My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are written solely in my personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which I am affiliated. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humor/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are Money and Success the Same Thing? Part 2

In my blog post yesterday, I left you to contemplate some very insightful definitions and interpretations of success and how you would answer the question; are money and success the same thing? After re-reading those definitions and interpretations, my answer is that money and success are not one and the same.

However, that being said, I acknowledge that there is also a thread that closely connects success and money in many circumstances, such that the distinction is often blurred. Thus, today I thought I would expand the question to include not only are money and success the same thing, but can money bring you success or success bring you money? For those that feel I should be true to the original premise and question, I apologize for the re-phrasing, but hey, it's my blog :).

I believe there are circumstances where money can certainly help buy or leverage success while in other situations, money may derail success. On the flip side, there appear to be circumstances where success brings you money.

So let’s look at money and success in five of the key aspects of all our lives: family, career, health, spiritualism and impact on society. 


I agree with John Maxwell’s definition of success noted in yesterday's blog, or at least a variation of it. When it comes to family, love and affection are familial success, not money. Nevertheless, we know families can be torn apart because of money; often because money is very tight, but surprisingly often when there is too much money in the family.

With respect to family, money and success are clearly not the same thing. In respect of my re-phrased question, money will not bring you familial success, but in some circumstances, too much or too little money can tear away at the fabric of love and affection. Familial success in my opinion has little bearing on monetary success.


If we are honest with ourselves, career success often leads to money and thus, this is the one aspect of our lives where I can see how a number of people equate money with success. Yes, there are many people for whom 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 wonder how much money they make. Or alternatively, John makes so much money as a lawyer, he must be successful.

I definitely think there is some truth in Wayne Dyer's comments noted in my blog yesterday where he says  “Successful people make money. It's not that people who make money become successful, but that successful people attract money. They bring success to what they do.” 

Thus, in the case of a career, even if you don’t agree money and success are one in the same, I think you will agree, there are career related circumstances where money can buy success or success can lead to money.


Striving for money can affect one’s health, be it striving for enormous wealth or enough to just support your family. Alternatively, money may relieve stress (no need to work hard) and buy you better health care.

In this circumstance, I think it is clear money and success are not the same thing. Having money won’t mean you’re successful in health, aka healthy, happy, active (whatever other words you think defines healthy), the only affect money can have on successful health is that it may enable you to buy the best healthcare possible. We all know the best healthcare does not guarantee successful health, but in very selected cases, money may buy you health because of the access to care money provides.

In the end, Bob Marley said it best. On his deathbed he told his son Ziggy, “Money can’t buy life”.


This is one case where money is meaningless. People’s spirituality comes from deep inside and money means nothing. However, it is somewhat ironic that when looking for money to build the addition to the church, synagogue or mosque, the first line of attack are those parishioners with money.

Impact on Society

Many people have a positive impact on society by giving their time for the greater good through volunteering. However, other people with money leverage their money to achieve real or perceived success through philanthropic deeds associated with money, such as building a hospital. Some people feel that is not true success, it is just a donation of money, while others would argue building a new hospital is a true success, regardless of whether the person just wrote a cheque or wrote a cheque and volunteered their time.

I think in this situation, money and success are not one in the same, but money can clearly have a positive impact on society and therefore, promote a form of success.


Wow, this blog post just kept going. If you are still with me, give yourself a gold star. So after rephrasing and rambling on over 1400 words, have we learned anything? I have learned (as I worked out this little philosophical debate in my head) that money and success are not one and the same, but do impact one another. Meaning in certain circumstances, money can influence success, and success can determine how much money you have.

On that note, I wish success to you all; however the heck you define it.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.