Hustlinghustling wrote: ↑Wed May 06, 2020 11:29 pm
protagonist wrote: ↑Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:25 pm
ThankYouJack wrote: ↑Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:43 pm
I'm curious for those who were able to make increase in their lifestyle, what things actually made you happier?
And I went from poverty to being quite comfortable.
What made me happier were not "things":
- a partner who loves and respects me and vice versa
- a daughter who loves and respects me and vice versa
- a job I enjoyed and found satisfying
- good friends
- learning to play the saxophone and playing with others
- retiring and thus reducing my stress level
- simplifying my life
Probably some other things as well, but those are the first that come to mind.
As far as "increase in lifestyle", I can't say my current possessions have made me any happier than I recall being when I was basically what people call a "hippie" in the late 1960s-early 1970s, hitchhiking for transportation, almost never going out to eat (I couldn't afford it), and living in cheap apartments with several roommates. At one point I lived for about 6 weeks on $20- made a pot of beans and rice on a hot plate at the beginning of each week and made it last all week until I got a job with a paycheck. Now I have a nice home and car, travel when I want to and eat where I please, do what I want to do without thinking much about cost, and should be set for the rest of my life without working. I enjoy what I have now in terms of possessions (I never went in for "luxury"), but none of it makes me fundamentally any happier- being a hippie with almost nothing was really fun, and I learned a lot from the rich experiences I had. I have great stories to tell. What makes me happier are the items above.
If you think "things" make people happy, walk down Wall Street, look at the first 100 people you see, and count how many of them are smiling. Then do the same on some relatively poor Caribbean island. Compare results.
There's a bias to view poverty with a romantic lens with the aim to critique our first world materialism. It's a message with a compelling emotional power but often becomes a caricature of itself in assigning virtue and inner peace to the poor and a materialistic nihilism to the rich, often undermining the legitimate points it holds in the process. To be fair, much of the list above was presumably made possible directly or indirectly through the time, environment, good health and resources that money afforded you. It doesn't have to be a "thing", per se.
To be crude with it, even when it's people that matter, there's no doubt that financial status - all other things equal - increases someone's options for a spouse or even whether they will be considered at all for marriage. This is especially so for men. Not necessarily fair or desirable .. it just is.
As for my list:
- heated toilet seats and bidet
- business class flights
- online subscriptions to streaming content (Blinkist, Apple Music, Great Courses Plus, for example)
Oh yeah, I forgot about my heated toilet seat (that cost about $100 if my memory serves me well). OK, you've got me there.
That said, I take issue with your implication that I view poverty with a romantic lens. There is nothing romantic about poverty. I've been there. I am merely stating that, in my life, I have been poor, I have been pretty rich, and I have been something in between, and I can honestly say that it was the non-material things that were affecting my outlook on life and happiness at all points. Of course, given the choice, I would rather be rich than poor. But I don't see any significant correlation between my happiness and how much money I had or didn't have. Nor do I think my wealth had anything to do with my having a spouse and a daughter and friends that love me, as I think you suggested. In fact, when I was at my wealthiest (before a combination of divorce and the 2008 crash and job loss took about 75% of my savings), I was much less happy, since my marriage was failing (as you imply, men may seem more attractive to many women if they are rich, but not necessarily the right kind of women, and the men may not figure that out until it is too late). And I had less meaningful friendships, because I didn't have as much time for them.
I have less money now than I did 15 years ago but I am much happier. I'm not particularly frugal...I buy what I want and do not budget. I have not experienced lifestyle creep (unless you want to define that by my heated toilet seat). I live in a MCOL community by choice because I like it here, and my saxophone is worth more than my car. If I had more money I wouldn't know what to buy with it. I can't imagine what material goods would make me happier.
Of course, we are all different.... maybe that is just me and lifestyle creep has made others happy, I don't know.