world, money is the first thing, and sometimes the only thing that measures success in their life.

The measurement of success in your life can be many things. It just depends on time, what’s important to you and who is the one doing the judging. As times change, the measurement of success in life also changes. Money may be the first measurement others use to judge our success, but it is not the only one.

All the best to you in your pursuit of success – whatever success means to you!

Readers, why do most judge our success based on money? and what is more important to you, to be a successful person who’s wealthy or to be loved?


Photo Credit (mempix)


  1. To stop caring about money, I think we need to first care a great deal about money. After a while, making more money starts getting old. We cherish time more and more as we see friends get sick and people we know die. We’ll all have this moment sometime. It just depends if we experience it soon enough.

    Happy Holidays!

    Financial Samurai recently posted..Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth On The Taxes You Pay?My Profile

  2. There are a lot of things that money has nothing to do with success. Good parenting for example. Success is just achieving a goal. Money is just one measurement.
    krantcents recently posted..Plan the End!My Profile

  3. There are many occasions where I don’t measure my success with money. If I learned something, even if failing to achieve my goal, then I would consider that a success. Money is always on the forefront of most people’s mind due to how our society is run.
    Debt Roundup recently posted..Decrease Your Debts Everyday In 10 Simple WaysMy Profile

  4. It’s sad the society equates money with success. I think that’s a huge reason people go into debt; to seem successful. True success comes from within and is not dependent on money. I have a friend who got married and had children very young. Then her husband developed a severe mental illness, which led to eventual divorce and no help from him in raising the kids. She has never had much monetarily, but has already had her older son graduate from college and her daughter is halfway there. Both are very well rounded, hard working members of society. I think that is a great example of success.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Financial Lessons from Clark W. GriswoldMy Profile

  5. Dear Financial Fox,

    Some money is important in terms of health for reasons far more fundamental than “the ability to buy the best healthcare” (societies where healthcare is a common good have generally better health levels than those where healthcare is private, at similar GDP levels). Firstly, the ability to buy healthful food. I have worked in community groups, where some clients were extremely poor and had to rely on food banks and were not able to afford fresh vegetables in the winter; moreover lean meats and fish are considerably more expensive than fatty crap. Also, salubrious housing. Nobody needs a big or luxurious house; I’m quite happy in my little flat, but it is well-insulated, not drafty or full of mould.

    There is also the psycological and social aspect of being able to take part in activities, take courses, go out with friends from time to time.

    None of these things requires a high income, but some money is needed. This has become a serious problem for many employed people working at or near the minimum wage (at the stores we shop at) or precariously.

    Beyond those considerations, I certainly don’t equate money and success. A surgeon friend of mine who has worked for an association in war zones looks down on his colleagues who earn far more money doing face lifts and the like rather than lifesaving surgery – or using plastic surgery knowledge to restore a human appearance to people maimed by trauma or disease.