Happy Friday Everyone! We’re taking a change from guilty pleasures to talk about happiness. Specifically, that age old question, Can Money Buy You Happiness? Please welcome the author of The Power of Happiness, Timothy McKinney!
Plus: He’s offering 3 lucky commenters a chance to win an e-copy of his book! Leave a comment on today’s post to enter, or double your chances by also leaving a comment on my book review of The Power of Happiness here. All comments must be in by Sunday, September 16th 5pm to win!
Can You REALLY Buy Happiness With Money?
“Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.”
-Helen Gurley Brown
This past month, American cultural icon Helen Gurley Brown passed away after a lifetime of helping people challenge their beliefs. And, her quote about money really captures the age-old question, “Can money buy happiness?”
The answer to this question isn’t as simple as one would think. To illustrate the challenge, let’s look at two people—one with money and one without. To keep as many things constant as possible, let’s imagine that these two people are twin brothers, Bill and Bob. They are, of course, the same age, have the same parents, and grew up in the same environment. They have the same level of health and are both in sales. They’re both married and have two children each. The main difference between the two brothers is that Bill made an investment when he was in college that made him a lot of money. Bob invested the same amount in a different company and didn’t see a return on his investment.
Bill and Bob have a sister, Bonnie. One day, Bonnie comes to her brothers and tells them that her husband has left and taken all of their money. She’s got young children and doesn’t know how she’ll make the rent. She asks her brothers for a small loan. Bob is struggling to pay his own rent and doesn’t have any extra to give his sister. He feels awful, but must tell his sister, “I don’t have the money right now, but why don’t you and the kids come over to dinner this weekend. I can’t give you financial support, but I can give you emotional support.” Bill has plenty of money and is easily able to give his sister the money. “Don’t worry about it, Sis. It’s my gift to you.”
Later that week, Bill and Bob’s mother ends up in the hospital after a fall. She’s broken her hip and needs surgery. Unfortunately, her insurance won’t cover the entire cost of the surgery. Bill says to his mother, “It’s okay, Mom. I can cover the gap. You just worry about getting better.” Bob visits his mom, too. He brings her a huge bouquet of flowers and a copy of her favorite book. He spends the afternoon with his mother in the hospital reading to her.
The next month, during the brothers’ annual “Guys Weekend,” Bill and Bob are sitting on a small boat on a lake doing some fishing. The subject of happiness comes up. “Bill, are you happy in your life?” asks Bob.
“Yeah, I am. Of course, there are some things I would change…”
“What would you change, Bill? You have all the money you could possibly want. What would make your life better?”
“Well, Bob, I kind of envy you sometimes. Everyone in the family knows that when there is a financial bind, they can come to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the ability to solve problems with money. But I envy the personal connection that you seem to have with everyone. It’s almost as if because you don’t have the financial resources I have, you’re forced to give another kind of support. Money is the easiest kind of support there is to give, and sometimes I think it makes me a bit lazy. What about you, Bob? Are you happy?”
“Yes, I’m happy. But, I’d change some things, too. I do wish I had more money. I think I would be happier if I did. It makes me feel awful when I can’t help Bonnie or Mom. I feel like if I just had the money to solve their problems, then I wouldn’t have to feel terrible for other people so much.”
The brothers lapsed into silence for a few moments and contemplated this. Finally, Bill broke the silence. “I guess it’s like this. Having money makes it easier to do the things that make you happy. It doesn’t MAKE you happy, but it takes away the stresses that can make happiness elusive.”
Bob agreed. “Yeah. I don’t think that one of us is more or less happy than the other, Bill. We each use the resources we have to do the things we can to make others happy. It’s about serving others and giving, whether it’s money or another form of support.”
This story perfectly captures the paradox of money and happiness. You can be happy with money, or you can be miserable with money. You can be happy without money, or you can be miserable with no money. But, there’s no question that having money can at least ameliorate some of the stresses that can make one unhappy. Perhaps, Henry David Thoreau said it best…
“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
Timothy McKinney lives in Redondo Beach, California with his wife Cindy and their two children, Heather and Robbie. He went to the University of Southern California, where he received degrees in Business and Psychology. Since 1997, Tim has been a corporate trainer who conducts workshops on subjects related to happiness and workplace effectiveness. He is a passionate vegetarian who enjoys SCUBA Diving in the Kelp Forests of Catalina Island.
Big news! Huge! Spectacular! Extra, Extra!
The Life List Club Launches Own Blog!
That’s right guys and gals! The Life List Club has decided to launch their own blog site and make things easier ON YOU! Instead of trying to bounce around between 8 or more blogs on one day, we’ll be able to space out our plethora of viewpoints and encouraging ideas over the course of a month at our site. We’re posting on Wednesdays and Fridays all about achieving goals, and using Mondays for any announcements or guest posts that may occur (hint, hint – Who’s interested?) Please give a round of applause to my co-founder, Marcia Richards who worked doggedly on setting up our site. You can visit us at our new blog, and we’ll officially transfer there the first wednesday of April! Don’t forget, we hang out at the hashtag #LifeListClub too, so you can always give a shout out there!
And Now a Word from our Sponsors:
Ok well not sponsors, I don’t currently have any of those, but if companies like Bath and Body Works, Lush, Target, Barnes and Noble would care to make a contribution, I’m sure it would only do wonders for the ol’ Witkins’ Happiness Project. 😉
It’s time for our Milestone Party!
You can’t have a party without dancing! Previously you’ve raved to Ce Ce Penniston’s Finally, you’ve jammed to Ke$ha’s Tik Tok and here to teach you how to boogie is the Bingo Boys featuring Princessa singing ‘How to Dance!’
