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Money and Existentialism: Philosophy Series

you only get one life so make it count
❝Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.❞ -Søren Kierkegaard

It's 2015, and my wife and I are at an amphitheater in Denver, sitting in the grass watching Dave Matthews Band do an acoustic set. As they play a song called "Grace is Gone," a song about grief over the loss of a close loved one, I realize that many of their lyrics have existential undertones.

Their lyrics can be pretty dark: "you may find a lifetime's passed you by" ("What Would You Say"), "life is short but sweet for certain" ("Two Step"), "every day should be a good day to die" ("You Never Know"), and "we'll all be dead and gone in a few short years" ("Pig").

It wasn't until later in life that I started studying the philosophy of existentialism, but I was already primed for it. The main ideas are that we don't choose to be born, life will be stressful, we ought to live authentically, and we get to choose our own purpose in life. This can be useful in our financial lives.


Existentialism starts with the idea that there is existence before essence. In other words, previous philosophies assumed that there was an essence of being human, and once you were born, your duty is to fulfill tha