Things worth more than 80-100 thousand per year

So this blog may be a little corny but it something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.  In the beginning of the year, around when we did our first version of our story of self, we talked about how much money we want to make to be happy.  I said around 80-100 thousand a year.  Then Dr. Edwards told us about a study that looked at the correlation between money and happiness and how it there was a correlation up to about 40 K/year, then there wasn’t one.  This really surprised me, and I felt a little embarrassed about my original answer ever since.  I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, my mom is a secretary at the local school and my dad is a male nurse and farmer.  Money was tight and my parents fought A LOT about it (probably not an uncommon thing), which may have significantly contributed to their separation.  I grew up in a small town (about 2,000 population) and in that setting I got a lot of values like hard work, honesty, being charitable and neighborly, but maybe something I missed was the lack of value of money.

The farm I grew up on in upstate New York

The farm I grew up on in upstate New York

Since this class I’ve thought about the things that really make me happy (it’s about to get real corny).  I can think of a lot of things that make me happy that cost money, like playing golf, fishing, sporting events, good beer.  But a big part of why I like doing these things is because I like golfing with my brother and my friends, fishing with my girlfriend and my best friend from high school, watching sports with my brother, and drinking good beer with all of the above.  Especially apparent around the holidays is the value of relationships.  My life has changed quite a bit in the past few years and it has me thinking very different than a year ago.  I have two nephews who are the coolest little kids I’ve known and who think I’m cool a cool uncle, I’m getting paid to go to school and learn stuff I really like learning, I’ve met a great girl who I have more in common with than I could have ever imagined having in common with a girl, and I’ve adopted a dog that is well behaved (for the most part).

Me, my girlfiend Mary Kate, and my dog Tucker on a road trip

Me, my girlfiend Mary Kate, and my dog Tucker on a road trip

After having this little wake-up call in class, I realize that I definitely don’t need to make 80-100 thousand a year to be happy, all I need to do is keep my relationships with the ones I love healthy and stay in a job where I like what I’m doing (for the most part).  Hopefully this realization will help me stay ethical when confronted with temptations that will boost my wallet, I can realize that money is not what makes me happy.

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2 Responses to Things worth more than 80-100 thousand per year

  1. You can stay in grad school forever and make 30K a year and be super happy Smilie: :)

  2. I can’t help but play devil’s advocate. So… loved ones are great and all, but there is some good in money. When you have some financial security, you can keep those loved ones safe and healthy, and perhaps worry less and fight less out money. Not saying money is everything… but I do think it’s something.

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