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When money buys you happiness...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dcc001, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. Dcc001

    Dcc001
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    I think we've all read the article that got passed around a while back saying that, essentially, if you make $75,000 or greater per year then an increase in salary does not increase your life satisfaction.

    This article breaks it down by state, since cost of living varies greatly:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/map-happiness-benchmark_n_5592194.html

    Sorry, I couldn't find a Canadian or European equivalent, but you get the picture.

    Focus: How much money would make you happy? What would be your threshold between, "This pays the bills," vs. "I am not doing that because it will make my life a living hell"?

    Alt Focus; If you didn't have to be concerned about salary - let's say the government paid everybody a living wage automatically - what would you do with your time?
     
  2. Binary

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    Focus: it really varies between areas of the country. What I want is basic living expenses (living modestly) + 20k in savings each year. In many places of the country that'd be achievable with a moderate salary much less than 75k/year (obviously the equation is different with kids).

    20k is about that line where you can make a dent in retirement savings and still save enough for a good vacation.

    Alt-focus: I quit my job last year to spend a year traveling. That's what I'd do.

    I don't travel lavishly - 2 of us are traveling for a year on what would be a pretty marginal year's income - I just want to see new things. Cheap guesthouses and making my own food is fine. Just let me go places. See new things.
     
  3. Puffman

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    1.2 million a year after taxes. Do not judge me. I want to travel, I do not want to be uncomfortable.
     
  4. Juice

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    Well its not that an increase in salary doesnt make you happier, its that there is diminishing returns as you make more. A jump from 50K to 75K might make you pretty happy. A jump from 75K to 100K will make you happy but a bit less. A jump from 100K to 125K will feel less. A jump from 500K to 600K probably wont move the needle much if at all.

    Personally, Im greedy as hell and I always want more. I tie my income to my sense of worth, as petty as that is. It doesnt make me happy because Im fairly minimalist anyway, but I think I like the power and authority that naturally comes with it.

    If I had to give a number, I would probably say $500K a year would be where I feel good about it.
     
  5. Jimmy James

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    Focus: The location I want to live in, with the type of house I want to buy, that allows my wife to stay home with my kid, allows us to save for a yearly vacation, college, and retirement would be around $100,000 a year. If we had another kid, I'd want $125,000. These numbers are only going to go up the more the housing market goes up here. It's also a reminder of how big the gap is between what I actually make and what I want. Shit.

    Alt Focus:
    Self-improvement. I'm spending roughly 50-55 hours a week, including the commute, to work and I'm not including when there's a fire that requires me to work off hours. With 10-12 hours a day, I can finally get in shape, learn more about stuff that interests me, and be a better husband and dad than I am now.
     
  6. JWags

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    These lists always amuse me, cause even with the caveats, there are so many shades of grey. For example, I made around that threshold for awhile in Chicago as a single male, and I lived in a nice apartment, but not a crazy one, and not including my student loans, I wasn't somewhere where another $25K or something wouldn't have been great. People often are black and white with getting enough to get by and be "comfortable" and mega-billionaire rich. I wouldn't want the latter due to a million factors like security and such. But I knew multiple families growing up and through my family that were in the $5-10MM range for worth and it was great. They didn't have to worry about much of anything money wise, weren't loaded enough that their kids wouldn't have to work and therefore became shitheads, but otherwise lived well.

    FOCUS: I had the discussion with my old manager before I left my previous job, but currently, with my lifestyle as a single male, around $200-$250K would be great. Could travel plenty, upgrade to a bit nicer place, save a ton, and not have to worry about things like random shopping or bar tabs. Like Juice, I'm hungry for more so I'm gonna be ambitious with stuff, considering I also own a chunk of the family business I now work for, and those numbers will escalate with a wife and/or kids.

    ALT-FOCUS: Travel for sure. Ive been to 9 countries since March for work/vacation and its just made me realize how many more there are that I would like to see, not to mention revisit. Id also like to deep dive into a hobby, such as construction of and maintaining a BIG (like 500 gallon) reef tank as well as taking music production classes and building an in home studio. Both things I could potentially get into when I dont have quite as active of a social life, but in the mentioned scenario, it would be much easier.
     
