Money Can Buy Happiness

This is a rewrite of a post that I improved and not want buried in archives. I hope you enjoy.

Today is a continuation of the discussion in Money is not the Root of all Evil nor by Itself Evil.
money_happiness.jpg
At this point, you should no longer feel negative and apprenhensive about money, learning about money, talking about money, and having money.

Now that we treat money as tool, it follows that the value of money is entirely dependent on how we utilize it. As such, the responsibility becomes yours to decide what to do with your money.

While that mentality is sinking in your mind, let us talk about how money can buy happiness. You may ask, “What happen to the old saying of money cannot buy happiness?” I will clarify the fact remains that money cannot directly buy happiness; however, it is also a fact that money can buy a lot of things, which may or may not bring happiness. And certainly, we all know that money cannot get us everything we want.

Money cannot buy friends, real friends.
Money cannot find you love.
Money cannot magically give you new abilities.
Money cannot revive the dead.

So what then?

Money Means Survival

Remember in the old days our ancestors had to hunt for food and find shelter in caves or otherwise be dead… Well, earning money is a subsitutation for that. Money lets us buy food and a root above our heads. Money allows us to survive in this society. We are animals too, and survival is a priority, so let us be glad that each of us is surviving because we have some money, if not a lot.

Money Provides Sense of Security

Because our survival is linked to money, having more money allows us to thrive by reinforcing a sense of security. Having money saved up means less stress about survival.

How do I pay all the monthly bills?
What if I get laid off?
What if my car breaks down?
What if I have a health-related emergency?

If you have one or more of those scenario above, you can come out with no or less worries and stress if you have enough money. I can subscribe to that because I worried a lot about making it through my graduate school, paying tuition and living expense. Fortunately, I made it out alive in fair shape by taking leave of absense to work full-time and selecting only subsidized loans, along with some support from my dear sister.

Since I mentioned loan, let me add that lowering and eliminating debt has the same effect as having more money. That’s why we should also strive to be debt free.

Money Provides Flexibility

Laid off is mentioned above. If you have money saved up and not have to worry about financial burden such as mortgages, you have extra time to look for your next job. Laid-off aside, if you current job is unpleasant, you can choose to venture into starting your own business, or simply take some time off to find the right direction, or travel the world. By flexibility, we can also think of it as the next topic…

Money Lets Us Manifest Our Values

Despite not able to let you buy everything we desire, you can still put your money to good use toward the important things in your life, like:

  • Continuing education
    With money, you can go ahead and get the master, PhD, MBA, CPA, degree in whatever field you have always wanted
  • Assiting parents and family members
    Some of us have aging parents that could use our help financially. Actually, having money may also make it easier for you to help them out physically too, through flexibility in selecting schedule and location of the new job.
  • Hobbies
    Use money toward the classes and equipments for your favorite hobby. I do for lessons on singing and piano!
  • Buying things that you like
    Let’s be real. We all have things we like. Clothes? Shoes? Watches? Artwork? I love gadgets… A little indulgence can be constructive on our well being.
  • Vacation
    Travel the world. See other cultures and people. Build perception with extra experience. What great ideas!
  • Housing
    Having a comfortable, cozy place to call home lets us feel safe. Though I would say it is overkill where 2 people living in a 10,000 sq. ft. house. Oooooh, ain’t I sarcastic.

After all, it is not About Money…

Being rich does not automatically make you happy.
Nor can being poor make you happy either.

What money can do is… Money can contribute to your happiness depending on how you spend it. Therefore, it goes back to the general theme here that much like success, happiness has everything with knowing yourself and your values. So I suppose I should say that money can indirectly buy happiness, that is, only if you know what you want in life.

You can choose to spend all your money on materials, but that means you value materials above all else. If that makes you happy, be my guest. As Wolverine kindly said to Rogue in X-men: The Last Stand, “I’m not your father. I’m your friend.” I am not here to tell you what to do. I am here to get you to think for yourself.

Originally posted 2008-04-21 23:33:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Stop Talking, Do Consistently

It is not rare for me to run into someone, or hear indirectly, where the conversation goes like this…

I have cut my spending by half in this last month!
I have control my diet (Whatever kind: low-carb, Atkins, full-vegan…) in the last 2 weeks! (Sometimes they celebrate 2 days! Woot!)
I have gone to the gym or exercise everyday for the past week!

Following all these are usually..
“I’m awesome! Time to celebrate! Reward Time!”
To which my response is… *chuckle*

My prediction for these people is, with almost certainty, that they will not last. They will not keep up whatever they are doing. Because they had just demonstrated that they are five-minute enthusiasts (more on why later). And indeed, that is what most people are.

