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Old 05-04-2012, 08:42 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krotoole

A lot of people were "happy" being leveraged to moon and living in their McMansions...right until they weren't and it turned out the McMansion was a prison trapping them for years-upon-years.
Best description I've seen of "The McMansion Lifestyle".
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:15 AM   #22
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How Much Money Do You Need to be Happy ?

For us, it's simple. Just a dollar more than we currently spend, to live life as we wish (and we live life, well )...
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:25 AM   #23
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Money is an objective thing - we can all agree what $50000 is.

Now happy - that is a a strange concept. I'm not even sure I can tell you what it really means as it tends to come and go for me. Maybe it's like a virtual particle in physics?

P.S. I'm sort of happy writing this at the moment.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:59 AM   #24
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Some good posts and I certainly agree that money doesn't equal happiness. at some point it is more productive to stop trying to get a better income and focus on being happy with the income you have.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:15 PM   #25
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Health and happiness are priceless at any income level
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:21 PM   #26
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Health and happiness are priceless at any income level
Can't disagree with this. I wonder if more wealth can allow for better health? Could spend more on health care, healh club,etc. Or probably more important since you may be happier with more wealth ( debateable I know) you want to enjoy it longer so look after yourself better. I think I fall into this camp.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:26 PM   #27
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I wonder if more wealth can allow for better health?

Sometimes all the money in the world isn't enough - think Steve Jobs (RIP)
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:16 PM   #28
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"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery."

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:22 PM   #29
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I agree 100%.
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Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
No amount of money would make one happy until he/she stops the craving for more and discontentment for which more wealth, status or power is not a cure.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:26 PM   #30
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Health and happiness are priceless at any income level
+1
I used to say: How many VCRs do you need? (it's iPads now)
In ER $50k works for us - we can always take more out of investments after all (WR up to 3.5-4%) .
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:28 AM   #31
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Their hook was you can buy happiness (by spending/giving more money on/to others).
One of my favorite pictures is of DW's niece opening a box last Thanksgiving. She'd been wanting a decent camera for a long time but kept putting it off because they simply couldn't afford it. They have two kids ages 2 and 6 so they really should have one. So we, along with others, bought her an entry-level DSLR with two kit lenses and gave it to her as an "early Christmas present" so she could be up to speed with it by then.

She had no idea this was coming and the look on her face when she realized what was in the box labeled "Nikon" was priceless.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:33 AM   #32
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In today's world, I think these surveys miss the point.

The future stability of one's income & access to healthcare is probably a bigger determinant of happiness than the absolute value of one's income.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:02 AM   #33
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It's all a matter of what lifestyle you need to feel content. The more we convince ourselves that "more stuff" is all we need to be happy, the less happy we're going to be because our life becomes the relentless pursuit of "more stuff" where we're never satisfied with what we have already been blessed with.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:22 AM   #34
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It's all a matter of what lifestyle you need to feel content. The more we convince ourselves that "more stuff" is all we need to be happy, the less happy we're going to be because our life becomes the relentless pursuit of "more stuff" where we're never satisfied with what we have already been blessed with.
Amen. It took me a while to figure it out, sadly some people never do.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:51 AM   #35
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It's easy for me because I live on my own and don't socialize a whole lot, so I don't have obligations (or imagined obligations) to keep that many other people happy.

If you have a spouse, live-in partner and/or kids, then the equation's going to be more complicated and very dependant on to what extent your other half is on the same page as you.

As far I'm concerned, once healthcare is taken care of, all you need is a roof over your head, some good food and a little wine and chocolate, maybe some books and an internet connection. How much more could a person need? The rest is up to your state of mind.

EDIT: I forgot to add a ham radio and a kitty - essential things for happiness :-)
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:29 AM   #36
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Because every geography and stage of life has more costs that others, I would say that a buffer of $20k over everday necessities is what makes me happy. When the buffer goes away, I need to focus on portfolio performance and savings. When it is there, I can afford the occasional new car or trip without extraordinary saving. Otherwise it just goes to build up the portfolio. In this scenario, regular savings plans are part of the baseline expenses.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:01 PM   #37
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Consumption can be like a drug I think. You need ever bigger amounts to equal those early "highs."

Case in point. Via a combination of good habits and great timing, we purchased a "discount condo" that is far nicer than anyplace I thought we could afford. I love our new home; to me it's a palace.

One of the things I've noticed is that having a lovely home has made us "less impressed" by fancy hotel rooms. It used to be if we got a great deal on a nice hotel room we'd feel very pampered. Now, because our home environment is so nice, a fancy hotel room just feels like being at home. We still love to travel, but there is less ooh and aah about the amenities.

This last week we traveled to our alma mater and we stayed at an entry level "motor inn.". We had a great time, but there was that moment when I walked in and my brain involuntarily squeaked out "what a cr*p shack!". I told my brain to chill and we had a great time.

I feel lucky to have a place to live that I love, but I've realized that fanciness comes at a cost. Your eyes and expectations adjust, and it takes a lot to Wow you. I suppose the good thing is that I've realized this and I'm no longer looking to be wowed. Instead I'm appreciating that every day is pretty wow-worthy.

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:30 PM   #38
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I've been very happy with a 'take-home' of $65K. I've been miserable with a 'take-home' of $145K. I find the stress of making more money to be detrimental to about everything; health, relationship, etc. That's why I'm pulling the plug this year and retiring. I have enough to make ends meet and to enjoy the things I find enjoyable. I have the $65K annual with my retirement funding plus some and will get a nice raise in 6 years with SS at 62 kicking in another $2500 a month for me and DW.
Good attitude. I never thought I had a big ego, but I got upset when some of my peers got paid more than me. I felt that my pay was a measure of my relative value and I have to admit that it bothered me when others were paid / valued more than I was.

Once I retired it didn't bother me so much. But while I was working my salary was a way to keep score.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:08 PM   #39
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DW and I have lived in a low COL area on $60K-$80K per year since at least 2004. Now that the mortgage is paid off, the range is closer to $50K-$70K per year. We could probably lower the range slightly and remain satisfied with our quality of life, but we are truly happy in the current range (which by the way is just above the median household income in our area).
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:44 PM   #40
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My family of 4 could live on 50k a year without mortgage/car payments. Our budget is not very much more unless we have emergency expenses. Happiness is when you have fun doing what you do... regardless of cost within reason for me.
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