Money buys happiness until you have $75,000 (the one they are citing):
Money always buys happiness - no limit:
However, it seems to not matter that much as money only explains 1.8% of the variance in subjective well being:
In South American countries for example, it certainly seems to be true that middle class professionals have a pretty nice lifestyle partially as a result of inequality in society. (For example, it's pretty normal to have a live-in housekeeper to clean and cook for you)
Gold supply for example is fairly fixed because we have already mined the stuff for thousands of years and most of that old gold is still around. Granted, there is a lot of gold out there something like 2 pounds per person, but that it. Want more than that, take it from someone else.
Housekeeping is an edge case where everyone wants it, but nobody wants to do it. So, it only shows up due to wealth disparity.
PS: The abundance of food is also great wealth, but you only need so many calories a day.
It's not that no one wants to do it. The problem is that it is regarded as a low status job and is also, almost invariably, low paid and poorly regulated.
It's important to remember that this kind of finding describes a default or average psychological outlook of a population. There's no reason that an individual can't alter his own perception of the world and his place within it through meditation, psychotherapy, CBT, or some other means.
Basically, relative wealth will affect your happiness if you allow yourself to believe that relative wealth is important. Capitalist society is built on this belief (it's foundational to aspirational advertising) but that doesn't make it true.
Note that that inference is limited to material wealth.
The principle, true or not is summed up as:
"It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail."
So could it be that what actually matters is your level in the dominance tree?
If you think in survivalistic terms, the most powerful position to be in is one where others need you (and therefore you have high social capital) but you don't need them (so you could walk away if you wanted). This is actually autonomy, not power, but otherwise the people around you might experience the repercussions of your decisions as power.
I think money is just a derivative of the needs and wants of people, and so the desire for money is mostly just the pursuit of what you want, misguided or not. More money means more autonomy. It goes deeper too, as people want mastery and respect, which can also be derived from work in a profound, interdependent to the community kind of way.
I also read a part of the book so when you say you try to think "I really like this car", shouldn't the thought be "Boy imagine I'd lose this car today, or maybe it gets robbed, I better enjoy it before that happens" instead? At least that's what I got out of the book, to excercise "negative visualization regularly.
I like to practice this own philosophy in my life to remind myself that no matter how frustrated I am with my possessions or with my work that I could be in a much worse place than I am currently. It also helps, a lot, to be a minimalist because it makes you all that much more appreciative of the few things you have (especially when you own good ones!).
Now you can have it with you at all times.
Do the same with the Meditations: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2680
If anyone can link to more readable editions that can be downloaded it would be nice to know.
Sure, more and better experiences can make you happier, but do you have to pay a lot for them for that to be true?
Searching for loopholes is not going to be as fruitful in the long run as choosing to play a different game.
It creates abundance - even overabundance for some - and then one can choose what level of consumption they want. Less buying = higher savings = more capital or leisure time so capitalism can actually encourage savings.
The 'fairy tale' is the way media and especially, advertising, portray the benefits of consumption. The selling of this idea is a key part of capitalism, not as a concept, but as it's practiced today.
Working for even a short season of time at a pace that affects our relationships to those important to us leaves us with lost time. We irrevocably change our relationships slightly and miss out on important events. People say things like, "I'll make it up to them." The problem? You can't make up time to someone! Even if you have a lot of free time in the future, it is likely that your relations will not. Wealth is impossible to share in a socially acceptable way, and so you're left with wealth that only you will enjoy, for the most part.
I'm not saying that the drive to make money shouldn't be there, but I'm not killing myself to get there.
This is not always true.
Posessions like money often bring with them envy and jealousy from others, who may try to deceive or hurt you to get what you have.
I recommend watching the documentary "Born Rich" for some relatively benign examples of the social isolation kids born in to rich families suffer, how some of them can't be sure if others genuinely like them or are just after their money, etc. It's also interesting to see how some of them reject their inheritances and try to live "normal" lives, without help from their families.
Then there are the less benign examples in the news all the time, of people getting conned, robbed, killed or kidnapped for their money.
The possession of money can also ruin families and relationships just as surely as the lack of money.
Large differences in money kind of eliminate the possibility that other things remain equal.
An advanced capitalist country probably offers a good system for individuals to work and get those very important things. Without them, there's no happiness.
But, off course, we want more, much more. And after a certain point, it does start look like a fairy tale.
Anyone who says money doesn't bring happiness has either never gone without, given up, or has so much that they can't conceivably spend it.
Experiences are great. So is plastic surgery. If you can afford them.
Not sure how you'd describe it, but the "fuck you money" fund to me is more about peace of mind and not feeling pressured into stuff I don't want to do than it is something that makes me actively happy.
