Author Topic: High income but unhappy  (Read 15966 times)

quant

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High income but unhappy
« on: January 31, 2013, 09:58:29 AM »
Hi all,

For all of you who make X, how would you feel if the guy sitting in the cubicle next to you was making 5X? Is it possible to not struggle to get yourself in his position, and define "enough". I just can't do it, even in my mind!

Here's my story. I have worked at a mega bank over the last 5 years after finishing my masters in Finance, and my income last year was 250k. I have a stash of about 550k, and my monthly expenses now are close to 2.5k. Could even cut it down a bit. 

So clearly I am in good financial shape. With the 4% rule, I am close to financial independence, or at best year or two away. I should be happy, right?!

Here's the catch. The guy sitting right next to me made over 1m. I simply cannot stop myself from comparing to him and others, and trying to push harder. Even if I 'logically' know that I have close to enough. If I were to just breathe easy, and continue chugging away, I will keep making close to 200-250k for a few years. But my mind cannot overcome the thoughts of people who are making more and getting frustrated at my inability to push the barrier :(

I am just looking for perspective. How do people who quit the rat race do it? How do you breathe easy knowing that you are walking away from potential millions?

quant

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 10:05:11 AM »
* for those trying to re-concile the low stash with income, the income had not been this high since the beginning and I made a few splurges like buying a new car etc.

Karl

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 10:20:05 AM »
It might help to start thinking in terms of percentages, rather than absolutes.  OK, your colleague has a higher pay then you.  How long, at SWR, does that colleague need to reach FI at his current level of spending?  If you explore it, you may find that he will *not ever* reach it, whereas you will reach that goal within a couple of years.  Does that help your head at all?

tmac

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 10:30:57 AM »
There may also be value in thinking more explicitly about your goals and your quality of life. What is it that makes life good for you? What do you need to do financially and professionally in order to attain it? What are you living for now, and what do you want to be living for? Are those two different things?

If your answer is to reach FI in 10 years, travel a lot, then spend the rest of your life as making furniture and perfecting your chili recipe, do you need that $1m every year? Can you reach it quite well with your current level of income, and without the added workload/stress/maintenance that I'd bet the higher earner needs to manage?

At a much lower level of magnitude, I could have the same issue. My friends from college all make about 4 times what I do, but what they want are big houses, fancy cars, and private schools for their kids. I want a small house, used cars, a relaxed life with time for the kids, and some money left over to travel with. I'm closer to what I want than they are to what they want. I feel pretty good about that.

Jamesqf

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 11:13:41 AM »
Here's the catch. The guy sitting right next to me made over 1m. I simply cannot stop myself from comparing to him and others, and trying to push harder.

So what exactly is the problem here?  From what you've written, the money isn't really the issue, it's your sense of competitiveness.  It's not about how much money you make (which you recognize is plenty), but the fact that you aren't making as much as the other guy.  So you have some options: remove yourself from this competitive environment, redirect your competitiveness into some other field, like bike racing or running, or resign yourself to buckling down to the job and win.

James

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 11:30:49 AM »
So clearly I am in good financial shape. With the 4% rule, I am close to financial independence, or at best year or two away. I should be happy, right?!

Happiness and financial position are not correlated like that.

Ever tried to NOT think about something? Try really really hard to not think about elephants for a full minute... And you could focus on the poor schmuck making 1/4 of your salary, but that probably wouldn't help you either. They are probably happier than you are also. The answer isn't to figure out how to ignore or feel good about what you shouldn't be focusing on. The answer is to focus on the right things. Focus on what YOU want to be doing, both now and in the future. If you don't know then figure that out asap. Like Jamesqf said, remove yourself from that environment to whatever extent you need to.

I'm not saying I don't have some of those same thoughts about some of the people I work with.  I struggle to keep my focus also.  But I know what I want and I know they have no better claim on happiness than myself.

dragoncar

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 11:48:29 AM »
I know that feel -- more so when the other person is not working harder than me.  If they are working harder, I don't sweat it as much.  Haven't really some up with a solution.