  7. GTE

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    Focus: I can sum my "Wants" up with one TV show: Ballers. Living on the coast in some mega mansion with every supercar available? Yep, that'll work. Shit, I could spend tens of millions just on cars. Supercars, ultra luxury cars and high level hotrods aren't cheap.
    When my wife and I first started dating we made about $80k combined. Enough to get by on in California, but far from not having to worry about money. This year we'll make enough to be considered "Upper Middle Class" so while we're not out looking at the new 7 Series, we also don't really have to think about our spending and I can tell you life is MUCH easier now than it was 5 years ago.

    Alt Focus: I'd host huge parties. My wife and I love doing stuff with groups (giggity) and we like to have our friends and family be there without having to stress how much it's going to cost them.

    I am 100% sure that if I ever won a BIG lottery ($200,000,000+) I could be that jackass broke in five years if I wasn't careful.
     
  8. Aetius

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    I think the gaps between happiness "levels" just get bigger. The gap between "can't afford food" and "can afford food" is relatively tiny. $75K is probably the level where most of the easy gaps have been cleared (can afford decent housing, have some savings, etc). I would guess there's a huge uptick in happiness again at the "financially independent in perpetuity" level.
     
  9. Frebis

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    I'm a simple man. All I need is my solid gold house. [​IMG]

    I make more than the median and I'm pretty happy. I don't like my job, but it does pay for an amazing house and a great life when I'm not at work. That's really all I need.

    But seriously I would love to be so rich that I could do what I wanted all day every day (golf in the summer, ski in the winter) and never have to drive a car or fly commercial again. Its what drives me to try harder at work.
     
  10. ODEN

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    FOCUS

    Money is a funny subject for me. I would say that I was more content when I was single making at or just above the money that coincided with the color-coded map; I had no real problems. My world changed once I got married and it really changed when I started having kids. It's been said already in this thread that returns start to diminish the further up the income scale you go. Your concerns morph from needs to wants that become perceived as needs but don't really make you that much happier than you already are when you attain them. It's really just something else to keep you motivated or why else do you keep going? Nowadays I am concerned with funding retirement accounts, college funds, killing the mortgage and whether I have enough or too much insurance.....things that I really shouldn't worry about and just be happy but that isn't the way the world works, is it?

    The one thing I would really want isn't really more money. It would be to make what I make today but to be able to do it from home and not some remote corner of the planet. Alternately, I would take 2 or 3 years of an extra $300k per year, that would fully fund me for income producing assets that I would need to retire.

    ALT FOCUS

    I want to say I would travel but the reality is I'm tired of travel. I want to find a nice place to relax for a little while away from home and then go back to work for myself back at home; I'm thinking somewhere on the Med where I could still paddle board, easily catch some rugby matches, learn a new language, maybe rehab my back from my car accident properly, get back in to Crossfit and just enjoy a different pace to life.
     
  11. shimmered

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    Eh. If we hit 125-150k a year would pay every bill we have, give us significant savings, and let us travel and afford the things we like. Over 150 and it's even better. Not because of the commas or zeros associated with our bank account but because it would give us immense breathing room.
     
  12. TX.

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    $300,000 after taxes. I want to travel multiple times a year, I like nice things, and I'm a big saver.

    Alt: Travel, work out, decorate (don't judge me), send my parents on vacation.
     
  13. Revengeofthenerds

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    Focus: $500k/yr.

    Until I can buy a boat and go hunting and fishing wherever and whenever I want, I'll never truly be happy.


    Alt. Focus: If the government paid me that, I'd be a fishing guide on the Gulf coast in my free time and live a bit inland on a farm/ranch. A lot of animals, mainly subsistence living. But subsistence living while enjoying all the tastiness that nature has to offer.
     
  14. TJMax

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    I'm not so sure that having "fuck you" money doesn't increase life satisfaction, compared to $75K/year. I do however know that people who claim that $300K+/year, even in the highest cost of living areas, is "barely middle class" are just plain bad with money.

