Sunday 7 September 2008

The Common Sense Route to Happiness

Research has revealed that Lottery winners and Paraplegics show the same levels of happiness. Can you believe this? One group have came across unbelievable fortune by hitting the million to one chance of picking random numbers. By no skill whatsoever they have been given a cheque for huge amounts of cash - tax free. The other group have had their life decimated by tragedy. It is unlikely that they will be able to look after themselves. Therefore, it is almost incomprehensible to believe that these two groups can be equally happy, and yet that is the case.

This is because happiness is not directly correlated to the amount of money you have in the bank. Happiness is created in your own mind. I think that everyone can actually relate to this if you see enough examples. To my mind, think about the happiness of the man who has just been released from prison. He doesn't think about the pain of the previous period, but rather looks ahead with a fresh sense of freedom to the future. On the other side of the coin, look at the unhappiness of a star such as Kurt Kobain. Thousands in the bank but an inability to find contentment in their life.

For those of us who are Working Class or Middle Class though there are many ways in which Personal Finance and Happiness are intangibly linked. From my own experience I can see an obvious way in which money-in-the-bank and happiness are one and the same. I call it Common Sense - but it's actually an uncommon notion. Here is what I am talking about: If you have been on holiday to "Butlins" and you enjoyed it, then there is no need to upgrade to Disneyworld when you have more cash coming in. Happiness is Happiness. You don't get more Happiness by going to Disneyworld. Media pressure may make you think that way but it just isn't the case. Don't fall for Lifestyle Inflation. The same applies to Cars, Houses, Food, Toys, TVs, Washing Machines etc etc etc.

There used to be a common saying, "be happy with your lot", and although in terms of ambition and your goals in life I would totally disagree with in, in terms of being happy it should actually be the watchword of your life. By sticking with the simplest and cheapest thing that makes you happy, you will find that not only will your life be more fulfilled but also your savings should increase relatively quickly.

The opposite of being happy with your lot is "keeping up with the Joneses". Your next door neighbour gets a conservatory so you want one too. Your best friend gets a new car so you need one too. It's all nonsense - and is by no means the road to happiness. It creates a nature of always wanting more. Unless you have an enormous wage cheque then this process can only lead to misery.

Take action today to find your base line happiness level. I'm happy with a run-around that gets me from A to B so I have no need, want or desire for a Porsche. I'm happy with homemade soup for tea so no need for a takeaway. Set your stall out today and start the good fight against Lifestyle Inflation!

New FREE download available at Ross Taylor is the author of "Mortgages, Money and Magic" and "The No B.S. Credit Crunch Ready Guide to Buy to Let in 2008". Ross is a succesful Financial Adviser specialising in First Time Buyers and Buy to Let. He owns over £2million worth of property in the UK and regularly gives lectures on Financial Planning.

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Anonymous said...

A great post Ross. Attitude and contentment come from within. well done. I have subscribed to your posts and will look forward to more.
Kenny Mc Bride.

honey said...

nice1 i really like it....

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