Hey look, two anti-rants in two days. I must be on happy pills or something! Nope, I’m just on FIER*.
Everyone has heard self-righteous people say this:
Money can’t buy happiness.
That is nonsense; money does buy happiness, just not in the way you think.
Not at the mall
First and foremost, buying a bunch of crap at the mall or a new car does not buy happiness. These are short term solutions for filling some void in your life. That joy of that car will wear off quick. Besides, that new car smell is probably toxic.
To understand how money buys happiness, consider some of the non-traditional things it affords:
- Financial security: Worrying about money sucks. Just ask my neighbors who yell very loudly at each other when the bank account runs dry, which is frequent.
- Freedom from the cube-world: If I worked until I was 62, I’d be signing on for 38,400 more hours behind the keyboard. Holy hell, my stomach turned just thinking about this horrible, horrible math:
40 hours/week * 48 weeks * 20 years =
- Options: Financial Independence isn’t about not working, but working at what you truly love. Hell, you may even decide to continue working your 9-5 for a while. However you may also decide to pursue one of approximately 984,491,921,335,301 activities available to you as a human being on our wonderful planet:
- Read books
- Write books
- Travel the world
- Learn to rock climb
- Go to space
- Make stuff from wood
That 38,400 number is scary, but here is a much better number:
So, that is where my investment portfolio sits this week. 1,006,070 feels good; much better than that 38,400 number, which is pure evil.
Here is what $1,006,070 it means:
Yep, this is another introduction to a post I wrote over at InvestmentZen. Click over to read the rest.
*Financial Independence/Early Retirement
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.
Brian @ debt discipline says
Ah, double comma club. 🙂
Brian @ debt discipline recently posted…College funding: Study to Know, Save to Have
F the cube!
That is how I ended up in HR.
Oh, the imagery! How do I purge this from my brain? ARRRRRGHHH!!!
Haha, it’s fun both reading your post and comments!
Yes that new car smell is toxic.
BTW, where does the 984,491,921,335,301 number come from?
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I love anti-rants!
I still want that 400hp, red machine. Someone talk me out of getting a BMW 335 and tuning it to ridiculous power. Money can buy freedom, which in turn can greatly increase your chances of happiness. On the other hand, it would be wise to search for freedom in areas that are important to you and happiness before you’ve attained funds to fully buy your freedom. Life’s too short to wait.
Grm fan says
Just get a $1500 miata and turbo charge it. Light weight plus 250ish HP is a lot more fun. Grassroots Motorsports has a ton of builds like that and are the magazine for frugal Motorsports fans.
George @ Properly says
Don’t sacrifice your youth spending 100 hour weeks in the office in an attempt to retire as early as possible. Many of people I know tried it coming out of college and most lasted less than 2 years, hating their lives the entire time.
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I don’t think 100 hours are required, but right out of college is the best time to work hard. Once you have a wife and kids, you have no time…
I will do my best. I just turned in my lease a few months early on a 2013 BMW 335is with all the bells and whistles (including engine tune, exhaust downpipes, intake–somewhere north of 400HP to the wheels). Although the 335 was an incredible car I couldn’t wait to give it back and don’t miss it a bit. Full disclosure, I work at a BMW dealership and paid 1/2 of what anyone else would be paying on a car like that but I got it before discovering the world of ER and realizing just what I was giving up to have it, regardless of how “cheap” it was. Because I’m required to be in a BMW for work I replaced it with a 2015 BMW i3 (hardly a sports car!) that works out to be less expensive than a beater BMW would have been to purchase and maintain over a 3 year period. The i3 is thrilling in a completely different way. I’m thrilled because I can now take the THOUSANDS I was spending on unnecessary car payments every year and plow them into investments. I’m thrilled because I now pay just about as much for my car payment as I used to spend on gas. I’m thrilled because I’m beating the system. And that feels way better than leaving a cloud of tire smoke and a number 11 at every stoplight I came across. I second Mr. 1500 on this one–being able to have that sports car but making the conscious choice not to for the sake of your financial health is more fulfilling in every way. This part may come as a surprise–dreaming about them is more fun than the reality. Those feelings you have really will wear off. No matter how nice it is in a year or two it will transform from the thing you lusted after to just another car. To transportation. And all it will leave you with is a slimmer bank account and a thirst for something hotter, faster, better. Or maybe you’ll end up like me–I couldn’t wait to give mine back and do something more productive with my money. If you’re spending time on this or any other ER blog you know the real cost of a decision like that and I suspect you’ll end up with the same feelings of guilt that I felt once I saw the light and realized what I was doing to myself.
Keep your eyes peeled next time you’re on the road, if you see a guy driving around in a dorky i3 smiling from ear to ear like a dufus it’s probably me…just thinking about how much money I’m saving and how happy I am to not be in that sports car anymore.