Inevitably, if I do run into those people again in a few weeks or months and ask them about “how they are doing with…”, nearly 100% of the time, they had stopped whatever they were doing. This is excluding those who didn’t even start with all their talks, which there are many. Quite sad.

Am I being pessimistic? I’ll let you decide, but only after you consider the following situations that surround us now. Maybe you are part of it.

The amount of health problems and the issue with obesity.
The amount of people struggling financially.
The amount of people with all kinds of mental, emotional, personal issues.

It is a fact that these difficult situations are with us now. It is also a fact that we have more information than ever on what and how to do to help ourselves. Such irony.

What happens? Inconsistency. We are good talkers. We know the right thing to say. We memorize all the great tips and theories. Yet, we don’t do. And for majority, if we do at all, it is only for short period of time, which does not lead to learning.

So, I mention above about people who celebrate their milestones are more than likely five-minute-enthusiasts. It is not that celebration is bad. A little celebration, patting yourself on the back is all good and dandy, and sometimes necessary encouragement.

However, these celebrations are over dramatization. It is excessive drama of a small step on a journey to become something better, or further, something great — that is, if they truly aspire to be better or great. They had expended more efforts in celebrating than focusing on what they need to continue to do and thus completely miss the point. Therefore, such excitement, celebration, over dramatization is a sign that their effort is doomed to inevitable quitting.

Another problem with over excitement and over dramatization is that people binge on whatever they need to do and then burn out in no time. Not only will that not help but often make matters worse.

They binge on saving for a month, only to spend more than they ever did before the month.
Or they binge from eating for a month, only to eat a crate of chocolate afterward.
Or they binge on exercising for a month, only to burn out and quit, or had overdriven to the detriment of the body causing more harms.
Or they binge on abstinence, only to sleep with 10 people in one night… uh, wait, is this possible?

Anyways… just don’t binge!

Whatever tips, methods, doctrines you follow. Give it your consistency without binging. I can assure, whatever you did, right or wrong, after you’ve given it some time and effort PLUS sincerity, you will learn something. And it will be a type of learning that stays with you forever. And that, will allow you to decide what’s next and how to improve beyond your current self.

Perhaps it is a good idea for you to start doing consistently, and not just reading, thinking, talking, celebrating consistently.

Originally posted 2009-08-04 00:16:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Understand Yourself

Do you understand yourself?
Do you know what you want?
Do you know why you act certain ways?
Do you ever talk to yourself?

Can you answer all those questions?

You may think, “Why the heck is this dude asking all these question? He crazy…”
Or you may think, “Only crazy people talk to themselves? This guy’s crazy…”

Hear me out. I want you to understand the importance and the need to get in touch with the self. Take a look around you, these days people seem to be so busy that they never pause for a moment to get to know themselves. They’re so busy with life. They work all the time. They drive to and from work, angry with traffic or thinking about work, or stressing about life. They study and study to obtain some degress or certicates that may move them further in career. When they don’t do those, they sit and watch TV, go on a shopping spree, talking on the phones for hours, listening to iPods, so basically, filling every void possible in their time.

Let me pop another question, “So what’s the most common reason for relationship breakdown?”
This should get your attention.

I would have to say it’s the lack of communication or miscommunication.

Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Wife/Husband: I thought you know what I meant. -OR- Why couldn’t you do this? -OR- I thought we are going to do xxxxx.
The other half: You never told me. -OR- We never talked about it. -OR- You didn’t explicitly say it.

Fit in any scenario in the above example, be it scenario where ones does the wrong thing, or both persons share different outlook in life, or both persons have different spending habits… These are common themes in conflicts that bring relationship to an end when the couple finally realizes the difference without prior communication and understanding to allow solutions and compromises to keep the relationship going. That’s why it is important to get to know each others. It goes for any relationship.

You can translate that into business scenario. Usually when employer and employee terminate their relationship is when one side or both sides cease to listen and understand the other sides, therefore, they no longer can fulfill the needs and expectation of the other side inthe relationship. Perhaps the employer is not getting the work he wants done. Perhaps the employee is not getting the opportunity he wants. Either way, when such problems persist for a long time without communication to solve them, one will fire the other.

You should get my point of the importance for communication in relationship now.

The same thing can happen to the individual person. What happens if I don’t establish communication with myself? Unlike those other relationships, I terminate my relationship with myself. I can’t separate from myself unless I commit suicide, but let’s not go there. So what happens next?

