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Old 03-08-2013, 03:08 PM   #41
Millenium Scrooge McDuck
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,528


Originally Posted by SportinOne View Post
I mean.. that's a pretty logical assessment. You go into the money business to make money. Some people REALLY like numbers, i'm not even sure where they fit in with this.. Some people don't need deeper meaning than a bottom line. To each their own, but there exits a good amount of data on the role of money in happiness and contrary to the old adage, it can afford you some happiness/well-being, but only to the extent that it allows you to cover your basic needs and have a decent amount of financial security. After that, the increase in wealth has a negligible effect on happiness/well being. Just some food for thought.. to maybe chew on while you find yourself striving to make some sort of crazy income. You may ask yourself, why do I care? That's a good place to start.
Totally agree. And you'll always finding yourself wanting more. I think what I neglected to mention was the fear of not having money driving people to finance. That's a ****tier way to be than just wanting money because it pushes you away from pursuing whatever it is that might actually make you happy.

I wrote this related rant on quora a while back.

On "Is getting rich worth it?"

This is a long way of saying I donít know the answer to your question but I think about it a lot.

I donít have a lot of money but Iím willing to guess ďAnon UserĒ is in the minority. He seems like a typical example of what happens when people get a lot of money before theyíve taken the time to figure out who they are and what they care about. I could think of a lot of things Iíd do with a large sum of money because Iíve taken the time to explore what matters to me independent of it. Of course, thatís easy for me to say as someone that doesnít currently have much and may never. As an aside, Iím always slightly bothered by situations where any form of elevated status is attributed to me, like a bell boy my age calling me ďsirĒ at a hotel, as it reeks of artificiality. The respect wasnít earned and it wasnít felt by the person giving it. One day I would hope to do something other than handing over some cash to warrant a sir. I know others who live for this ďvalidationĒ but to me thatís just one small part of the bubble that money can create around people that removes them from a sense of shared humanity.

On to the actual question at hand - I think most of us can agree that having money is comfortable and can give your life greater flexibility than the average person. I think itís up to each person to assess whether or not money matters to them and, if so, whether or not they can combine truly meaningful work with its pursuit. If that isnít possible or desired then they should ask themselves how much time itís going to take to make the money and get out. Be careful with that last one as itís a potential trap that sucks people in forever and leaves them unhappy. If money doesnít matter then that can be somewhat liberating, provided they are honest about what that means (a reduction in comfort, in mobility, exposure and most likely influence). The number of people that say money doesnít matter to them but havenít come to peace with the true ramifications of that choice seems quite high. The last thing is to realistically assess whether or not you can make enough money to justify time spent. In my case, if money grew on trees I would have the tallest ladder but I have yet to decide if itís worth using time that could be devoted to other areas, which, while financially unrewarding, may lead to greater satisfaction and a sense of meaning. I believe that's the key to sustained happiness.

When people start to consider this question they are often scared by the alternatives. Many of us ambitious people live in expensive cities like New York, London and San Francisco where quality of life would take a sharp drop the second the money stopped rolling in. For those of us that rely on ideas and culture for sustenance, aka metropolitan cities (no bias there), the number of these places that also have a low cost of living is comparatively rare (Berlin and Austin come to mind). We also live in an economic system that requires you to want to make money and spend money as a means for its continued operation. The science of product marketing is increasingly invasive, potentially insidious, such that we're less and less able to resist its influence. So in effect our environments, our cities and our countries, play a big role in scaring us away from anything other than working in the hope of ultimately becoming rich.

I think a lot of people use the wealth pursuit as a way to avoid what might initially feel like a completely meaningless existence. Itís perhaps unsurprising that, despite our knowledge of science that renders us mortal blips in time and space, weíve created a society that in some ways is designed to distract ourselves from these difficult realisations for the extent of our lifetimes. Confronting this ďvoidĒ is really the first step to finding some form of meaning for ourselves. This is not to say that you need to drop out of the traditional world and spend your days paralysed by large thoughts, but rather that you need to be working because it gives you meaning, whatever that work may be. You could be working in Finance, for example, if it compels you for reasons other than the wealth pursuit - the organisation of capital as the ultimate reflection of human collaboration? Who knows? Alternatively you could go off, cut your consumption and dedicate your time to a pursuit with little or no monetary value. I work in the corporate world, but Iíve had some breaks, and Iíve found that the absence of a traditional work schedule frees my mind to think about these things and be more productive in ways that truly satisfy me. Iím just not yet sure if I can turn that into a lifelong thing. How you're productive, for me, is really up to the person and how compelled they are to leave some form of wider legacy (beyond the interpersonal relationships of family and friends).

When making the choice to pursue wealth or not, it naturally helps to know what you're getting into, to come from some money. A bit of money gives you tremendous exposure Ė it lets you travel, it often gives you access to smart, worldly people from an early age and that's an invaluable every day education. Granted many of these people would probably be highly material and not the least bit philosophical. Front loading your life with experiences in this way would make it easier to say ďbeen there, done thatĒ and move on to another path. It'd remove the fantasy of wealth that likely exists in many peopleís minds.

Perhaps Iím young (28) and naÔve but I know several people in their 60s that have spent their entire lives pursuing and ultimately acquiring wealth that are now asking, ďWhat next?Ē If I were lucky enough to have a lot of early exposure, Iíd probably start by trying to answer "What next?" right now
I wrestle with this all the time. I know I'll never work in finance (for one thing I didn't go to college so that's a no no)... but most of the stuff I'm interested in makes zilch. That's why I'm quitting the gig and heading to Berlin for a sabbatical to make music and consider a sort of hierarchy of values.
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