    Focus: No income is worth being miserable over. It may well be worth working triple-digit hours a week, but only if I were doing something that I enjoyed. My income at 40 hours a week, while modest by 2016 standards, is giving me the same standard of living it would have twenty years ago, given the low cost of living in Vegas and having bought a house after the market crashed. As for how much would make me happy, I could always find uses for more money. The sky's the limit for what I'd like, but at the same time I'm content with what I have.

    Alt-focus: If I were swimming in "fuck you" money, I'd travel a lot and spend time with family. Mostly I'd just sit on my ass, and bang $5K/hour call girls. Or, and re-reading it I think this is really the alt-focus, if I didn't have to work for my current income, pretty much the same activities as being rich, minus the $5K/hour call girls.
     
  15. JWags

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    I don't know who claim its barely middle class, but when the average house price in an area is over $1MM, its not gonna stretch you far. My good friend and her husband live in SF, and they have a combined income of well over $200K and they aren't exactly living large. They have a modest apartment. If they had kids, it wouldn't be easy. They could move, but still.

    Hell, I have friends in nicer areas of Milwaukee who tell me $100K a year is more money than they could ever spend. Its all perspective.
     
  16. Juice

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    Its really the San Francisco Bay Area and NYC where thats not a lot of money, maybe Washington DC. Even in LA, Boston, Chicago, Miami, etc. 300K will let you live comfortably in those cities. Youre not going to be a big swinging dick in Malibu or Chicago's Lake Shore East, but you are far from impoverished. House prices in Boston have exploded in the last 3 years. I cant get a decent house inside of the I-95 loop for less than $1MM, and even if I wanted to afford it, its completely absurd for what you get. Inside the city itself? Forget it. Brownstones start at $5MM now.
     
  17. Misanthropic

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    I'd be happy with my current salary, about 125K. If I could be guaranteed that for the next 15-20 years, I'd gladly forego any annual pay increases.

    The Mrsanthropic recently left her job, effectively cutting our household income in half. We had been saving like crazy and paying extra on the mortgage, so really all her loss in income will mean we will save less and tone down the extra payment on the mortgage, at least until she is once again gainfully employed.

    Alt focus: If the government paid my salary? For awhile I'd look around for odd or interesting jobs with no consideration for the amount of salary. Corn dog fryer at the carnival, apprentice in a machine shop, working in a pet store, animal control for a local town - whatever, just something to keep me busy and amuse me. When I wasn't working, or got tired of it, I'd spend way more time hiking, fishing , traveling and playing golf.
     
  18. Superfantastic

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    If I were to stay single, netting 75 grand per year would be amazing -- I would finish my musical basement and take many more trips. If I married and had kids, I would only need a bit bigger house (would stay where I'm at for at least the first kid). Assuming my hypothetical wife had some sort of income, life would be set.

    If the government paid my salary, I would read, write and travel more, much the same as if I won a crazy 100 million dollar lottery, to a lesser degree.

    If I won said lottery, I wouldn't move from my current place until my 40s (seven years away). In the summer, I would travel overseas, ending with some time in the Canadian Rockies, which I do already. In the winter, I would road trip travel North America, roughly following my favourite sports teams, bands and music fests, and flying out any of my friends who wanted to join.

    Each summer that ended in the Rockies, I would scope out areas that could be bought and transformed into an acreage/compound, on which my friends could build their own cool houses. Then the real fun would start: I'd have dedicated summer projects that I would casually do with whoever could come help. One would be a dual mountain bike and paintball course. Also a nine hole golf course (multiple summers for that one). We've also talked about various zip lines and at least one waterslide. Eventually there would be motorhome alley. A central party house with a wide open deck for indoor or outdoor jams. Some goats. Would also look into hiring high end escorts and/or porn stars to serve drinks and make out with each other during an epic yearly party, but that probably goes without saying.
     
  19. Roxanne

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    I would like to make enough money to get away with murder. Maybe be able to wear fur to a PETA rally and have them all arrested for breathing on me wrong. Whatever I need to be the rich people in The Hunger Games, really. It's the only way I envision myself being truly happy.
     
  20. Juice

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    The fuck, woman?