How about having 2 years of fuck you money? You missed the point of the article. It's not that money doesn't make you "happy", just that there are other things you can buy with money that give you more lasting happiness.
That makes sense. But I wouldn't prioritize having those experiences above having money. If having an amazing experience put me under my comfort level with money-in-bank, then on the mid-term, they'd make me pretty unhappy. On the very long term, I might remember them as great.
Or I might remember them as dumb because I wasted money and opportunity cost.
But it's possible that I am permanently biased because I grew up with a very everpresent lack of money.
Here subjects who carried a void of low self esteem, by changing their looks coupled with how they viewed themselves and the world later on, had a powerful effect.
The same could be achieved if you had a good bank balance, and spent it on the matters, which yields good experiences, and in turn changes the way you view yourself and the world. Most of the time, it requires you to stay humble. But usually people don't prefer this. :)
My 2c: duh. If you draw confidence and security just from looking at yourself, you have an advantage.
I don't have the time to tour from London to Croatia by bicycle, and there's no way I could consider it in any two-week break. I did it last summer by motorbike, and it was nothing to cross multiple mountain passes a day along the way.
Of course, like many awesomely fun things, it's quite dangerous, which is why I won't start riding again until I'm 55 or so.
I think you've hit on an important nuance there - buying things in the pursuit of experiences: good, buying things strictly for their own sake: not so good. As long as the pleasure of owning the thing is secondary to the pleasure of using the thing, then all is well :-)
The highest-level sims (with motion controls) are pretty good. I think this is the best comparison today (~$50K simrig vs $25k car): https://youtu.be/hzAIVzAMNg0
There's the added benefit of not worrying about crashing a $500K race car. :-D
[Edit] The simulation upgrade cycle is its own hedonic treadmill though - gamepad > wheel > full wheel/pedal/seat setup > 3 monitors > VR > motion rig > ???
And with regards to remembering the experience, reliving it in your imagination later , do you feel any difference between real/sim ?
I can't recall the details of every single successful sim ride, but neither can I recall the details from every single "real" flight either. Fortunately, my fourth box (crashes of real airplanes) is empty.
In terms of remembering the experience - I have much fonder memories of my slow laptimes and small improvements on a trackday than "relatively quick" laptimes on a simulated track.
I've thought about it a LOT (as I've recently had to sell my fun car) and I can't say there's one element that I can put my finger on.
I believe that the foundations of happiness are simple: truly love many people, feel gratitude for life, and enjoy experiences like travel.
This is SCIENCE!
Just joking, but I find the result somewhat intuitive. I've seen first hand how many people (esp. woman - this my anecdote, don't read too much into it) see their value through beauty. So I think the research reflects a statistical reality - even if it does not apply to you.
Those who decided to have plastic surgery are 'happier' than those who thought about it but decided not to go ahead. Would be interesting to see if a similar effect shows up in other large decisions - eg, people who decided not to buy a house v those who took on the debt; people who decided not to move overseas v those who took the plunge.
In other words, this may have nothing to do with plastic surgery and may reflect a deeper underlying source of (un)happiness.
Me personally, I have just one regret in life: that I didn't rob a bank when I had the chance.
[EDIT TO ADD]
When I was fifteen, I headed in to my local bank to withdraw some cash. Troublingly, my 'local' branch was close to where I was at boarding school, some 100 miles from the branch where my account was established - and it transpired that the signature on my account was still my mother. We'd not updated it since the account was opened nearly ten years earlier.
Maybe they felt sorry for the poor boarding school kid with no money. I suspect I hammed that up a little. Because rather than referring me back to the original branch, the customer service representative headed out the back to see what she could do. For a LONG time.
About fifteen minutes in to the wait, I leant over her desk and noticed, in among the paperclips, a 20 cent piece (this is Australia). I looked around - cameras, probably, but nobody watching.
And so my brain starts ticking - surely I could casually reach out, grab that coin, and pocket it without being noticed. Surely she wouldn't notice on her return - if she even knew the 20c was there. It was a risk ... but for the rest of my life, I'd be able to tell people I robbed a bank!
I probably spent another fifteen minutes pondering the decision. Which was too long - she returned, and the opportunity was lost.
For what it's worth, I was able to withdraw funds legally. She'd had a great conversation with a teller at the originating branch, who it turned out knew my father (everybody does). Based on descriptions of my father, and comparisons to me, my rep felt confident I was indeed who I said I was and changed the signature on the account from my mother to myself.
Now THAT'S a great customer service story as well. Or a tale of social engineering being the weakest link in any security plans.
But for me, nearly twenty years later, it's just the story about the day I could've robbed a bank ... and didn't.
A sense of self-agency seems to be fundamental to good mental health.
