I told him that what money brings in is highly non-linear.
When you start in life, every euro counts. It is the "to cinema or not cinema" (or whatever you like). It also mean substantial changes in housing.
Then comes a moment you are on a plateau (my case today). I own a house (payed off), a car, have a family, and earn enough to be secure. I know that I will be able to afford two extra rents when my children leave for university. That I can travel the world if I want to without any big hit on my budget, etc. In short : a comfortable life.
It would take a significant amount of money (raise) to move up in my chart (first class travel everywhere, or a jet, or a yacht or several apartments worldwide).
So money cannot buy me much more than I have today - the recent great, great improvement was to have someone come and clean the house twice a week.
Since I am rather frugal, my own definition of "comfortably rich" is to be able to go to any normal store and not check the prices of what I am buying , especially to compare two products and decide on the cheaper one.
EDIT: I was once offered the possibility to, as I put it, move up in my chart. A golden opportunity with a fantastic salary in what looks like a nice company. I did not take it because it would have meant more business travel, wearing a suit all the time, etc. My family and comfort is more important. But this is only because I am today at this plateau which is enough for me. I would have taken it if that meant moving from "struggling" to "stable".
Incidentally, this kind of thing is why I'm definitely not in the "job hop every year or two" camp.
First: shoes, jacket, headphones.
Then: bed, computer, stereo.
Then: floor, kitchen, bathroom.
Then: tools, truck, yard, garden, grill.
Last: a good view and plenty of time to enjoy it.
Always remember above all else good health and good friends are worth pursuing.
Regarding material possessions, simply follow the rule of use. The more you use an item, the higher its quality should be. Computers and its peripherals, bed and bedding, shoes, glasses, audio equipment, e-reader...
- Access to experts: anything from doctors to lawyers or accountants to a bike mechanic or plumber. When you're faced with a hard problem, it's really comforting to know that you can get expert help rather than having to meddle through yourself.
- Time: Could be hiring a cleaning lady, so you don't have to spend time on your weekend cleaning your house. Or daycare for the kids, so you can get a break from watching the kids and do grown-up things for a while. Or just taking an extended unpaid vacation to unwind for a bit.
Bicycle - which bike is going to make my daily commute the most enjoyable? Weight, reliability etc.
Clothes - when I'm on my bike and it starts raining what rain jacket gives me the no movement resistance while keeping me dry?
Skills - what books, websites, subscriptions can I get to learn new skills the most efficient way
There's a bunch more. Each of these categories are a problem I have, an experience I want to maximise or a direction I want to take myself.
You'll notice that the people that have the best quality of life are the people who understand their needs. Money to them is just a tool to meet their needs.
I tried a new bike a few times on my commute and yes, it may have been better but not that significantly. The 15 km are mostly flat, save for a step part of a few hundred meters, and 1/3 of the path is in a forest (the other is on well separated bike paths).
I was wondering if a super bike is actually and objectively worth the investment (I know that some peine just live nice bikes and that's great, I am more thinking about the case of someone who sees them as a pure commodity)
It depends on what you're doing. I spend most of my day sitting in front of a computer: around 9 hours with some small breaks. Another good portion of my time goes to sleeping, so a great bed, pillow, chair and desk are a must. If you make compromises with any of them - you'll have neck/back pain.
Food is another thing to spend some money on: especially fresh fruits and vegetables. If you're a caffeine junkie like me - a good coffee will make a huge difference.
Another thing to consider is a suitable sport. It doesn't have to be a gym (I find gym borring), it can be any sport you find satisfying. I put it in the list because some sports can get really expensive but might or might not be worth it, it depends on you.
I'll just sketch some non-health related life improvers: trips, bike riding, hiking, music lessons, volunteering - anything that takes you out of your routine and makes you happy.
disclaimer: I have the first, I want the second ;-)
The Mirra was fine, nothing special.
The Aaron was horrible. Yes, I had it fit for the right size.
The Steelcase Leap and Embody are both top tier. You can almost argue the Leap is superior since you can get it in leather, making it easy to keep clean and free of stains and you can get it with a headrest.
They also make a Leap Lounge and it's sublime. I wouldn't mind the Herman Miller lounger though.
Either way, you can't go wrong. You have to find out what fits you best. Many rave and swear by the Aeron, but for me it was terrible and uncomfortable. The Embody and Steelcase Leap are sublime to me though.
