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Money 'only makes you happy if you have more than neighbours'
Old 03-24-2010, 04:08 AM   #1
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Money 'only makes you happy if you have more than neighbours'

Money 'only makes you happy if you have more than neighbours'. I came across this, it seems to be my problem now but with different flavor. I don't care about other peoples opinion on my living standard, clothes, car, house etc. But I realized after getting laid off and unsuccessfully still looking for a j*b that I used to indulge in this in a different way -- I had a better j*b compared to most of my friends and family. I missed the whole real estate boat in country of my birth, now everytime I hear that some one bought RE for X in 2003 and now its 5-6X, I curse myself why I did not buy even I had the money. It's difficult for me to get over these feelings but I am trying, luckily I am at basic level of FI.
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:56 AM   #2
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I think people who paid X in 2003 and are now crowing that their house is worth 5-6X are in fantasy land. Time to get an assessment - more likely 5/6 X. You should be happy you didn't get in at the top.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:23 AM   #3
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That quote should be "Money only makes you happy if you have more than your brother-in-law".

You can be happy all your life and have endless gloating sessions should this be true. You can give out much sdvice on how they should go about their affairs. Very highly recommended.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:25 AM   #4
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I thinks the article states the obvious. One can only be "wealthy" if others are not. We are competetive animals and feel the instinct- jealousy, when we aren't the lead dog. These instincts are highly dependant upon current time, place, and relations. It would be great if I could compare myself to people in the past, or those in another country, who had/have less than me.

The key to happiness in this instance is not in distraction or suppressing the feelings, but understanding their roots.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:28 AM   #5
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I think people who paid X in 2003 and are now crowing that their house is worth 5-6X are in fantasy land.
Chances are that the appraisers who calculate property tax are, too....
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:11 AM   #6
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Money 'only makes you happy if you have more than neighbours'. I came across this, it seems to be my problem now but with different flavor. I don't care about other peoples opinion on my living standard, clothes, car, house etc. But I realized after getting laid off and unsuccessfully still looking for a j*b that I used to indulge in this in a different way -- I had a better j*b compared to most of my friends and family. I missed the whole real estate boat in country of my birth, now everytime I hear that some one bought RE for X in 2003 and now its 5-6X, I curse myself why I did not buy even I had the money. It's difficult for me to get over these feelings but I am trying, luckily I am at basic level of FI.
landover, if it makes you feel any better I bought my house in 2002 and I would be utterly thrilled if I could sell it and come out of closing with an amount equal to the purchase price much less 5-6X the purchase price. These people just do not have a realistic idea of what their property is worth, or else their location has quite unique real estate valuations.

Being laid off and being unsuccessful in your job search is an awful experience, though. In my opinion there is nothing worse than applying for job after job, and being turned down each time.

Probably I do not have more money than my friends and neighbors, but I do feel that I make more of what I have than they do.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:15 AM   #7
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These people just do not have a realistic idea of what their property is worth, or else their location has quite unique real estate valuations.
Where is Honobob when you really need him...
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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Landover, your public profile says you live in Texas - - in addition to the chiggers, scorpions, snakes, and fire ants, property values just aren't skyrocketing like that in most parts of Texas. I would be skeptical of your neighbors' claims that their Texas property has risen by 5X in the past 7 years.

For example I looked online at homes in my former neighborhood in College Station, and they have gone up approximately 1.5X in the past 20 years. That's not all that great.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:54 AM   #9
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Landover, your public profile says you live in Texas - - in addition to the chiggers, scorpions, snakes, and fire ants, property values just aren't skyrocketing like that in most parts of Texas.
As per my previous post, don't tell that to the taxing authorities which seem to think our homes are worth 10% more every year -- which, coincidentally, is the most allowed by state law...
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:58 AM   #10
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Chances are that the appraisers who calculate property tax are, too....
With all the corruption, property taxes are much lower since there are two values, one is official, other is in black market which can be much higher.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:59 AM   #11
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As per my previous post, don't tell that to the taxing authorities which seem to think our homes are worth 10% more every year -- which, coincidentally, is the most allowed by state law...
Thank goodness my assessor here in Louisiana is being more reasonable. He is required by state law to re-assess at least once every four years. Still, my house is now assessed at only its purchase price from 2002.

