Before you can understand the meaning of money you must understand what money is. This may seem like a simple point but many people no longer seem to be able to recognise what money truly is. This is in part because with credit cards, debit cards, checks, next day loans and many other similar things we no longer truly use money the way we did in the past and because the meaning and value of money change dramatically as you climb or descend the economic ladder.
At its most basic money is simply an advanced form of barter. Rather than trading goods with no commonly agreed upon value we agree upon a value for a single barter currency which becomes the standard for society, but this definition is hardly useful in our modern day society when most people earn money not for creating goods but for supplying some type of skill usually earned as a set amount per hour.
This exchange of time for money is most prevalent in the lowest economic levels and begins to break down as you reach the higher levels until as you reach the truly wealthy it becomes mildly absurd. Yet for those who it applies it can be said that at its most basic money is time, which is more often expressed in the reversing of the phrase to time is money.
What is most interesting about this statement is that it is most often used by those who it applies to the least, nameless managers, business executives and other people which can be considered successful though typically not hyper-successful. For these people the value of money is often roughly equivalent to the value it holds for those in the lower economic rungs but though many of them are still paid for by the hour the true earning capacity is not based on time but on skills. These people are often paid for times when they could be arguably said to be doing nothing because those skills may be needed. They are often also paid not to act themselves but to ensure others do. It is also at this economic level that you find far more people paid salary rather than hourly wages helping to demonstrate that at some point time is no longer money, skill is money or education is money.
The next step up the economic ladder takes us to the truly successful, typically people in similar jobs to those to whom skill is money but with a much greater inborn or learned talent. These people are in many cases the first to no longer think of money as something which is used as a way to survive or thrive in the every day but to be used for buying things things that they can not be truly said to need. Yet for them money is still worked for and it could be said that for them talent is money.
The next is the ultra wealthy and it must be divided into two groups. The first of these groups are those who have not earned their wealth, this group is made up of those who inherit money and other types of windfalls or those who earn their money, but in a form in which compensation far outweighs their true effort. To these people money has no meaning in the form of survival but only in what it can do for them and it can be truly said in this case that for them money is comfort, luxury and pleasure.
The final group is the ultra successful who have earned money far beyond what anyone can spend. These are the billionaires who can be seen still at work long after they have earned, and often began their retirement. Many of these people care little or none for money and often can been seen driving cars little better than those in the lower income brackets and to them it is hard to say money is anything but a way to measure themselves against others.
Though money has some quality of each level in every step of the economic level it is difficult to pin down the meaning of money without an understanding of an individual. Money itself has no real value, no real meaning except that which we place on it and it is well worth noting that no where on this list can money be though of as happiness though so many, at every step of this economic ladder strive to make it so.