>> Me personally, I have just one regret in life: that I didn't rob a bank when I had the chance.
Oh come on, you can't just leave that hanging there. Hope you can share the story without incriminating yourself!
EDIT: Great story, and for what it's worth I think you probably made the right decision. It could easily have ended up being the story of how a bright kid had his prospects ruined over the theft of 20 cents, because of the bank's "we always prosecute" policy and an over-zealous legal system.
The key word is "whole" - with this perspective, I am 100% responsible for everything that happens in my world. I get cut off in traffic - I created that; a song comes on the radio - I created that song.
Now, intellectually, it's complete BS. My brain will never accept that extreme level of self-agency. And I don't pretend I do an amazing job of living it all day every day.
But from a happiness perspective? (Hence referring to it as a 'viewing platform' - one perspective on the world.) It's incredible. Fundamentally liberating because I don't live in a world of blame, excuses, regret, other people letting me down. Something incredible happens - I take full responsibility. Something terrible happens - I take full responsibility.
Perhaps a little too 'out there' for most, but I'm happier than I was before and I believe that self-agency filter I choose for everything is the reason.
 See http://www.openup.com.au
And yep - I found them through my father. Man that guy knows everyone!
Fortunately this doesn't actually stop me falling asleep.
It makes you think.
I feel like I'm probably misunderstanding something fundamental. Seeing as we seem to be on the same wavelength I'd like to try harder to understand it.
I have lived in a (self-created) world of blame, excuses and regret. Especially regret! Anything that helps to move away from that can only be a good thing.
For some reason I chose for that person to cut me off in traffic. What message am I trying to send to myself? Or maybe by being cut off now, I prevented myself from being in a fatal accident a few minutes down the road...
The other thing I find liberating about this platform is that you give yourself permission to always take responsibility for things. Someone is angry at you for something? No problem, sorry, my fault, I'll try and do better.
If all they needed was to be heard/acknowledged/an apology, you're all good. I can't tell you how many situations are smoothed over with this one. And if they need more, you're in charge of deciding whether or not to offer it or to do something else.
Very glad to see this come up on here!
Really interesting. Did your counselor give you any `exercises' to start working on that ? Have you started implementing changes in your day-to-day life ? I am kind of living the same thing at the moment.
It sounds so trivial, but it hit me like a punch in the guts when I realised I hardly ever do anything like this. I've always gone along with whatever other people have planned, reassuring myself that I'm 'easy-going'.
This is what he meant by 'exercising the muscle'. Get used to getting your own way, getting what you want from the world, and taking responsibility for any conflict that arises as a result.
I guess the idea is that you become accustomed to getting what you want and taking responsibility when the decisions really matter.
Even reading back what I've just written feels silly, and embarrassing to admit to. But I hope it's gone some way toward answering your question.
DISCLAIMER: I'm a complete beginner at this stuff and very much still finding my own way. So please take anything I say with a pinch of salt and consider seeing a therapist yourself if you're still curious.
It's something that really does make sense once you think about it, but I would never have thought about it like this in the first place, so this perspective helped me a lot.
The 'exercising the muscle' analogy is also used in "the willpower instinct, which I found quite interesting (though I have to admit it did not help me, because I did not stick with it).
Sorry I can't give a more satisfactory answer. I would perhaps advise being prepared to try 2 or 3 different counsellors until you find one you click with. If my experience is anything to go by, you'll probably know whether you click during the first session.
Indeed, it's really important to try different counselors until it clicks. In the long term it'll be less expensive and time wasting to go trough 2 or 3 or 4 then getting stuck with a bad fit.
Thanks again for sharing that.
I hate that statement. For one it's full of survivor bias. I doubt the person that caught AIDS and died at 30 thought they were glad they decided to sleep with that person.
You gave an example of robbing a bank. If someone robbed a bank and went to prison for 20 years I doubt they were happy for choosing to do it.
Its the mid-life crisis types that get all wound up and messed up about the wouldda-shouldda game. Its a bell shaped curve of being too young to have a past to fulminate over, to OMG I messed everything up, to the new definition of the past is stuff that no longer matters.
Due to wildly varying maturity rates this happens somewhere between maybe 25 and ... never.
Demonstrably false. See unhappy marriages for one easy example. Or drugs.
>> Slightly higher on the consumer thrills ladder is the new slogan of, “Don’t buy things, buy experiences! Travel! Take Cruises! Go to all the happy hours!”
>> It’s a nice idea, and it does work to a certain degree: experiences are more memorable than things. After all, your favorite trip still glows warmly in your memory, even while that iPad2 you purchased just a few years ago is hopelessly outdated now and sitting in a storage bin under the shipping boxes from your iPad3 and iPad4.
