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I must make MORE!

mtnman

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I found this article from Early To Rise interesting. I've also never heard of the book mentioned. Good read anyone?

[SIZE=+1][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Most Stupid of Vices[/FONT][/SIZE]​
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]By Alexander Green[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Economists Sara Solnick and David Hemenway recently conducted a survey where they asked participants if they would rather earn $50,000 a year while other people made $25,000, or earn $100,000 a year while others got $250,000.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Sit down for this one. The majority of participants selected the first option. They would rather make twice as much as others, even if that meant earning half as much as they could have with the second option.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]This is completely nuts, of course. Yet other findings by Solnick and Hemenway confirmed the envious nature of contemporary culture. People said, for instance, that they would rather be average-looking in a community where no one is considered attractive than merely good-looking in the company of stunners.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]When it came to education, parents said they would rather have an average child in a crowd of dunces than a smart child in a class full of brilliant students.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]What is going on here? In his book The Mind of the Market, Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer writes, "Our sense of happiness tends to be based on positional and relative rankings compared to what others have." [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]There's one problem, however. That doesn't work. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]As the philosopher Bertrand Russell pointed out, "Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed."[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Of all the dissatisfactions we face, surely none is more menial than envy. It denies us contentment, is a waste of time, and is an insult to ourselves. Worst of all, it's completely self-imposed. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"Envy is the most stupid of vices," wrote Honore de Balzac, "for there is no single advantage to be gained from it."[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Face it. We all know people who are smarter, fitter, richer, funnier, more talented, or better looking. But so what?[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Thinking this way only keeps you from appreciating your own uniqueness and self-worth, things that, not incidentally, do lead to greater happiness. Especially when combined with a strong sense of purpose. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]As Shermer writes, "Feeling ennobled is a pleasurable emotion that arises out of this deepest sense of purpose. Although there are countless activities people engage in to satisfy this deep-seated need, the research shows that there are four means by which we can bootstrap ourselves toward happiness through purposeful action." These include:[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]1. Deep love and family commitment[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]2. Meaningful work and career [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]3. Social and political involvement[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]4. Transcendency and spirituality[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Note that psychologists have yet to discover a route to happiness by comparing oneself to others. (Although it never hurts to measure yourself against your own ideals.)[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Concentrating on your own fortunes - and improving those of others - is guaranteed to generate more satisfaction than sizing up the Joneses. Besides, if you knew everything the other guy was dealing with, you might prefer your own circumstances anyway. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In other words, don't begrudge the other guy his blessings. Count your own, instead. As Mark Twain said, "Pity is for the living, envy is for the dead."[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][Ed. Note: Alexander Green is Chairman of Investment U and Investment Director of The Oxford Club. Although he still writes investment commentary for both publications, he now tackles some of life's more difficult challenges in his free, twice-weekly e-letter Spiritual Wealth.[/FONT]
 

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kurtyordy

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[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Economists Sara Solnick and David Hemenway recently conducted a survey where they asked participants if they would rather earn $50,000 a year while other people made $25,000, or earn $100,000 a year while others got $250,000.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Sit down for this one. The majority of participants selected the first option.[/FONT]
I would pick the first option but not out of envy. If everyone made 25k, then the cost to live would be adjusted down to that point, so I would have 25k extra. However if everyone made 250k, then cost of living would inflate up to that point, so I would barely be able to live on 100k.
 
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mtnman

mtnman

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It was also mentioned in Age of Turbulence...
"4.Transcendency and spirituality" WTH is that?:p
lol Perhaps Mr. Green knows something we don't.
 
