Friday, September 20, 2013

Money or happiness? Which would you choose?

If you have only one choice, would you choose to have money or happiness? I believe you would agree that this is a hard choice to make. Many of you would think why can't i choose both? I want to have both money and happiness. Won't having more money make me happy? This is not entirely true. Let me illustrate.

Think about the first job you had. The first pay of $1800 as a diploma graduate made you excited. Finally you have a decent pay and more money to buy the things that you want without having to rely on your parents. The first smell of money is so good. After a few months of getting the same salary, you begin to feel less excited about the money. You start to think that the amount of job you do does not justify the pay. You want to have higher salary. After a few months in your company, you realise that some of your friends in other companies are getting higher pay than you and somehow their job is much easier and enjoyable. Worse still, you realise your colleagues in the same company have higher salary than you also. You start to feel really dissatisfied with the salary that you have.

Do you feel this way? If you do, it is normal. Most people feel this way. But why? What happened to the initial excitement when you first got your salary which you think is high compared to your previous part time and temporary student jobs? Let's continue the story. After almost one year, you're feeling really dissatisfied with your job. You want to change jobs. But, here comes the annual salary increment and you got a pay raise. Plus, there is some performance bonus that the company rewards you with. You think maybe this job isn't that bad after all. For the next 2 months, you're feeling a little bit happier getting the higher salary. However, the little bit of happiness didn't last long, In fact, it died off very soon. You're back to your normal self feeling dissatisfied at work. Some of your colleagues are feeling this way too. The younger ones complain that they want more money and the older ones complain that things are getting more expensive but their salary never really increase. A survey showed that Singaporeans have a very low level of happiness index which measures the level of happiness in a country. We have a job, we have money but sometimes we are more unhappy than people in poor countries. What is happening to us?

I would call this the disease of unhappiness. If the majority of the people in your company are feeling dissatisfied with the job, most likely you will too. No matter how much your salary is, you will still feel unhappy. Have you heard people who earn more than 10k a month still complaining that they are stress at work? I bet you have. Some would say earning this much of salary with that amount of stress is not worth it. They would rather have lesser money than stress themselves up and affect their health.

So what do you want in life? High paying and high stress job or low paying and low stress job? Which will make you happier? What if there is a high paying job and you are also happy doing it? Is it a dream job that you will never see in your lifetime? I believe if we know what we're passionate in and we search in that direction, we'll find it one day.

As a financial blogger, my blog posts are mostly about money. I set my financial goal to reach 1 million by age 42 and i blog about learning how to invest and grow my money. But why do i want so much money for? Is it to have an extravagant lifestyle staying in a high end condominium and drive a luxurious car? Is money just for buying material things? That is not my purpose. I plan and set high goals just because i can have financial freedom and not having to worry about having not enough money or worry about retirement when i'm older. I do not want to be stuck in a job i do not like in my old age. I want to have the choice to do the things that i like without having to worry about money matters. I want to give my family the best and be able to spend quality time with them like travelling together or having a nice meal at a restaurant. That to me is the true purpose of life. Having both money and happiness is possible if we plan ahead and know our priorities.

Too many of my colleagues complain of having not enough money. They have reached retirement age but many are still not able to enjoy life and do the things they like. They still have to force themselves to work even when they don't like. Having not enough money and the burden to pay bills is stressful for anyone. It is not possible to be happy when you live a life full of burdens.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying retirement is about not working. In fact, i think we should have an active life even when we're not really working. We can do volunteer work, help others and do something that we really enjoy.

Some people have a lot of money but are not happy. Others have little money and are not happy also.

So what's your choice? Money? Happiness? or both? I would like to choose both. What about you?

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  1. We should consciously working towards both happiness and money but don't monetize too much of our free time.

    1. Hi Uncle CW,

      Wise words from you. I think i did not really get what it means by don't monetize too much of our free time? Is it when we're doing things during our free time we should not think about money? Maybe you can enlighten me further.

    2. Taking up some part-time works to add more money

    3. Hi Uncle CW,

      I understand now. Thanks :)

  2. Part time work pay can be horrible unless you have specific niche skills.

    1. Hi Cory,

      Working part time is not worth it when you're already working full time. For a student, its fine for them to work part time to earn some pocket money.