A new study suggests that money actually does buy happiness
Call in the quacks! The shrink. The counselor. Get the voodoo man on the line. The Rogue Economist is going soft and mushy… analyzing his own feelings and motivations… his own relationship with money.
It begins with a note from a dear reader:
“What a pile of garbage. There is no correlation between happiness and money. None.”
Half the world works just to survive. But the other half works to get ahead. It aims to get richer. Why so much effort if there is no connection – none at all – to happiness?
And why are so many people investing their money, if not in the hope that it will be fructified… making them wealthier?
On Thursday, neither the Dow nor the price of gold budged. You can interpret that any way you want. There was no follow through on Wednesday’s big drop in stock prices. But there was no rebound either. Mr. Market, are you listening? We await further instructions [Mr. Market delivered instruction on Friday, ed.].
A new study suggests that money actually does buy happiness (there’s a study for everything …)
More Money, More Honey?
Meanwhile, we have been making the case that the link between money and happiness isn’t as straight and sure as: More Money = More Happiness. And it can be the other way around: More Money = Less Happiness.
There are three key decisions you make in life; having money doesn’t keep you from botching them up. In fact, money can make the wrong choice more readily available to you. Neither high-toned hookers nor highly paid stock brokers make their calls in poor neighborhoods.
We grew up poor … but not unhappy. We took from our childhood that happiness was independent of wealth. We drew our happiness from the home and the family. vAnd with this base of our contentment secure, we could go out into the world and face whatever challenges and hardships might come our way… confident that no matter what happened, our happiness was safe at home.
We began this series with an insight: If you want to get rich, you had better learn to like poverty first. A man who measures his worth in material success may not be able to bear the risk of failure. In our case, we were largely indifferent to it. Money didn’t really matter much. So we could afford to take chances.
After law school, instead of taking the safe route – billing clients for nasty divorces or slick tax schemes – we started a business.
The Only Sure Route to Success
No matter what you do, it is hard to put your hands on serious money. When you come of age, someone else already owns all of the money in the world. Its custodians and guardians will not turn it over to you readily.
Starting out, you won’t know what you have to do to make your business succeed. Most likely your business will fail; you don’t want to take it too hard. Instead, you want to take advantage of it. Since you can’t know in advance what will succeed, eliminating failures is the only sure route to success.
The challenge is to fail early and often enough so you still have your nerve and your wits when you finally stumble onto something that works. Even if you are able to separate yourself (again in a deep, emotional way) from material success, it still plays a role in your life. As we explained in this series, we want more wealth for a reason, even if we don’t know what the reason is.
When we undertake to get it we get a sense of satisfaction and delight when we succeed. It is not necessarily the money that satisfies us though; it may just be like the satisfaction you get from choosing the fastest line at the checkout counter… or cutting someone off in traffic.
Life is competitive. We want to win. And money is one way of keeping score. The typical man has a job where he is told, more or less, what to do. He may earn a high salary or a low one. He may like what he does. Or he may suffer it, as he suffers a tax audit or a colonoscopy. But it will probably not get him any serious wealth or satisfaction.
You do not get either by going along with the flow. You get it by disrupting it. Like disruptive technology, you must change the way money is earned… and spent… altering the capital landscape of the planet. If you are to get more, relatively, others must have less.
This gives the competitive moneymaker a deep sense of reward even before he is successful. He is not necessarily the richest of men, but he is probably among the happiest. Beethoven referred to him as the “free artist.” He does what he likes with no overseer laying the lash on his back and no Wall Street banker holding a million-dollar bonus in his face.
He would do his work even if it didn’t pay. For he is a builder remaking the world… not in his own image exactly, but at least with his fingerprints on it.
This fingerprint was left by an architect in Thailand …
(Photo via graaam.com, author unknown)
The above article is from Diary of a Rogue Economist originally written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.
You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Gold – An Overview of Macroeconomic Price Drivers
Fundamental Analysis of Gold As we often point out in these pages, even though gold is currently not the generally used medium of exchange, its monetary characteristics continue to be the main basis for its valuation. Thus, analysis of the gold market requires a different approach from that employed in the analysis of industrial commodities (or more generally, goods that are primarily bought and sold for their use value). Gold's extremely high stock-to-flow ratio and the main source of...
- India – Is Kashmir Gone?
