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-   -   How Much Money Do You Need to be Happy ? (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/how-much-money-do-you-need-to-be-happy-61236.html)

MasterBlaster 05-03-2012 03:16 PM

How Much Money Do You Need to be Happy ?
 
Evidently, it doesn't take all that much to live La Dolce Vita.

What Am I doing striving to hit a higher number ?


How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy? - Yahoo! News


Quote:

The research found that an annual salary of $50,000 represented a significant tipping point in determining happiness and personal satisfaction.

Live And Learn 05-03-2012 03:31 PM

I've estimated health care costs at $20k / year. Home ownership expenses come to an additional $16k (but that includes cable, internet and phone for 2k/yr) . Food is another $5k. At a 50k salary lets say we have 5k in taxes. Leaves 4k for "everything else". I don't see that as enough for me to be "happy". I'd be out of my mind with worry without my 3k/year "future one time expense" budget and my 2k/year "misc purchases" plan.

MichaelB 05-03-2012 03:40 PM

The fact that I can be happy will some does not mean at all I can't be happier with more...

MasterBlaster 05-03-2012 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelB (Post 1191341)
The fact that I can be happy will some does not mean at all I can't be happier with more...

What you say is consistant with the research. However the research suggests that your marginal happiness will be only marginally higher.

If it's then true that more makes you (marginally) happier, then by striving for more you just may make yourself less happy by continuing to work.

The paradox of more !

Live And Learn 05-03-2012 04:10 PM

I only THOUGHT I was happy when I made 50k a year --- then reality struck and I realize now that I was just naive (or put another way, I was obilivious the risks of potential financial ruin that I am all too keenly aware of now)

aaronc879 05-03-2012 04:26 PM

If I had guaranteed income for live of $25K/yr after-tax(cola'd) and didn't have to work to get it, i'd be happy. If I had to work, i'd need 2x as much to be equally happy. Actually, i'd prefer the $25K/yr if it meant not needing to work.

Spanky 05-03-2012 04:29 PM

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.

scrabbler1 05-03-2012 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaronc879 (Post 1191352)
If I had guaranteed income for live of $25K/yr after-tax(cola'd) and didn't have to work to get it, i'd be happy. If I had to work, i'd need 2x as much to be equally happy. Actually, i'd prefer the $25K/yr if it meant not needing to work.

This is pretty much my feeling, too. Once I realized I could generate $25k-$30k a year in investment income (monthly and quarterly dividends only, not irregular cap gain distributions) without a whole lot of risk, I could stop working and be happy. That happened in late 2008. Now, I'm set. :)

BLS53 05-03-2012 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaronc879 (Post 1191352)
If I had guaranteed income for live of $25K/yr after-tax(cola'd) and didn't have to work to get it, i'd be happy. If I had to work, i'd need 2x as much to be equally happy. Actually, i'd prefer the $25K/yr if it meant not needing to work.

Ever consider a military career? A 20 year pension, even at a modest enlisted grade is equal to around $25K, and it's COLA'd. You seem like a bright guy, and you could get into a specialty that has a reasonable chance of keeping you out of harms way. It would beat the rigors and the ups and downs of factory work.

Better act soon though, 33 is pushing the age limit, and there's talk of changing the retirement plan.

skipro3 05-03-2012 06:27 PM

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.

W2R 05-03-2012 06:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spanky (Post 1191354)
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.

+1 Nice observation. Some people just can't get enough money to stop that craving and discontentment.

Midpack 05-03-2012 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spanky (Post 1191354)
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.

+2. We spend quite a bit less now than we did a decade ago, and if anything we're probably happier. When I got my first job making $15.6K/yr I was ecstatic, wondered how I would spend it all.

No idea what the $ number is (though I've read $50K/yr before as well) but once you have enough to take care of basic needs, the excess provides marginal benefit. Unhappy wealthy people are everywhere, just check out any TV, magazine or other tabloid.

BLS53 05-03-2012 06:42 PM

The caveat is the home ownership and the health care. Eliminate those two factors, and costs are drastically reduced. Some folks despise the w*rkplace to the point that they'll rent a small apartment and roll the dice on medical expenses.

aaronc879 05-03-2012 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BLS53 (Post 1191369)
Ever consider a military career? A 20 year pension, even at a modest enlisted grade is equal to around $25K, and it's COLA'd. You seem like a bright guy, and you could get into a specialty that has a reasonable chance of keeping you out of harms way. It would beat the rigors and the ups and downs of factory work.

Better act soon though, 33 is pushing the age limit, and there's talk of changing the retirement plan.

I wouldn't consider it at my age. I don't have the physical build even to get thru basic training. I'm 6'6 1/2" and weigh 159lbs.

Major Tom 05-03-2012 07:20 PM

I'm pretty happy most of the time - not ecstatically so, but I have a general level of contentment that suits me just fine. I've always been this way. I'm creative and think I could maintain this level of contentment down to an income of around $10-12K. Living on that income would be a challenge, and challenges make me feel alive - and happy :)

I was a bit happier when I was working and felt as if I was going somewhere with my life. My current level of overall contentment will ramp back up to a more exuberant type of happy when I develop and follow a new major goal (fulltime Rv'ing perhaps?)

It doesn't take much IMO.

traineeinvestor 05-03-2012 07:35 PM

IIRC some of the studies concluded that people feel happier about their wealth when they have more than their neighbours/relatives/peers etc.

For my part, I became a lot happier when (i) I realised that I craved freedom from the rat race more than "more" and (ii) I concluded that the finishing post was in sight (end 2012 or early 2013).

MasterBlaster 05-03-2012 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by traineeinvestor (Post 1191382)
IIRC some of the studies concluded that people feel happier about their wealth when they have more than their neighbours/relatives/peers etc.

Well I don't know about the studies but I can tell you that I personally would really enjoy a lifetime of gloating over the in-laws.

I could them tell them frequently how they are doing everything wrong and how screwed up their life is.

Nodak 05-03-2012 09:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spanky (Post 1191354)
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.

+3

Closet_Gamer 05-04-2012 07:46 AM

Happy doesn't preclude clueless
 
I can see a lot of people being happy in the moment consuming 100% of a $50k income...but being clueless that they're setting themselves up for a long run of unhappiness when that $50k income stops and they're suddenly broke/stressed.

It's yet another variant of The "only thing that matters is my income because that determines what I can consume right now" cultural pre-disposition.

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.

I've found my happiest moments are when I have balance: living, saving, working, raising the kids, exercising and donating. Let any one get away from you for too long and it will get uncomfortable quick.

Midpack 05-04-2012 08:33 AM

Quote:

IIRC some of the studies concluded that people feel happier about their wealth when they have more than their neighbours/relatives/peers etc.
I've read it too and I am sure a lot of people live their lives on that basis, but it's very sad. As if happiness is a competition with others, and there have to be 'losers' for some people to be "happy." If you believe it, I guess you'd never stop working to make sure you accumulate more wealth than all others to be "happy."

OTOH, I was just watching a piece on TED that suggested the more people spend on others (and less on themselves) the happier they are and vice versa. Their hook was you can buy happiness (by spending/giving more money on/to others).


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