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 01:19:05 PM »
OP, I'm betting you're involved in ibanking in some way.  I assume that the guy making 4x what you make either has a different job or has more tenure (or crazy luck, crazy brains, etc.) which accounts for the difference.  You might work for more years, work harder, change roles, get lucky and so on and conceivably make up the difference.  If you're in the same role and others just make more, I think the question is: what accounts for the difference, and are you willing and able to close that distance?  If you're not able to, there's your answer (and it's an honest answer that more people should allow themselves).  If it's within your reach, e.g. building a sales network or business model, working longer or harder, etc. then you're down to whether you're willing to do that.  But there's always a cost.

I think this is where things get interesting.  I have a bit of the same thing, but things got a lot easier when I started tallying up the costs that the '4x'ers' had to pay to get where they were.  They were almost always unhealthy and overweight, sacrificing happiness and lifepan later on most likely.  Or they were divorced or estranged from family (or no time to start one).  Or they were such unethical skuzzballs that I simply could not emulate them.  Or they were so truly lucky or talented that I could never reasonably hope to emulate them.  In no case did I ever find one of these 4x'ers who had the same inputs as I do/did with different outputs.  When I came to the realization that I was simply unwilling to pay the costs noted above, much of the competitiveness and frustration melted away.

TL;DR: Sure you make more, but you're an insufferable jerk who's going to keel over someday soon.  Enjoy that Maserati - I've got the rest of my life to live in a way that's true to myself.

quant

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 01:53:33 PM »
"From what you've written, the money isn't really the issue, it's your sense of competitiveness.  It's not about how much money you make ..."

Yes, Spot on. I can't seem to turn off that competitiveness. I was more happy as a poor grad student, when I hung out with other grad students. Now I am constantly upset when I spend most of the time with 4Xers!

Fortunately frugality comes easy to me. I don't struggle to get the mansion, sports car, but I struggle coz of the somewhat fuzzy fear of being 'left behind'. I like your suggestion of turning my competitive spirit towards pursuits other than money.

kisserofsinners

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 01:57:23 PM »
Women and minorities deal with this everyday. It doesn't matter what the other person makes. Keep your focus on you. Stick to your plan. The other guy has another plan and all sorts of data will reflect those differences.

It doesn't matter. Being competitive here is not going to help.

Good Luck

quant

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2013, 02:11:30 PM »
"I know that feel -- more so when the other person is not working harder than me.  If they are working harder, I don't sweat it as much."

Agree. If the person is working harder or is smarter, it's not as much an issue. But I notice it to be a huge element of being in the right place at the right time. Someone quit and your colleague was right in position to get his lucrative spot. Your mentor pulled the right strings for you or he himself got fired leaving you somewhat of an orphan! This kind of turmoil happens a lot more in banking compared to other industries, I think.

So a lot of things outside your control determine the outcome. Unfortunately, it's not as straightforward as 4Xer working that many times harder or being that much smarter.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 03:23:21 PM »
http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2769#comic

What does it matter that he's across from you? Tons of people make millions and billions in a year.

WageSlave

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2013, 03:29:00 PM »
I'm in a somewhat similar situation.  The guy sitting right next to me doesn't make 5x what I do, but people only a few seats away easily make that much, possibly 10x or even 50x.  I'm not so much concerned with the fact that they make (significantly) more; it's more about trying to decide when to walk away from the big pay I'm receiving (relative to most people in general).

So I suspect that while our specifics are different, ultimately it's a question of values.  Which do you value more: making the big big bucks, or financial independence?  MMM himself said in a recent post (perhaps it was in the comments) that if his old job offered him $1mm for a one-year contract, he'd turn it down.  He knows his own values well enough to confidently say that his sources of maximum happiness are effectively decoupled from money.  In other words, $1mm won't make him any happier, so why bother?

Also, you didn't mention any specifics regarding your position versus the 5X earner sitting next to you.  In my case, the guys with the seven+ figure incomes have (1) substantially more experience than me, and (2) work (or at least have worked) significantly longer hours than me.  I whine about 55 hour workweeks, but I know one guy here who used to regularly work 80 hours Monday through Friday (16-hour days!) plus six to 10 hours on the weekends.  If that's what it takes, then no thanks.

A $250k+ income, combined with MMM-level spending, makes early retirement achievable in effectively the blink of an eye.  But when you make those big bucks, I think the temptation is that you could work just a little longer and early retire into a typical middle class lifestyle (i.e. relax the frugality drive a bit).  Or, you can constantly second-guess yourself as to how big of a safety net you need, for example, "two more years and my annual expenses drop from 4% to 3% of my portfolio".