Everything Gets Worse (Part XII) - Pakistan vs. India After 70 years of so-called independence, one has to be a professional victim not to look within oneself for the reasons for starvation, unnatural deaths, utter backwardness, drudgery, disease, and misery in India. Intellectual capital accumulated in the West over the last 2,500 years — available for free in real-time via the internet — can be downloaded by a passionate learner. In the age of modern technology, another mostly...
- Cracks in Ponzi-Finance Land
Retail Debt Debacles The retail sector has replaced the oil sector in a sense, and not in a good way. It is the sector that is most likely to see a large surge in bankruptcies this year. Junk bonds issued by retailers are performing dismally, and within the group the bonds of companies that were subject to leveraged buyouts by private equity firms seem to be doing the worst (a function of their outsized debt loads). Here is a chart showing the y-t-d performance of a number of these...
- Pulling Levers to Steer the Machine
Ticks on a Dog A brief comment on Fed chief Janet Yellen’s revealing speech at the University of Michigan. Bloomberg: “Before, we had to press down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all of the oomph that we possibly could,” Yellen said Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Fed is now trying to “give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pushing down hard on the accelerator.” […] “The appropriate stance of policy now is closer to, let me call it...
- French Election – Bad Dream Intrusion
The “Nightmare Option” The French presidential election was temporarily relegated to the back-pages following the US strike on Syria, but a few days ago, the Economist Magazine returned to the topic, noting that a potential “nightmare option” has suddenly come into view. In recent months certainty had increased that once the election moved into its second round, it would be plain sailing for whichever establishment candidate Ms. Le Pen was going to face. That certainty has been...
- The Cost of a Trump Presidency
Opportunity Cost Rears its Head Last Thursday’s wanton attack on a Syrian air field by the US and its bellicose actions toward North Korea have brought the real cost of candidate Trump’s landslide victory last November to the forefront. It didn't take long for Donald Trump to drop his non-interventionist mask. The decision was likely driven by Machiavellian considerations with respect to domestic conditions, but that doesn't make it any better. Unlike...
- Central Banks Have a $13 Trillion Problem
Paycheck to Paycheck GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – The Dow was down 118 points on Wednesday. It should have been down a lot more. Of course, markets know more than we do. And maybe this market knows something that makes sense of these high prices. What we see are reasons to sell, not reasons to buy. DJIA daily (incl. Thursday)... it was just taking a rest - click to enlarge. Nearly half of all American families live “paycheck to paycheck,” say researchers. Without...
- Heavily Armed Swamp Critters
Worst Mistake GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – By our calculation, it took just 76 days for President Trump to get on board with the Clinton-Bush-Obama agenda. Now there can be no doubt where he’s headed. He’s gone Full Empire. Not that it was unexpected. But the speed with which the president abandoned his supporters and went over to the Deep State is breathtaking. Once there was only a Trump fragrance called Empire... now he has gone full empire himself Among the noise...
- Hell To Pay
Behind the Curve Economic nonsense comes a dime a dozen. For example, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen “think(s) we have a healthy economy now.” She even told the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy so earlier this week. Does she know what she’s talking about? Somehow, this cartoon never gets old... If you go by a partial subset of the ‘official’ government statistics, perhaps, it appears she does. The unemployment...
- French Selection Ritual, Round Two
Slightly Premature Victory Laps The nightmare of nightmares of the globalist elites and France's political establishment has been avoided: as the polls had indicated, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are moving on to the run-off election; Jean-Luc Mélenchon's late surge in popularity did not suffice to make him a contender – it did however push the established Socialist Party deeper into the dustbin of history. That was very Trotskyist of him (we can already picture a future Weekly...
- Trump Is An Insider Now
Conspiracy of the Few GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – “U.S. stocks fall on Trump talk…” began a headline at Bloomberg. Or it may be Trump action. We had already counted six major campaign promises – including no O’care repeal and no “America First” foreign policy – already buried (some for the better). A bunch of campaign promises get the MOAB treatment... A great many theories have been proposed to explain Trump's recent series of u-turns: 1. he is in thrall to...
- Simple Math of Bank Horse-Puckey
The Raw Deal We stepped out on our front stoop Wednesday morning and paused to take it all in. The sky was at its darkest hour just before dawn. The air was crisp. There was a soft coastal fog. The faint light of several stars that likely burned out millennia ago danced just above the glow of the street lights. And this is what they saw watching the sky from Mt. Wilson that night... After a brief moment, we locked the door behind us and got into our...