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Question of the Week, week 5

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Well, I think everyone had fun with last week's question, so we're off to another week. This week comes with the help of Mike, who emailed me one question. I've added on a few more like-minded questions to try to spark up a real lively conversation.As always, feel free to comment on the questions themselves, and be prepared to defend your answers.And above all, have fun!1-Can money buy you happiness? or Can money make you happy?2-How much additional income would you need to meaningfully change your life?3-Finally, If your income doubled, how long do you think it would take you to alter your spending habits so that you would have as many financial concerns as you do today?-Brian

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Good question, Brian.I've thought about these issues before -- part of that process that is growing up.1) True happiness comes from within. False or apparent happiness is all you get from money. I know people who are financial challenged but are happy, and I know people rolling in $$ who are the most miserable humans I've ever met. It usually comes down to the count -- counting blessings or counting money. People who seek happiness only through the acquisition of wealth are seldom satisfied. Why? Because it never bought them the inner peace they really need. They spend so must time and effort accumulating wealth that they have few resources left to develop their natural spirituality or their intellect. It' all in balance-- we each have a material side, an intellectual side and a spiritual side (whether we admit it or not!). Keeping those three in balance takes work.2) That being said, I'd say that it would take a doubling of my current salary situation to have much of an effect on my lifestyle. I'm happy with the home I have, I love my V6 Camry with 125K miles and we have enough to enjoy the occasional "enrichment" activity. I would probably get my wife a new car (her mini-van is known around here as the "Hanger Queen") but she doesn't want a new car, so it's a moot point.3) I have a little idea about how a sudden jump in income affects us. Not doubled, but more like 25-30 percent. My wife hadn't worked outside the home until out first child went to college. She took a good part-time job as a medical librarian. At first, the extra money all went to Gonzaga University. Then Daughter decided to quit school, and the extra income was truly extra. It took about two years for us to see that there was extra $$ when we needed to make a major expenditure. When Susan needed to upgrade her computer, we didn't have to consider the impact on the budget. We didn't cry when the refrigerator konked out. Now she has retired and we are seeing that we have to think more carefully about "expenditures beyond the usual." Are we less happy? Not a bit. If anything, it's better because Susan has the time to focus on kids and home and she really likes it.I'd better quit before this turns into a treatise on morals, ethics or who-knows-what!

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1) For me, money = time. What I mean by that is: whenever I've been making extra money, I've tended to sock it away to tide me through future periods when the money won't be there, thereby giving me the freedom to use that time in any way I like. And time, being the most limited and precious commodity there is, can buy me happiness in a way ... specifically, by allowing me to spend that time on some of the relatively unprofitable but satisfying things that I'd prefer to be spending more/most/all of my time on if I could.I can't really answer #2 or #3, because my spending habits and lifestyle don't change very much in that way, as described above. The more money I make, the more time I buy for myself later on. And my income has fluctuated dramatically throughout my adult life, so this isn't an untested assertion ... I've gone from starving musician to independent contractor to corporate executive officer, and back! Throughout there's been relatively little alteration of my spending habits or lifestyle.- David Sandberginfomsig.jpg

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It also depends how people define happiness.Some people will be happy if they have a lot of money and they can buy anything.Some people define happiness ashaving someone to share their life with and having a family and health..money is no matter.Me...I think that money would make me happy. Maybe it's becasue I am only 18 and I am not thinking about having a family andsettling down etc.. Let's say that for example I win the lottery. I would become extremely happy. I guess that for me happiness would be 'doing anything I want and buying anything I want. Maybe as I would get older I would get bored with the money and start thinking about companionship and health.If I won $100 million for example I would not go and buy a house with 30 rooms and limousines nad antiques cars and furniture, houses all over the world, private jet, 20 butlers and servants etc. I would just buy my dream house which is small and very modern/computerized. One normal sports car and the very best computer, a holiday and that's it. The rest I would probably donate to SPCA, charity, invite my friends from South Africa to visit me..oh and I would buy myself a Cessna to fly around when I am bored.If my salary would to double I think that I would start spending more but I would mostly save the money for times that I really want something bad or when I really need it.That's about it from me.Next question.Take careMike

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Hmmmm....1. I think money can make you happy but it cannot buy happiness. Imagine how happy you are when you pay off one more credit card. But that gets old when the rent is due, gas prices go up, cable goes up,...etc. Happiness, as I agree with one post, comes from within. That would be the same with me. You can get a wife and baby for free, it's just the maintenance that kills ya... ;-)2. May be $200k per year. I don't make much but at $200k, I'd start to not worry about things. :-)3. Having paid off a few credit cards and getting close to my last, I'm pretty tight as it is. I don't think I would ever let myself get to a point of financial concern again. Going without ain't so bad... :-)Thaks for the question.

