Why We Have Trouble Making a Change

When faced with a tough decision, most people choose to do nothing.

This is the basis of the Status Quo Bias, first proven in a series of experiments in 1988 out of Harvard. The general idea is that people are emotionally attached to the current state of affairs and are skeptical of any change from that baseline.

This means that we tend to need overwhelming proof to make a change, even when that change would be the better option. Continue reading “Why We Have Trouble Making a Change”

Finding Happiness Through Flow

If you stop and think about the times when you were most happy in your life, you probably don’t think of times when you were sitting around and watching television. Instead, maybe you’ll think about a time you skied a difficult slope. Maybe you’ll think about a time where you were hanging out with your friends or playing with your kids. Maybe you’ll think about completing a challenging task.

The thing that ties our happiest moments together tends to be that we are completely engaged with what we are doing and lose track of time.

This is a state called flow. Understanding flow is a key to living our happiest life. Continue reading “Finding Happiness Through Flow”

Why You Should Be Watching More Sports

There are plenty of reasons to watch sports. Some of these are obvious, like the raw entertainment value that most people get from watching their sport of choice. Others are less obvious, like the networking benefits of having an arsenal of non-work-related topics to discuss.

If you are interested in a deep dive on sports fandom and society, I would recommend checking out Daniel Wann’s book, Sports Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators.

Today, though, I specifically want to discuss a few of the ways that watching sports (and having a team that you root for) can make you a happier person. Continue reading “Why You Should Be Watching More Sports”

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

I studied Stoicism before it was cool.

Okay, cool might be a bit of a stretch. It has gotten a lot more attention over the last few years, though.

Tim Ferris adopted it as his operating system. Ryan Holliday wrote a book about it that was adopted by pro sports teams. It has even made its way into the financial independence blogosphere. Continue reading “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”

What to Do When Everyone is Above Average

In Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

So says Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companion, and creator of the fictional town.

While all of the women in a given location could be strong and all the men could be good looking, the idea of all of the children being above average is an interesting paradox. Continue reading “What to Do When Everyone is Above Average”

Spending for Maximum Happiness

Last week I argued that the cost of happiness is actually significantly less than the commonly-cited $75,000. This, I argued, is because we are bad at knowing which spending will make us happier and which will not.

This may lead you (quite justifiably) to ask me to back this up. If I claim that people should spend their money differently, then how do I think they should spend it? And can I prove that they will be happier?

So today I want to talk about an area of spending that has great return on investment when it comes to happiness: spending on others. Continue reading “Spending for Maximum Happiness”

Introduction to Financial Independence

So now we understand the 4% rule and we know how to figure out our retirement number. We also know how to invest and use compound interest to help us hit that number.

If you stop and think about this for a moment, you will realize that there is no connection between the numbers above and any sort of age. We’re not saying that you will be able to retire when you hit 62 or 65 or 59.5.

You can retire when you hit your number.

And that could be sooner than you thought possible. Continue reading “Introduction to Financial Independence”

Defeating Decision Fatigue in a World of Choices

We live in a world where decisions abound. We have a plethora of options when it comes to just about everything. The alarm goes off and we decide whether to get up or hit the snooze button. We decide what to eat for breakfast. We decide which shampoo and soap and toothpaste to use. We decide which clothes to wear. We decide what method of transportation to use to get to work. We decide which route to take.

And that’s all before getting to our desk on a simple morning. Continue reading “Defeating Decision Fatigue in a World of Choices”

How Much Does Happiness Really Cost?

It has become common in the personal finance space to refer to $75,000 as the amount of money it takes to buy happiness. It has been adjusted for cost of living to see how much happiness costs in your state. (This despite the fact that researchers later clarified that the $75,000 figure was independent of cost of living, including New York City specifically.) It even inspired one CEO to raise his employees’ salaries.

But is it really true? Continue reading “How Much Does Happiness Really Cost?”