My first love

I still remember the first time I laid my eyes on her.

I was 5 years old, and I knew we were meant to be together forever. When I touched her face, I felt empowered. Even though she didn’t feel the same way about me, it didn’t matter. I knew I had to have her. As time went on, my love for her grew without bounds. Yet, she seemed to not notice me.

It seemed as though she was more interested in everyone else. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I knew if she would just give me a chance, I could make her happy. She sure made me happy.

As time went on, there were other girls that tickled my fancy, but they never seemed to make me feel the way my first love did. I was hopeless. There were times when I was ready to give up on her, but I just couldn’t. She was my first love. I knew my feelings were not being returned. It was impossible for her to love me the way that I loved her, but I still held out hope. I thought she could make me feel secure. The more time I spent with her, the more I loved her.

When I went to college, I realized I needed her more than ever. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Then, I met a girl named Apryl. Apryl was smart, beautiful, and had a great personality. She made me feel the same way I did for my first love. At times, I had feelings I had never had before. Within a couple of years, Apryl and I were married, and I expected that the feelings I had for my first love would subside.

But, marriage didn’t save me. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I finally revealed this to my wife, and she admitted that she knew of my feelings and that she still loved me. She vowed to help me work though this.

That’s so typical of my wife. She is full of wisdom and grace. She knew that my love for money was serious and that as long as I continued to love money, I couldn’t grow closer to God.

She reminded me of the verse that says, No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).

I erroneously believed that money could make me happy, but I finally realized that money does not have that power. A dozen years later, I finally understand that money makes a horrible valentine.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, I’m reminded of why money makes a bad valentine.

She can’t love you back. Money is amoral. It has no feelings. It can’t say, “I love you.” It can’t hold you when times are tough. Sure, it can provide some temporary satisfaction, but nothing that lasts. Many have given all their love to money, and not one of them has ever felt it’s warm embrace. Do you know why? Because money can’t hold you, and it can’t love you back! No matter how hard you try, you can’t make money love you. She is a cruel devotee.

It’s more difficult to keep her interest than to lose her interest. When given a choice between spending and saving, most of us would choose spending. When we spend money, it’s impossible to earn interest on the money. You can only earn interest when you save money. Even those who do save money and earn interest find it hard to keep. It’s just so much easier to get rid of money than keep it. (Too bad weight isn’t like that.) Because money doesn’t love you, it always seems to be working against you. Remember, she doesn’t care either way. She has no feelings.

She doesn’t appreciate the nice things you buy. I knew I had a problem when I kept buying things, and my money just didn’t seem to care. She never tried to stop me when I overspent, and she really didn’t care when I saved money. She didn’t even care when I spent the money on other girls.

Valentines for my daughters Speaking of spending money on other girls, as the father of three girls, I often wonder how I will feel when some boy tries to steal each of their hearts. My wife and I have discussed dating and how old we think our girls should be before they can go on their first date. As of now, it’s 16 (though I often think 30 is much better).

When I told my oldest daughter, Hannah (who is currently 9 years old) that she had to wait until she was 30, she said, “Daddy, how come you didn’t have to wait until 30?”

Just what are they teaching her at school anyway? Math? Wretched math!

As I was thinking about the fact that Hannah will be “eligible” to date in just seven years, I realized that from my perspective, no boy will make a good valentine. But, as bad as any boy would be, money would be much worse. That’s why we’ve started teaching Hannah about the lack of importance of money in her life. While it’s true that it is necessary, it doesn’t need to control her life, and it is not worth giving her love to. She can like it, just not love it, because it will only break her heart.

This Valentine’s Day, ask yourself who you really love. If you find that you love money, remember it will only break your heart.

Steve Scalici is a Certified Financial PlannerTM with Treasure Coast Financial. Steve can be heard daily on 88.1 WAY-FM weekdays at 8:35 am; 12:35 pm; and 4:35 pm. You can contact Steve at steve@tcfin.com.

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