Marcus Aurelius quotes about money are powerful because of his unique position and perspective.
Aurelius was a Roman emperor who ruled the Roman Empire from 161 AD to 180 AD. During his reign, Aurelius obtained absolute power and wielded it with far more humility and justice than most would.
Because of this, Aurelius’ perspective is remarkably unique; he could have made anything he wanted into law, acquired any resource he desired, punished anyone who opposed him, and demanded any amount of wealth he wished.
Despite possessing this immense amount of power, he ruled with great virtue and temperance. He documented his daily reflections in a private journal known today as one of the best collections of Stoic writings entitled, Meditations.
The book contains many wise lessons, especially around the concept of wealth. With that, here are three Marcus Aurelius quotes about money that will help you live a life of examined wealth.
“The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.”
This quote provides a remarkable perspective from someone who had the option to collect every coin in Rome and put it in his name.
Aurelius suggests that no amount of financial wealth is yours forever. Instead, all financial wealth in your possession is a temporary holding.
However, if you are generous with your wealth and use it to help others in need, the internal fulfillment you receive in exchange will last you a lifetime.
This concept suggests that the personal wealth that comes from generosity is more valuable than financial wealth.
Aurelius’ lesson here is that instead of hoarding all of your money away, it’s good to donate a portion of your financial wealth to help others.
The personal wealth you receive in exchange will be yours—and only yours—forever.
“The needs of a happy life are very few.”
Biologically speaking, you are one of the most complex creatures on this planet.
What’s more is that the most sophisticated piece of technology sits on your shoulders right between your ears.
While your brain is incredible, it has the power to lead you down a subjective path that can make you feel like you need things such as clothes, cars, devices, houses, and other materialistic items to be happy.
But few question why they believe these items will make them happy, and fewer question whether these things are needed or not.
Aurelius’ quote suggests that you should think deeply about what it is you want and why.
If you want happiness, there is a good chance that materialistic items won’t fill the tank the way you believe. Therefore, if you’re spending money on things to be “happy,” you’re likely wasting your money on useless stuff without getting the result you desire.
Remember that happiness comes from within by having a sense of gratitude and contentment in your life.
“Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance, and be ready to let it go.”
The Stoics taught you to focus on what is within your control and be ready to let go of the things that aren’t in your control.
No amount of money makes you a better or worse person. Your true value is in your virtues and your character.
Aurelius’ lesson here is never to become too much attached to money because it will naturally come and go—sometimes in a way out of your control.
Be grateful when you receive money, but do not become too attached to it because it does not define who you are, nor does it make you any better or superior as a person.
The Summary of Marcus Aurelius’ Quotes About Money
Money is a necessary currency to earn and use in today’s society. However, it does not define you nor your happiness.
There are two types of wealth. As you build financial wealth, always remember to express gratitude for what you have, remain humble, and remember that the things that make you feel wealthy often have nothing to do with money at all.
If you’d like to learn more Stoic principles that can help you live a rich life today regardless of how much money you have, buy The Stoic Guide to Living Rich.