“Those feelings you have really will wear off.”
Thanks Michael. I admit that I still eyeball fancy cars every once in a while (Hello Acura NSX). If I had a ridiculous amount of money ($5,000,000), I’d probably buy an old one to fart around with. I’d then dump it whenever I got bored.
I do make a small exception to my no–fancy-car rule for folks who are genuinely passionate about driving. For example, I think it’s incredibly fun taking a fast motorcycle down a curvy road. My heart is beating faster now just thinking about it. I will have another motorcycle at some point, but it will be something used that won’t break the bank.
And I think that you can do the same for cars. As the other reader pointed out, an old Miata is a great compromise. Cheap and reliable.
“if you see a guy driving around in a dorky i3 smiling from ear to ear like a dufus it’s probably me…”
Ha ha, that is awesome!
I was visiting Chicago for work last September and as I was walking down Michigan Ave a new NSX drove by being filmed with one of those crazy trucks with the steel cages and camera guys hanging off of it. I’m a German car enthusiast through and through but boy that was one beautiful machine! It even pulled over right beside me so that I could get a better look and snap a couple of photos.
Speaking of having fun with an old Miata, have you ever heard of the 24 hours of LeMons or ChumpCar racing series? If not check it out!
That new one is a wild beast, but I’m not sure if I like it. The original was lightweight and simple. New one heavy and very complex. I haven’t driven one yet (or even seen it in person), so maybe I’ll be swayed after that?
Yes, I read about LeMons in a car magazine! That race looks hilarious! I was thinking about going when it comes to Colorado.
I finally spark a great conversation :). @George, I actually have wanted a Miata since High school, but it has a reputation of a girl car, all I see is a light weight rear wheel drive convertible go cart of fun! Last year I ended up purchasing a $4800 2006 Saab 9-3 with the higher output turbo last year and 5 speed manual, tuned it to 260 hp. Been a great bulletproof car with 30+mpg. Kind of always liked Saab’s, I plan to hang on to it a couple years longer as I haven’t even put 10k miles on it yet. Not exactly a sports car though or even a sports sedan, more of a car with a good suspension and a decently quick engine.
I think that BMW i3 is the beginning of the future actually. I’ve been a big efficiency nut and waiting for several years for carbon composite materials to make it to being a bigger part of vehicle construction. I’m a big fan of RMI and Amory Lovins.
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But don’t you want to work in a private cube so you can close the door and have total privacy? 😉
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Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes says
Working definitely has it’s pleasures, let’s not forget that. You get the opportunity to get away from family for hours a day.
Early Retirement with a family can sometimes get tiresome…trust me, I know. At our house it’s always family time…all the time. I rarely get any time to unplug.
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I once read an old proverb that said “happiness is measured in years”. Things like having a safe home, having resources to deal with emergencies, being able to give back and having financial security greatly contribute to our happiness over the years even if they don’t give us the “rush” of buying something new.
I’m happiest when I’m learning, creating or spending time with friends and family. Money helps make those things possible, I can’t deny that!
Lady FruFru says
Thanks for the in$piration! 🙂
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Expensive Tastes says
This is the one area I cannot relate to you Mr. 1500. After 13 sub zero days last year I adore my 700$, bought with a coupon, Canada goose coat. I almost giggle with joy when I put it on because it’s like wearing a down comforter outside. I also have a pair of 300$ shoes that make me feel like a million dollars every time I wear them. Those are just a couple examples of the happiness that beautiful well made things give me. I feel privileged to purchase a couple big ticket items every year after maxing out every tax advantaged account I have and having no debt besides a low interest rate mortgage.
Hmm, I don’t think we’re that far off actually. I have a couple bike that set me back $1,000 each. They are light, well made and reliable. They do their jobs a lot better than a $200 model from Walmart. Your jacket is the same and I suspect you’ll keep it for many years.
Furthermore, this shows that you have your priorities in good order: “…after maxing out every tax advantaged account I have and having no debt besides a low interest rate mortgage.”
The big problems that I see are cars and homes. Blow big money on those and you’ll never get ahead, especially if you’re sacrificing your investing and saving for them.
It’s a lot easier to travel the world when you have money!
Bryan @ Just One More Year says
The hell with working for “The Man” – you have choices!
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Chris @ Flipping A Dollar says
Lol we moved to an open floor plan. Of course the higher ups thought it was a great idea. Now everyone’s just putting on headphones instead of interacting the way they imagined. Oh and when someone gets fired it’s super awkward. Especially when it’s your boss!
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“Oh and when someone gets fired it’s super awkward. Especially when it’s your boss!”
Oh wow! Just wow.