Happiness Can’t Buy Money

Sometimes the best advice comes from the people who have been there and done that. 

To Wit: a recent panel discussion at Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit in New York, on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014.  Panelists Michael Bloomberg (net worth $34 Billion ) and Ray Dalio (net worth $10 Billion)

There was a question about kids these days not wanting to work long hours at investment banks.  This is a common issue with the millennial generation.  They favor experiences over things and that can often be achieved with far less money.

Bloomberg’s take was “If you want to get paid, you have to work hard.  That’s capitalism!”  It is worth noting that the people who make the most money usually fill positions where their input is worth the most.  No job pays more than it must to get the right skills, time, effort and integrity.  Some people see themselves as worth a lot but the job does not see them that way.  You will never, for long, be paid more than the job is worth.

Dalio thought that seeking a culture that you prefer would be wise.  It has been shown elsewhere  that the worst jobs pay relatively more money, because no one will do them otherwise.  Probably not a great culture.

He also reiterated that there is no correlation between money and happiness.  Money won’t buy happiness is an old idea.

Bloomberg made an interesting addition to the thought.

“Just remember: Happiness cannot buy money”

That is worth thinking about too.

As with much of life, there is a trade-off.  Not all trade-offs are easy to put up with.  Work or daytime TV is another cruel choice.

The people who have the most trouble with trade-offs are the ones who have incomplete or poorly formed standards.  You must know what you want and what you will give up to get it.  If you do not know both sides of the trade, you will be doomed to end up in stressful, depression inducing, and unhealthy situations.

Start with what you want out of the job, business, or relationship.  There is nothing free.  Be sure the price you are willing to pay will likely get you what you want.

Then go for it.


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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact: don@moneyfyi.com

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