>> In the mainstream media, the analysis ends there. Spending on experiences is better than spending on stuff, so just spend all your money on experiences and you’re set.
>> But there’s an even more satisfying thing you can do with money, which is rarely mentioned: not spending it.
I don't make a lot of money, and I'm a long way from retiring early like MMM. However I've started to realise that the idea of being completely financially independent (if not 'retired', then at least able to live without working for long periods) is even more satisfying than the thought of exotic holidays.
Of course, there's no right answer to this. If I'm hit by a bus tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be lying in the road wishing I'd taken that trip to California.
Then you'd better hope you live long enough to enjoy that independence/retirement, and not die when all you've done with your life is hoard money.
There's also the opportunity cost that you should take in to account. Travel and especially living for extended periods in places very different from the ones you're familiar with can really broaden your view of life, other people, yourself, and the world. Those experiences can be literally lifechanging, especially if you have them while young and when your world view is not yet petrified by old age.
Travel and living abroad can also present you with many opportunities, introduce you to many interesting people, help you network and perform beter at work (for a wide variety of reasons that I won't go in to here), etc.
Trying to make up for this by travelling after you're retired won't be the same. For one, you'll no longer be young, so your mind will be different, your outlook will be different, you'll probably not be as open to new experiences or as open to changing your outlook on life. Your body also won't be as up to doing many of the things you'd easily be able to do while young (like walking through cities or the countryside for long periods of time, eat a lot of exotic food, hang out late, etc).
You may also not have nearly as much desire to travel by the time you're older, or if you do you might be more likely to take tours with lots of other tourists than strike out on your own or with a few friends (especially as by then all your friends will have kids to take with them or take care of, or will be retired and more-risk averse themselves), etc.
In short, there's something to be said for living for the moment rather than living for the future, and you might want to get your travelling in while the going is good. Your enjoyment of, benefit from, capacity and desire for travel is likely to reduce as you get older.
I think that it is certainly true for some people that they would be happier retired early, and doing volunteer work or so, or working with random things (I think MMM does carpenting or something? On top of running a blog). I also think there are plenty of people for whom that is not true.
I like knowing that I COULD quit. Actually quitting work wouldn't make me happier though, I think. Someone is actually giving me pretty good money for doing things that I enjoy. That seems better than not getting money for doing things that I enjoy, or getting low amounts of money from it. Sure, it does come with those crappy days when I truly dont enjoy what I do, but they are certainly less common than the days when things are nice.
This doesn't mean the stereotypical "retire on a beach somewhere and never do anything again" most people imagine. Instead you don't have to work on anything you don't want to. You can choose what you work on and how often you do so. If you don't feel like it that day, then fine. You have full control over all of your time for the rest of your days.
Want to take up woodworking? Go for it! Want to continue doing freelance coding? You can! It'll only increase your financial independence, and you don't have to take on projects that don't interest you.
It's crazy how most people don't even realize this is an option. Most people are on the old spend all your money, work til you're 65 (or maybe 70 these days) kick. I didn't even realize it until I stumbled upon his blog. Things are sooooooo much better now, and I credit a lot of that to MMM.
You get a much better travel experience than you would if you spent all your money on a package deal to Hawaii, and the bonus satisfaction of having done it on $10/day.
Given the example in the article of the woman who got plastic surgery, she doesn't get the dopamine hit the day of surgery and now mysteriously years later she's still happy, instead she gets the dopamine hit every time some guy pays attention to her or she gets someones attention, which might be as recently as today, therefore there's no mystery why she's still happy.
Your situation is probably a long term / permanent memory of having vision problems combined with those problems being gone now. The article seems to imply no matter how poor you have been, you'll forget it eventually once you're rich enough, which I find unlikely.
Ah, we agree then, because a statistically relevant correlation never requires 100% participation. Or lack of 100% participation never disproves a correlation.
Certainly ongoing peer / public recognition is a very significant difference between that example in the article of plastic surgery and the other example provided of buying a, now obsolete, original ipad. An analogous plastic surgery / body mod that can become obsolete over time is obscure, hard to think of, unlikely... maybe a tattoo with the name of a former S.O. Maybe fad piercings.
Why did you choose IOLs over Lasik?
IOLs can also be used in myopia. The implantable lens is placed in front of the natural lens to correct the near-sightedness, like a contact lens but INSIDE the eye. The natural lens is left intact so you don't lost the ability to focus close up (accommodation).
There are also accommodating lens implants, which are pretty new. So a cataract patient can regain their ability to focus close up.
But you get absolution from ad-blocking, and it is only 1-2 bucks a month
(also, curious about people downvoting you... Why are you guys downvoting parent?)