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 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”
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”
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”
What if I told you that you have access to an investment account that is better than a 401k or an IRA? An account with tax free contributions, tax free growth, and tax free withdrawals for qualified expenses. You even avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes if you contribute directly from your paycheck. (That’s more than you can say for any other account).
Today I want to explore the Health Savings Account (HSA) and how you can use it to build wealth and retire earlier. Continue reading “Get Rich Faster with an HSA”
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”
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?”
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”
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”
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”