You Have More Money Than You Think

When we focus on wealth inequality, we always focus on the people above us.

We think of Occupy Wall Street protesting outside of investment banks. We think of Bernie Sanders gesticulating wildly while telling us about millionaires and billionaires. We think of Mitt Romney and friends with money coming out of their suits.

How we view the 1%.
How we view the 1%.

Continue reading “You Have More Money Than You Think”

Your Instinctive Thinking Is Losing You Money

Imagine for a moment that you are in the market for a new suit. You find one that you like for $200. A fellow customer then tells you that the same exact suit is on sale across town for only $100. Do you go?

Imagine that you are buying a new car. You’ve done your test drives and made a final decision on which make and model you want. You go to the dealer near your home to find that the car costs $30,000. A salesman sees you eyeing the car and says, “My manager would kill me for saying this, but the dealer on the other side of town has this model for $29,900.” Do you go? Continue reading “Your Instinctive Thinking Is Losing You Money”

Happy Giving Tuesday!

You may have noticed that the last few days have been quite geared towards consumerism.

First, you had Black Friday, which in many places now actually starts on Thanksgiving.

Next came Small Business Saturday, which came about as a response to Black Friday intended to help smaller companies keep up with the big box stores.

And finally, yesterday, we had Cyber Monday, when the online retailers follow suit.

That’s quite a few days aimed directly at getting us to buy more things.

If you’re frustrated by the increasing consumerism and focus on buying stuff that has consumed the weekend after Thanksgiving, you are not alone. One group is trying to shift the focus from consumerism to charity. Continue reading “Happy Giving Tuesday!”

The Ancient Art of Being Thankful for What We Have

In looking into ways of dealing with disappointment we explored the Stoic practice of imagining the things that could go wrong in our lives. This is a great tool for helping us blunt the painful feeling of disappointment that accompanies loss.

However, this is not the only benefit to this practice.

Continue reading “The Ancient Art of Being Thankful for What We Have”

Dealing with Disappointment

There has been a lot of ink spilled discussing the results of the recent presidential election here in the States. I’m going to add to it today.

You can relax, though, because I will not be talking about politics directly.

Instead, I want to talk about dealing with loss and disappointment. Continue reading “Dealing with Disappointment”

I Want to Know What You Want to Know!

Hello, friends!

I recently set up a contact page for this site. The main reason that I did this is to solicit ideas of what you want to learn.

When I created this site, I envisioned an ongoing conversation between myself and you all on ways that we can learn more about ourselves, our brains, and our finances in order to lead happier lives. Continue reading “I Want to Know What You Want to Know!”

Should You Give Meditation a Try?

Hello, friends! If you are an American reader, then happy election day! Please make sure you go out and vote today. I know that this election season has been long, draining, and often demoralizing, but sitting out the election is giving up your chance to weigh in on who should make and enforce the laws. These choices matter! Especially at the state and local level. Google “my ballot” and enter your address for a run down of every office and referendum that you get to vote on. Do your research. Vote. It really does matter.

Now on to your regularly scheduled programming:

I am a person who generally makes decisions based upon logic and rational factors. As such, I avoided trying meditation for a long time. How could doing nothing for a stretch of time every day actually help me?

But then the studies started coming. Science turned its attention to this ancient practice and decidedly said, “Matt is an idiot.” Continue reading “Should You Give Meditation a Try?”

Why Have Houses Gotten More Expensive?

Today I want to revisit the world of housing. As an (almost) 30-something, buying a house is something that I have spent significant time thinking about. If my Facebook feed is any indication, then I am not alone in this.

Specifically, I want to explore the idea that it was more affordable for our parents to buy houses. Is this actually true? And if so, how does it square with the (previously-discussed) fact that the value of your house generally only grows at the rate of inflation? Continue reading “Why Have Houses Gotten More Expensive?”

Hedonic Adaptation is Making You Poor and Unhappy

Hedonic adaptation is the human ability to get used to pretty much any situation. This can be great when bad things happen to us.

One study measured the happiness of people with end-stage kidney disease against the happiness of healthy people. The kidney patients had to spend nine hours per week going through hemodialysis and stick to a strict diet. Both the kidney patients and the healthy controls felt that the healthy people would be significantly happier.

But they weren’t. Despite everything that the patients had to go through, they were just as happy as their healthy counterparts. They had quickly adjusted to their new situation and had adapted to it.

This is a really powerful ability! We can be happy regardless of what we are going through!

The problem is that hedonic adaptation also applies to positive situations. Continue reading “Hedonic Adaptation is Making You Poor and Unhappy”