For 2006-2007 (after Katrina) the assessment was only about 60% of that amount despite the fact that my house didn't flood. Assesments were done by neighborhood after examination of satellite photographs. Since many houses in my neighborhood were damaged, the whole neighborhood got an assessment break for a couple of years.
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:55 PM   #12
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now everytime I hear that some one bought RE for X in 2003 and now its 5-6X
Sometimes people are naughty and don't tell the truth.
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:59 PM   #13
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Sometimes people are naughty and don't tell the truth.
and sometimes they are just naughty...
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:45 PM   #14
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Money 'only makes you happy if you have more than neighbours'. I came across this, it seems to be my problem now but with different flavor. I don't care about other peoples opinion on my living standard, clothes, car, house etc. But I realized after getting laid off and unsuccessfully still looking for a j*b that I used to indulge in this in a different way -- I had a better j*b compared to most of my friends and family. I missed the whole real estate boat in country of my birth, now everytime I hear that some one bought RE for X in 2003 and now its 5-6X, I curse myself why I did not buy even I had the money. It's difficult for me to get over these feelings but I am trying, luckily I am at basic level of FI.
Reading your post, it seems to me like, for years, you did better than your kin career-wise and I get the feeling that it made you feel happy and proud. But now that you have lost your job, you may be feeling like your friends are getting ahead and you are more sensitive to their (probably overblown) successes. Once you get another job, I bet that those feelings will go away. You are just going through a rough patch.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:41 PM   #15
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If you're going to beat yourself up over missed investments, why bother with real estate? Go straight to AAPL. Or some number on the roulette wheel that happened to come up on a day that you should have been in Vegas.

You can't play that game, or it will drive you mad.

I've seen studies before that conclude that satisfaction from $$ is dependent on your net worth relative to your peers. It's never really rung true for me. For me, satisfaction from $$ depends on the income my investments generate relative to my expenses.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:44 PM   #16
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I've seen studies before that conclude that satisfaction from $$ is dependent on your net worth relative to your peers. It's never really rung true for me. For me, satisfaction from $$ depends on the income my investments generate relative to my expenses.
Speaking only for myself, but I found a great deal of inner peace and contentment when I stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses and started letting them "win." I suspect they'll be w*rking to pay off all their stuff long after I've retired.

There's something strangely liberating about the discovery that you can be happy with less stuff -- especially when you realize the true "cost" of all that stuff in terms of its demands on your time and your life.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:10 PM   #17
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I have no interest in knowing what my neighbors or relatives are worth or how much income they have. No doubt, if they observe me tooling around in my 1995 Camry, they probably think that I am close to folding the tent and heading for the community food bank. They would be wrong of course, but I like to keep um guessing.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:17 PM   #18
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the true "cost" of all that stuff in terms of its demands on your time and your life
Amen.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:21 PM   #19
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I have no interest in knowing what my neighbors or relatives are worth or how much income they have. No doubt, if they observe me tooling around in my 1995 Camry, they probably think that I am close to folding the tent and heading for the community food bank. They would be wrong of course, but I like to keep um guessing.
Funny how that works. Most of my life I always thought it was cool to have the newest car and toys on the block. Now that I woke up and could care less about stuff I get a kick out of driving my 1998 taurus around. Actually today I brought my taurus into my mechanic as I needed a heater core and the bill was to be $700 +. I told the mechanic to just disconnect the heater core and re route the heater hose back into the engine block. Hey I live in Florida, hopefully it will stay warm and I won't need heat. As mickeyd said, I like to keep them guessing. Being cheap is cool, no?
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:29 PM   #20
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At my age, I would hope that I have learned that keeping up with the Joneses does not bring happiness. I don't know what my neighbors, friends or relatives have in terms of financial resources. All I know is that no one has anything that belongs to me. My main focus right now is to try to maximize the return on my own funds so as to secure a comfortable retirement come what may.
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