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mtnman

mtnman

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I would pick the first option but not out of envy. If everyone made 25k, then the cost to live would be adjusted down to that point, so I would have 25k extra. However if everyone made 250k, then cost of living would inflate up to that point, so I would barely be able to live on 100k.
I thought about that, but I was thinking more about if people really do that subconsciously simply because someone makes more than them. I say subconsciously because I just don't see myself crying about what other people are making when I'm doubling my income.
 

kurtyordy

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I thought about that, but I was thinking more about if people really do that subconsciously simply because someone makes more than them. I say subconsciously because I just don't see myself crying about what other people are making when I'm doubling my income.
yeah, I do not think many people would look at it as deeply as I did.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Nice article, speed++ .... I would have to agree w/much of it w/except to "political involvement" -- I find politics frustrating and not adding much to the happiness quotient.
 

andviv

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I would pick the first option but not out of envy. If everyone made 25k, then the cost to live would be adjusted down to that point, so I would have 25k extra. However if everyone made 250k, then cost of living would inflate up to that point, so I would barely be able to live on 100k.
:iamwithstupid:
 

andviv

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are you calling me stupid? I don't think you know me well enough to do that yet:smxB:
:iagree:
:smx5::banana::tiphat:

About the OP, yes, definitively I prefer to make twice as much as the rest as the cost of living would be in my favor. I don't think most people would chose this just to feel "superior" than the rest, but it is intuitive that making more than the average is better than being at the lower part of the average level of income, don't you think?

I've friends that make 75% of what I make but live in areas where the cost of living is around 66% of my area so at the end of the month they have more money available.
The important figure is the bottom line. How much extra do you have at the end of the month?
So I do find it logical (and not out of envy) that people will prefer making twice as much as the average, don't you?
 

hakrjak

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Envy is a powerful emotion.... I find that I can genuinely respect some of the folks here who have fought hard and gone from rags to riches in a very deserved fashion.

However, when I encounter people in my life that seem really successful -- and then you ask what they did to make their money, and you find out they "come from a wealthy family", well -- that just tweaks me in the wrong way.

I met a guy like this recently who inherited most of his money -- blatantly flaunts his wealth, and brags about his family being "set for life", in a very over-the-top fashion -- and all I wanted to do was smash his face in ;)

Cheers,

- Hakrjak
 

Corrado79

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About the OP, yes, definitively I prefer to make twice as much as the rest as the cost of living would be in my favor. I don't think most people would chose this just to feel "superior" than the rest, but it is intuitive that making more than the average is better than being at the lower part of the average level of income, don't you think?

I've friends that make 75% of what I make but live in areas where the cost of living is around 66% of my area so at the end of the month they have more money available.
The important figure is the bottom line. How much extra do you have at the end of the month?
So I do find it logical (and not out of envy) that people will prefer making twice as much as the average, don't you?
Agree. Money is relative. Its value is instrinsically tied to how much you have versus someone else. If you have more than everyone else, it doesn't matter if it's $1 or $1,000,000, you are still the richest and would live accordingly.
 

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CactusWren

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This is interesting to me. I read somewhere of a similar situation in which people working for a company were asked to vote on whether everyone should get a 10% cut in their salary or just lay off 10% of the employees. this actually happened for real.

As we live in the age of individuality (vs the age of whats best for the community) everyone voted (something over 95%) for the lay off. Surprisingly, all those laid off had actually voted for the lay off, too. They all said "I did not think it would be me..."

I think this is sad, but that's just me. It's human nature in our times.
 

TaxGuy

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just another reason I NEVER want to be an "employee"... granted on the other side of the equation I was lucky in the business I ran that I had none, as in this economy I'm sure it's a tough situation for employers and I guess atleast giving employees such an option is fair...

as for being in that situation it's a tough thing to judge since 10% seems like the odds are with you as far as keeping your job, although at the same time it's a gamble that if you lose, you lose EVERYTHING...

regarding the original post it is also an interesting debate as making 2x as much and being the "top" middle-class household is good for you but you have to deal w/ jealous/envious neighbors while the other end is you are "successful" but have to work hard to "keep up w/ the joneses" and ppl at that level usually are the worst when it comes to being "snobby" i.e. my fiance and I had a run-in w/ an a-hole in a new 328i convertible, granted it took her like 5 tries to parallel park behind him, he still had plenty of room to get out and she only came close to hitting the curb not his "precious" Bimmer and he had to be a complete jerk about it, thankfully for him there was a cop around the corner or else I would've put a nice dent in his smug face, but this is the example of $250k/yr ppl... as for EXTREMELY successful, one of the nicest guys I know is my uncle's friend who is a multi-multi-millionaire...

so long story short... i'll take the $50k in a sea of $25k ppl instead of being around a bunch of snobs :p
 

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