In 1954 a psychologist named Abraham Maslow surveyed research in psychology about what motivates people. He discovered that humans seek to satisfy their basic needs in a hierarchical manner.
As Maslow states, we seek to fulfill our physiological needs first (food, water, shelter), and once those are taken care of we move up to safety (security, stability, freedom from fear), and so on up the ladder, with self-actualization being the final step.
While we may want to achieve what’s at the top of the ladder, we recognize the lower rungs are more essential to our existence.
There’s no denying in the 21st century that money plays a large role in satisfying our needs as we progress up the ladder, at least through the “safety” level.
In the research I conducted for my book Breaking the Spell: The Truth about Money, Success, and the Pursuit of Happiness, 95 percent of the people I surveyed said their income or the amount of money they have is directly related to their sense of security. A full third said it is totally related and another 44 percent said it is very related.
Knowing we are self-reliant and have the financial means to take care of our families and ourselves is important.
We live in a world that encourages independence, and financial security is definitely a part of that independence. Perhaps this is one reason why the accumulation of money has become such a big part of our lives. The challenge however seems to be, no matter how much we have, it never feels like enough. We are never quite secure enough. And thus we get caught up in the constant quest for more.