If I never really get to know myself, I will wonder in life aimlessly. I may wake up, go to work or school, eat, sleep, what some TV or play some video games perhaps, do what I am “supposed” to do, do what I need to fulfill my basic needs to survive, or do what satisfies the family’s expection. And that will be it. Then the day repeats itself.

I will be disconnected from myself. I will not know what I want to do. I will not know my priorities. My action will be out of sync from the person I truly am, or who I aspired to be deep down. The more action I perform that does not represent my true self, the further away I am from reality. I will live a life that is not one that I want. Because I don’t do what I want. Because I don’t know what I want. Because I don’t take the moment to think for myself, to talk to myself to understand what are the things that have meanings for me and the priorities in my life. I will do things that are not meaningful to me and some end up hurting myself, like how people hurt each other in relationship when they don’t know what each other wants. I will do stupid things. I will accomplish nothing, just as a relationship will go nowhere when communication ceases to exist.

Consequently, we need to get in touch with ourselves. We need to understand ourselves by continuous self-evaluation and self-discovery. With understanding, we know what we need to change and work on for ourselves. Below are 3 points for you to think about that should help you to get to know yourself.

Define short-term goals

Be it financial goal, change of life-style, exercise routine, develop a new hobby. Do something you WANT to do. Start doing it and stay persistent. Don’t give up after several weeks or months. Instead, slowly involve that as a part of your life.

Have long term goals

This maybe a little more difficult to define specifically, especially if you are young, like myself. Pay attention to what you like and don’t like to do in your job. Think about the way you want to live that you want 5-10 years down the road. What kind career? Having a family? Becoming a home owner? Starting your own business? Moving to another city/country? Something you can do to help others in the world? Basically have a vision of what you see yourself doing in the long haul. Find your passion.

Begin with the end in mind

This comes from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habis of Highly Effective People and for me, this is one of the strongest messages from the book. The defines the ideal person you want to become in life. This is your personal statement for your life. Think about when you died, how others would react? (Sad…Excited…!?!?) What kind of person will they think of you are? (A good father…A good husband…A great teacher…) What would they recall you doing? (Stepping over people to get your way…Always helpling people…) What attributes will the associate with you? (Optimistic…Passionate…Hateful…?) What did they learn from you that will carry on into further generations? It is not what they think that matters, but if you answer these, you will have defined the person you want to be, and you can spend time and effort working toward it everyday day through your life. Make a list and stick to it. Of course, this list can evolve as you go through life and gain new experience.

Enough questions for one day. Also plenty of thinking for one day, if you care. You do care, don’t you? You did finish reading up to here. That proves something :) So onto the finale.

Take step, no matter how small

All these ideas and personal development are not a one day process but a life long process. Taking small steps everyday, however far, or little, each step takes us, is the only way. Make the choice to take the first step. Make the choice to get to know yourself. By beginning with the end in mind, you will have defined the ideal person you want to be. Then hereafter, make the choice take each step, one after the other, spending your effort accomplish your ideal self.

Originally posted 2007-11-11 22:46:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Housing Slump Saga Continues

On the topic of buying my own place, it has always been my thought to wait until half way through next year to make a decision on buying. This MSN Money article, House prices expected to fall until 2009, reaffirms it for me.

“It’s going to be a long time before we see it bottom out and recover,” said David Lowman, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase’s Global Mortgage unit. “There’s too much inventory already in the marketplace.”

Lowman and the three other participants in a round-table session before most of the convention’s 4,000 participants differed slightly on the size of price declines still upcoming, but they agreed no price recovery is likely until at least 2009.

“I think this year we will see a 2% decline in national home prices, and we’re projecting about a 4% decline next year,” said Thomas Lund, an executive vice president at Fannie Mae.

Prices likely will flatten in 2009, Lund said, before gradually rising.

Lowman said it might be 2010 before the price decline ends.

This is not hard to imagine, because it is only since last year 2006 that the rate has begun to reset for many home buyers with ARM. Those ARMs are borrowed on a fixed rate for either 3-year or 5-year for many people spreaded over time. Hence, it is not difficult to imagine that as many more of those ARMs’ rates get reset in the coming years, there will be more defaults and foreclosures following. Together with an already over-supplied market, housing price is bound to drop further

So honestly speaking, who knows when the housing market is going to bottom out? Nonetheless, that is my vision and what I believe. That is the reason why I am waiting until next year to get a better perspective before making a decision to jump into home-ownership.

There is no hurry because while I wait,I will continue to put my money to work in some high-yield saving accounts and stocks/funds investment.

Originally posted 2007-10-27 13:08:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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