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1) No. Money can "buy" you security. But happiness is a broad concept. No one "thing" can provide happiness.2) Unknown. Depends upon the source of the money. Additional money from work would mean that I am still working (and probably harder). Maybe I have new and better things, but my life would not have changed significantly. OTOH, additional money from a lottery would mean my immediate retirement, which is a meaningful change.3) I would have different financial concerns. Right now, I have all that I need, and most of what I want. Extra money would be invested for the future (especially for education).http://www.thesalters.org/images/Avsim_sig_KS.jpg

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Great questions!1. Hmmmm - though it has been said that money can't buy you happiness, a poll was taken of a number of wealthy persons recently - 100% said they were much happier than when they were "poor". However, I would still disagree with this, as I believe that too many people translate happiness as security or freedom from worry. I agree with the poster that equated happiness with spiritual well-being, as well as being financially secure. The happiest people I ever met were people whom I would equate with being the poorest on earth. Persons I met in the slums of India and the desert shack communities outside of Tijuana, Mexico.They had a spiritual side that was indescribable, almost in diametric opposition to their living conditions and what little hope thay had for a future (as we would measure success).2. I guess I'd say double what we make now, but that would be more of a security thing than a change in our ability to be happy.3. I really can't see that we'd change our lifestyle that much. I would still continue with my vocation and we would continue to live in the same neighborhood (even if we won the lottery).

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Hi Ho... Hi Ho... its off to work we go...... this is were the rubber meets the road so to speak. 1-Can money buy you happiness? or Can money make you happy?All of us have different things in life that make us happy. As some one else has already stated there are plenty of miserable rich people in the world. So that kind of answers the question in itself. I have been at both ends of the spectrum. Not just financially speaking. If you have your health then you are quite wealthy indeed. A nervous breakdown of sorts was what made me wake up and realize that there are many things in life more important than money. Life , Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness were once the core values in the USA. Now its every man for them selves. 2-How much additional income would you need to meaningfully change your life?Keep the extra income. How many can attest to this fact that if you make more you usually just spend more? We are a throw away society. Sure some are wise enough to put some money back for a rainy day or our childrens education. I am not a spend thrift person by no means. Both of my kids are grown and on their own now. I am more content now than I have ever been before. After the events of Sept 11th, 2001 I have made a commitment to myself and those around me. To enjoy each and every day to the fullest extent. Life is just a vapor and poof we are gone.3-Finally, If your income doubled, how long do you think it would take you to alter your spending habits so that you would have as many financial concerns as you do today?Hmmmm If it were to happen and only then. I would have to say that I would do some serious investigation of some real estate. Any and all extra income would be set aside for this purpose. Time permitting I would purchase around 100 acres of timberland. Build a small two or three room cabin. Of course taking into consideration my retirement. I would just like to sit back and watch one beautiful sunset after another. Now if that dont light your fire of happiness then I guess your woods wet. :-jumpy :-jumpy :-jumpyFlyII! ver. 2.30Directx 8.1nVidia drivers 23.11ECS K7S5A SOCKETA /DDR/ AUDIO/ATX MB, DDR 128MB PC-2100 266MHZ MEMORY ,AMD ATHLON T-BIRD 1.2GHZ 256K FSB266 PGA , NVIDIA GEFORCE2 MX-400 64MB 4X-AGP

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>1-Can money buy you happiness? or Can money make you happy? I don't believe so. There is no question that money can add certain pleasures to life that might otherwise be unobtainable but in the context that I believe you mean money cannot buy happiness.>2-How much additional income would you need to meaningfully >change your life? While I enjoy my work, I work to provide financial security for my family. In order to change my life significantly I would need enough money to retire which would allow me to spend the time I now spend working doing other things. I have often thought I would spend some of my "free" time with Habitat for Humanity since I enjoy building things. Since I am roughly 4.04 Jovian years of age (I hope the formula was right!) retirement is a number of years away for me. >3-Finally, If your income doubled, how long do you think it >would take you to alter your spending habits so that you >would have as many financial concerns as you do today? I probably wouldn't alter my spending habits too much. I have most things I need and I would probably apply the increased income toward achieving number 2. That and new computer hardware.

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All I need is enough cash to by a level D B-757 Simulator, And then I will Be happy :)

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Must be my age, but all I could think of is The Beatles: "Can't buy me love. everybody tells me so....."

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>1-Can money buy you happiness? or Can money make you happy?Yes, if I had enough of it :-)What I mean here is that if I had, let's say $3-4 mill. I'd buy myself a yacht and start up a yacht-charter business. (see picture below)>2-How much additional income would you need to meaningfully change your life?If I had the aforementioned yacht, and all the expences was payed (diesel, maintainance, salary for the crew, and so forth) I could do with the same income as I have today and my life would still be meaningfully changed. :-)3-Finally, If your income doubled, how long do you think it would take you to alter your spending habits so that you would have as many financial concerns as you do today?'couple of weeks... :-lol :-lol :-lol(OK then, maybe a little longer.)Roy B. :-waveOslo, Norway

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... I'd go for the B-777 version :-)Roy B. :-waveOslo, Norway

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>> 1-Can money buy you happiness? or Can money make you happy?Money could probably temporarily make me happy, but I certainly don't think money could "buy" me happiness. To the best of my memory, the happiest moments in my life had nothing to do with money.>> 2-How much additional income would you need to meaningfully change your life?Well, simply increasing salary but still having to go to work each day would certainly not meaningfully change my life. About the only thing I could forsee that would change my life is a lump sum of money that I could invest knowing that I could maintain my current standard of living from now through my retirement and have a choice of what I wanted to do when I wake up in the morning. Mind you, I would probably still write code because that is as much my favorite hobby as it is my job, I would just have a choice on where to spend my efforts programming instead of being told what to do.>> 3-Finally, If your income doubled, how long do you think it would take you to alter your spending habits so that you would have as many financial concerns as you do today?If my income simply doubled, I doubt if it would take any more than 1-2 years before I became accustomed to that spending level, and I'd probably still have the day-to-day financial worries that most of us have.Rich

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