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April 30, 2008

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Oz

Thanks for the post, Kent. This is very pertinent for me since I'm about to graduate college and begin thinking more about money. It's a good exercise to help me ponder my relation between money, time, and life.

More money can bring more happiness, I believe, so long as it is directed in the right way.

Individually, studies have shown the happiness money provides begins to taper off after an income of $50,000 a year. Although it depends on where you live, that is quite a healthy sum in my opinion. I know I can't do this forever, but I'm quite happy where I am right now, living with roommates. Outside of costs of education, my living expenses are about $7000 a year.

Beyond that, money has less utility for the individual. However, if moved in other directions, money can bring in another level of happiness. Giving to a charity or cause or building a business and hiring good workers are ways to direct the excess beyond $50,000.

I'm also fond of the phrase "Time is money", although it's never said that "money is time." Either way we look at it, we are exchanging a part of the day for money, where that time can be spent elsewhere. For example, with family, friends, engaging in civic responsibilities, volunteering, philosophy ;), all of which also create happiness. If money can help facilitate this, then more may be better, as long as it doesn't get in the way.

In the end, money should be seen as simply a tool with a purpose. All tools have a limit to what they can do, and are only useful up until that point. They can be set aside after so we can focus on the rest of life.

The Financial Philosopher

Oz:

You bring up many good points and you demonstrate wisdom beyond your years...

If we can separate what we are "taught" from what the great thinkers of history have said for thousands of years, most of us will come to the realization that money is not an significant end but an insignificant means for the purpose of finding a meaningful life...

Everything is an "investment," whether it be time, money, relationships, career choice, and so on. Our goal is to receive a favorable "return" on our investment that aligns with our values...

The one aspect of the future that is certain is that it is uncertain. If you write down on paper where you will be 5 years from now, you will probably not predict it accurately; therefore, you should simply choose a direction (path) and begin walking. Opportunities will present themselves. You simply need to be able to identify them and act on them when you come upon them...

I will close my thoughts with a few quotes, one is a few years old and the other two are a few THOUSAND years old:

"Life is not about making money. Money is about making a life." ~ Mitch Anthony

"If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it." ~ Socrates

"I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person." ~ Socrates

Thanks, as usual, for the comment and please continue to share your perspective with us...

Charles

I enjoyed the "TIME" article titled "How the Brain Rewires Itself". In the section about how Thinking can rewire the brain, a cartoon popped into my head. A man is lying on a hammock with eyes closed. His wife approaches and ask, "What are you doing?". The man replies without opening his eyes, "I'm increasing my mowing skills by mentally visualizing mowing the grass."

Seriously, you may find this article by Dr. Shannon Moffett titled "Sleep, Tetris, Memory and the Brain" interesting. Dr. Moffett states that research shows that a new skill is more likely to be hard wired into the brain if the practice session of the new skill is followed by a one hour nap, or a full night's sleep. Link: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2008/03/24/sleep-tetris-memory-and-the-brain/

I found this 52 minute speech by Dr. John Medina this weekend. Dr. Medina mentions that 60 minutes of aerobic exercise per week improves decision making ability, but not memory skills. Also, long term exposure to the type of stress caused by a perception of "loss of control" will kill cells in the hippocampus part of the brain, which impedes your ability to learn. Dr. Medina also discusses that successful mariages have one common ingredient: the men in the marriage are aware of and sensitive to their partner's emotional needs. Link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=R9Y91gPgI8k

This article in "WIRED" states that software maybe on the way which can make you smarter titled "Forget Brain Age: Researchers Develop Software That Makes You Smarter". Link: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/smart_software

Charles

The Financial Philosopher

Charles:

Thanks for the links! Thus far your interests have aligned closely to mine. The Dr. Moffett article seems especially interesting...

I believe it was a Daniel Goleman book where I read that our brain continues to process thoughts as we sleep and he even suggested that, if we are trying to solve a problem, our brain will continue trying to solve the problem in our sleep!

Thanks again. I'll check out the articles...

Heidi

Hi Kent, I'm randomly browsing your posts in an effort to find a good starting place (or initial post!)

Wonderful place you have here! Don't know how I've missed it this last year of stalking personal finance blogs :P

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I wish you great blessings and love.*

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