Money is the Source of all Happiness.
I write this on a plane from Seoul to Los Angeles, ending a long, but extremely rewarding 4-year career as an English teacher in Korea, so this post is kind of reflecting on that.
After serving my third consecutive year and making around 100k (post taxes/bills), I have come to an inescapable truth” Money buys happiness, but not for the reason you might think. Consider this: If you could do anything in the world, and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do? If you have made wise decisions, it is my hope that your career fits into that equation. In all likelihood though, you might have hobbies you wish you had more time for, people you wish you could see more often, places you wish you could visit (for those of us who love traveling), and of course, people you wish you could help.
Don’t brush away that last one. How many times have you seen a natural disaster, or even had a friend in a jam, and it killed you knowing that if only you had more money, you could make a huge difference?
Let’s talk about jobs
We live 24 hours a day and sleep 1/3 of that. If you hate what you do 50% of your awake time, I think it might be time for a change. We are always told not to live beyond our means, but I now feel that advice is a huge mistake. Living at our means gives us no room to consider other lower paying jobs for fear that our standard of living will diminish. We buy gadgets, get subscriptions to Netflix/magazines, and move into larger homes thinking this will bring us happiness, but humans aren’t programmed that way. Humanity is designed to better itself with time, so we become accustomed to these luxuries and need even more money for more luxuries which usually equates to working longer. If you live at your means, you will be stuck in a job you hate forever.
How does Happiness tie in?
I define happiness as doing something enjoyable, and would even measure it in the unit, the “happiness-hour.” Every year, I am striving for an ultimate goal of increasing my ‘happiness-hours’ as much as possible. Whether we like our job or not, no one ever says “oh God I hate that it’s Friday!” and for good reason. We enjoy our free time because that is when we could do whatever we want. Free time is a luxury, and not one that everyone has. If you are a person working a job you hate and increase your hours to make more money, make sure that money is going to an ultimate goal of NOT working a job you hate. In other words, don’t decrease your ‘happiness-hours’ in the long run.
What we should do, is live below our means, and be proud of it.
To further clarify the title, money buys happiness because money buys you time. Having the time to do the things you love is extremely valuable and gets more expensive the older you get.
WTF is up with this post
Yeah, this isn’t my usual type of post, but I wanted to start a ‘Travel-Economics’ section of this blog with this as the first post explaining my philosophy behind it all. I think many people feel trapped economically which prevents them from traveling more. It is my hope that if I share my own financial tips, experiences, and methods, readers can find use of it to improve their own economic situation and go to those places they have always wanted.