Do you remember The Hobbit? If you ever read J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel or watched the movies, you may remember the scene where the title character discovers the dragon Smaug sleeping atop an enormous pile of gold and treasure.
It’s a striking image: the entire wealth of a once-prosperous kingdom, gathered up, a bed for a giant dragon. Tolkien uses this splendid scenery to good effect, exciting the reader’s imagination with his description of riches. In the story, after reclaiming the dragon’s hoard, the hero Bilbo Baggins is able to ransom an entire city with just a one-fourteenth share of the treasure.
You have to wonder… what good did owning such unimaginable riches actually do for Smaug? After all, he was a dragon. It’s not like he had shopping to do or bills to pay. Piling it up to make a nest for naptime just seems like a poor use of the assets.
What’s more, the misused treasure had become a burden over time. When Bilbo first encountered the dragon, he managed to steal a single gold cup from the hoard. The loss of even this smallest part of his holdings made Smaug miserable and furious. For all his vast wealth, Smaug spent all his time and energy worrying about it.
We don’t know many dragons or hobbits, but wealth is certainly important to the humans we know.
Money can buy a better bed than a pile of gold (for a lot less, too). But money can also be a source of stress and frustration, from unexpected home repairs to medical bills and car accidents. It can feel like life keeps sending hobbits to pilfer the hoard you worked so hard to accumulate.
But these moments are precisely what we saved for in the first place. As stressful as paying bills might be, it is less stressful than having bills and not being able to pay them.
A pile of money can make your life easier, but only if you let it.
At the end of The Hobbit, Bilbo returns home only to find that his house and possessions have been auctioned off in his absence. He is forced to spend his remaining fraction of the treasure buying his own belongings back from greedy relatives.
Where Smaug lost sleep over a single gold cup, Bilbo feels only relief at giving up his hard-earned treasure to secure the happy and comfortable hobbit life he wants for himself.
It’s no burrow, and there’s no tea kettle over an open fire, but you’re always welcome to our office in beautiful downtown Louisville, where there’s always a pot of coffee going.
Call or drop by anytime: we’re glad to share the adventure.
Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.
Play the audio version of this post below: