October 23, 2013

Riches Don't Count - Happiness Does

In past decades per-capita GDP growth of developed nations has increased dramatically.

I say, "So what?"

During this time average incomes rose as well (although they have been stagnating for most of us since the 1980s).

Again I ask, "So what?"

Happiness surveys generally show that above $60,000 to $75,000 of income per year we essentially get no more bang for our bucks. That makes aspiring to become a millionaire or billionaire terribly misguided because it can't yield an improved overall life satisfaction. For that we don't need loads of cash.

Why can't we buy more happiness with our riches?  Because our money suffers from the effects of diminishing returns. The more money we make or get or steal, the less effective it is in increasing our satisfaction level.

Going from $0 dollars to $100 dollars yields a very large effect on our well being. But going from $100,000 dollars to $100,100 dollars makes hardly any difference at all. In both cases we are talking about the exact same amount of money.

So our countries have been more productive, and our salaries have gone up. But we have made no gains what-so-ever on our overall happiness scores.

So what is all the struggle for riches and stuff for if it is not leading to an increased satisfaction with life? For me the answer was to quit struggling, and start enjoying.

I am happier living in retirement on $20,000 a year than when making $60,000+ a year as a full time teacher. Because of this experience, I don't care if you make 400 times more than the average person.

I say, "So what?"

 I want to know if you are 400 times happier. 


  1. Thank you for this lovely island of sanity and affirmation. Keep up the good work--have come to depend on you . . .


    1. M,

      I love the smell of sanity and affirmation in the morning.

      Glad you are on board with us. We hope to provide a 24/7 sanctuary for all our disillusioned brothers and sisters experiencing the Consumer Blues.


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