The point of a Milestone party is to celebrate the strides you’ve made on your life list. A few months ago I condensed my list to the core necessities, and here’s where I’m at with my progress:
1. Write Everyday – My minimum goal was to write at least 5 things in my gratitude journal each day, with a long term goal of scheduling time each week to get writing done on my book. However, in the last month, I changed projects. Instead of the paranormal young adult novel I was working on, I switched to memoir. Pretty drastic switch there! I got some good tips from my Warrior Writers Boot Camp gang and will be starting to piece together this project in the next weeks. I’m also attending the DFW Writers Conference in May, featuring guest author James Rollins.
(My favorite items to have made the Gratitude Journal lately)
- Writing a letter home
- Crossing paths with 7 young deer while hiking in Hixon Forest
- Reading the fun comments on my Musicalpalooza blog
- Watching the finale of Season 2 The Walking Dead – OMG! What is about to happen??!
- Feeding the ducks down at Riverside Park
- Discovering Joe Lando (Yes! As in Joe Lando who played Sully on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) is playing Cassie’s father on The Secret Circle
2. Read Two Books a Month – I’ve excelled at this goal! In February I read four books, and hope to complete that same number by the end of March. My upscale in reading led to two author interviews for Shifting by Bethany Wiggins and The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund! It was an absolute treat to get to chat with these phenomenal women! I also felt a big push to get to that “To Be Read” Pile and cut out costs of buying more and more books before getting to the ones on my shelf, so I joined the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge. I’ve completed 5 out of my 12 books so far, two more in progress, so I just need to finish writing the reviews.
3. Save Money – I was amazed at how much money I could add to my savings after using my ridiculous star stickered chart to track when I didn’t spend money frivolously! I was able to save up funds to ensure my trip to South Korea is a go! (I leave in a week and a half!) I have yet to meet with a personal banker to find a better savings account and finish Suze Orman’s book, Women and Money.
4. Work out at least once a week – I’m probably most behind in this goal, but I have stepped it up nutritionally. I started keeping a food journal along with my gratitude journal so everything’s in one place. I track what I eat each day, and just writing it down keeps me accountable enough to make sure more fruits and veggies find their way onto the plate. I’ve made some new recipes including CM Stewart’s Green Smoothie! And I’ve definitely been buying more produce instead of junk snacks at the grocery store. On days off, I’ve been good about doing some hiking or walks because I read an article about how even 10 minutes/day in nature can do wonders for anxiety and fatigue issues (which I’ve been battling as of late). The next step is to go full swing with some consistent workouts!
That’s what I’m up to! How ’bout you? Do the Bingo Boys inspire you to take dance lessons? How’s your writing going? Your workouts? What dream vacations are coming up?
AND…any time the Life List Club has a Milestone Party we give away prizes! Drop me a comment below sharing your goals and you’re entered to win a blog swap and I-Tunes Gift Card!
More fabulous prizes to be had! Visit each contributing writer of the LLC for a chance to win:
Marcia Richards Guest post swap and Amazon gift card
Sonia Medeiros A guest post from Sonia or the winner’s work featured on Sonia’s blog
Jenny Hansen A Margie Lawson lecture packet and a $10 Starbuck’s gift card
David Walker A free download of his “Web Wisdom: Inspiration from the Inbox”
Gary Gauthier A choice of 3 eBooks
Lara Schiffbauer A $25 Gift card
Happy Friday Everyone!
It’s official. I’m poor.
For those of you who tuned in to the Life List Club’s last Friday post, I had a little truth to tell regarding one of my life goals. I desperately need to start saving money. You can hear more about it at my guest post for our newest Life List Club contributor, Lara Schiffbauer, in Confessions of a Shopaholic.
With the New Year still looming over me and a reflective eye on my 2011 Life List, the shortcomings of my big plans were staring me square face in the eye. The biggest barrier to making some of my dreams happen: money. So the first thing I did was make a new plan and commit to a visit with a personal banker. I WILL also finish reading Women and Money. I joined piggymojo.com which lets me track the money I save from not buying every impulsive thought that crosses through my brain via text or tweet so I get a nifty graph that shows me what dollar amount I could place in *gasp* savings!
But, I’m a visual learner, so with a little helpful advice from one of my favorite comedic actresses, Amy Sedaris, I took a cue from her latest book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. Amy is full of ideas on what to do with used matchsticks and a jar of modge podge! She’s really my kinda gal.
So in the spirit of Ms. Sedaris, I made myself a little chart, complete with gold stars, cause I’m traditional like that. Please clap for my newest money saving technique: Jess’ $$ Saving Chart for Poor People!
Simply put, I get a gold star whenever I:
- Eat at Home
- Don’t Spend Money at Work (and I work in retail)
- Only Buy Coffee When I Am Writing for an Extended Time
- DON’T Spend Money Frivolously
- Enjoy Free Entertainment
- Put $$ in Savings
At the bottom, I wrote down all my goals that required money to achieve: Visiting South Korea, attending the DFW conference in Texas, visiting Yellowstone National Park, paying off student loans, and having back up for life emergencies (such as, oh I don’t know, getting into a four car pile up on the first big snowfall day – Thanks for nothing, Wisconsin!)
So you see, my method of money saving may be childish and not even particularly pretty to look at, but so far, I’m liking it. It’s doing it’s job, which is keeping me accountable.
And now that I’ve got my crafting feet wet, I’m ready to get started on a whole series of burned matchstick crafts which I will be handing out for Christmas this year! Maybe I’ll auction one off on my blog! If you’re lucky! 😉
Talk to me crafters! Should I add rainbows to my money tracker sheet? What about in the form a thermometer gage? You know ROYGBIV your way to financial freedom?!
How are you all spending less/saving more these days? What are you saving for?