- a comfortable bed and a high quality bedding,
- a computer screen, mouse and keyboard,
- regular cleaning service in my home,
expensive, but greatly improving my life quality:
- my family,
- a comfortable and well designed house.
* Stopped spending money on public transport. Now I just ride my bike everywhere. positive financial ROI within a few months (even including the occasional expensive bike repair) + benefits to mental and physical health.
* Stopped spending money buying books, now I just borrow and read books from public libraries. It's free.
* I only eat out about 10% as often as a few years ago. Just need to spend a bit of time on weekends for meal prep and being a bit more organised.
With a longer-term time horizon, if you have surplus money, you can choose to spend some of it on investments that will give you a source of income decoupled from the time you need to spend at work. That doesn't do anything for your quality of life in the short term (if anything it will make it worse if you are working to save now for the future) but that's traded off against expected improvements in quality of life in the future (e.g. you can retire or switch to doing contract work for half the year and whatever you like for the rest).
How expensive is public transit in your area? And do you bike when the weather is bad (i.e. precipitation or glaze)?
Food, sex, alcohol, etc... all that stuff can be the greatest high for a very short amount of time, and then I tend to experience some sort of depression after. Overall, with those things the net balance is pretty even and it's not worth the headache. Though fighting those impulses is not easy.
The things that last beyond the moment take both money and effort, usually. Creative projects, improving relationships, education.
Sometimes there's a bit of crossover. I'm planning to do a creative film+vr project so I am investing in some gear and new toys... within that I'm playing some stuff and having a bit of fun though I know it will pale in comparison to the happiness that comes from creating something.
I agree with some of the other answers here vis-a-vis tools and utilities (headphones, grill, etc.)... not for exactly the same reason, e.g. a grill might just be for cooking food (let's ignore the community-party aspect of it), but those things keep bringing back returns so it's like an investment in many short-lived moments which is worthwhile too.
Though that speaks more to the concern over the quality of what I get, or whether I should own or rent something. In practice, as a young, single, physically active engineer who lives in the Bay area, (aside from clothes, food, shelter, and transportation,) I get my 80% value out of the following:
Running shoes, a bike, a good backpack, a gym membership, Spotify premium, a good computer or two, a good smartphone, and the more than occasional airline reservation.
I also think spending money to live in a comfortable apartment or home close to work is extremely important. I used to commute from SF to SV one hour each way. Now I live 10 min from work and my quality of life has significantly improved.
Once upon a time, I tried to be a rock star, and that didn't work out, so I pursued a career in a secondary passion... IT. That pretty much worked out, and I'm now comfortable.
Music remains my primary passion, though. I'm not particularly good at it, but I find the acts of creating arrangements, writing lyrics, and engineering mixes therapeutic and quite satisfying.
So although I remain pretty frugal with it (it is just a hobby at this point, after all), the occasional piece of "gear": a new audio interface, midi controller, VST, instrument, sample bank, etc... is rewarding and helps to keep me sane and happy.
- A good manual coffee machine.
- A kokomo barbecue.
- A decent German car for commuting.
Did you factor in the increased healthcare costs from your smoking? These frequently outweigh any money recovered from tobacco taxes.
Sometimes I'll miss the way things are back home. Other times I'll wish that we'd adopt some of their values, but either way, it opens up the conversation about these ideas and how things can be approached differently.
- Good wireless speakers (Sonos) and a Spotify subscription
- Audio books (Audible)
- Golf. Not only is it good exercise, gets me outside away from a computer, and fun but also has some tangible business benefits (at least in the US, not sure about elsewhere)
Sometimes my life is just a cycle of those 3 things :)
I'm happy to save on accommodation and food costs if it means more money to spend on experiences and time with people where I'm traveling.
I love cooking, am good at it, and I think I have quite a refined taste, but what tastes good isn't often the most healthy option.
I fully agree that life should be enjoyable, but I'm not sure that every aspect has to.
I like your truck analogy. Isn't the purpose of the truck, or rather what it does best, driving at its full capacity? That's why you only pump it full of gas, and not tequila or cream.
I'm currently in worse shape than I was a few years ago, while eating more "fun". But in all honesty I got much more enjoyment out of being more fit, less tired, stronger, clearer head, and frankly looking in the mirror too.
I'll take any of that enjoyment over fleeting meals. If I could have both, great, but if not, self restraint and delayed gratification is a reward in itself.
Disclaimer: This isn't specifically about Soylent, which I have yet to try, but about the concept of eating less exciting but healthy foods.
- Meditation training
- Head phones