Finally, one thing I try to constantly remind myself: sure, there are people right here making 5X+ what I do.  But on a national scale, I'm making 5X more than the average person.  And on a global scale... well, I just have to remind myself how incredibly fortunate I am.

Perhaps a strategy for you might be this: don't worry about whether or not you want to make the jump to the 5X position.  First define what your current FI number is.  Focus only on achieving that.  Once you hit it, then you can revisit the question: "do I want to take my career to the next level, or say good enough?"  The idea is, separate the FI goal from the career goal.


amyable

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2013, 03:43:14 PM »
But my mind cannot overcome the thoughts of people who are making more and getting frustrated at my inability to push the barrier :(

Do you think it's possible that your sense of self-worth is tied up in this?  It's not about the money, so it really has to be about your self-esteem.  Other than making ridiculous amounts of money, what makes you feel good about yourself? 

Spork

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2013, 04:54:04 PM »
The way I see it there are a few options:

1) Grit your teeth, save hard, walk away when you hit FI.
2) Realize this is too much, walk away, work somewhere else (possibly for less) or just take a break for a while.

#2 isn't necessarily a bad option.  I wasn't making nearly the amount you're talking about... but I left a really good paying job (where I was miserable).  I picked up and moved (with no replacement in site) and went to a higher cost of living area where pay was 40% less (and it took me 3 years to find that job).   Complainypants?  Hell no.  That was the best move of my life.  I had 3 years of awesome happyfuntimes with the wife and live minutes away from aging/ailing parents.  And to top that off, I got 2 years of several days a week contact with a father in law (that passed away) and my mother (who came down with dementia).  Those times would never have happened without it.

WhatMomWears

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 05:16:15 PM »
I left an Ibank job and have never been happier. It was soul sucking. The competition, jealousy and desire to outdo your neighbor was just....awful. Every year around bonus time was the absolute worst. Left and never looked back though it took me well over 2 years to get the competitiveness out of my system.

Jamesqf

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 06:55:39 PM »
Fortunately frugality comes easy to me. I don't struggle to get the mansion, sports car, but I struggle coz of the somewhat fuzzy fear of being 'left behind'. I like your suggestion of turning my competitive spirit towards pursuits other than money.

Though I'm not really all that competitive by nature, I do quite a bit of the redirection myself.  Though in my case it's not so much winning the race or making more money, as it is thinking about how much better I am (not to brag, you understand) at so many other things.  E.g. the guy in the hypothetical next cubicle may make more money, but I've got 6-pack abs vs his beer gut, spend my weekends hiking/biking/skiing/riding the horse, while he plays golf, etc.

travelbug

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2013, 08:36:56 PM »
MMM himself said in a recent post (perhaps it was in the comments) that if his old job offered him $1mm for a one-year contract, he'd turn it down.  He knows his own values well enough to confidently say that his sources of maximum happiness are effectively decoupled from money.  In other words, $1mm won't make him any happier, so why bother?


A $250k+ income, combined with MMM-level spending, makes early retirement achievable in effectively the blink of an eye.  But when you make those big bucks, I think the temptation is that you could work just a little longer and early retire into a typical middle class lifestyle (i.e. relax the frugality drive a bit).  Or, you can constantly second-guess yourself as to how big of a safety net you need, for example, "two more years and my annual expenses drop from 4% to 3% of my portfolio".

Perhaps a strategy for you might be this: don't worry about whether or not you want to make the jump to the 5X position.  First define what your current FI number is.  Focus only on achieving that.  Once you hit it, then you can revisit the question: "do I want to take my career to the next level, or say good enough?"  The idea is, separate the FI goal from the career goal.

That MMM comment in the blog comments really hit home to me too. It made me realise how caught up in the amount we had I was.

We are also doing the "just a bit more" thing. We have hit our FI goal but now think: just another year...

OP, I understand the competitive nature you have. After being focused on FI and saving to get there for so long, it's tricky to turn off and refocus into another area of life, but I think that's they key. Recognise it as a positive virtue and harness it in a different direction.

That's what I am trying to do anyway.

Tyler

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2013, 09:15:45 PM »
I worked in Silicon Valley for a while, and while I made pretty good money there's absolutely no question that some of the people I worked with made huge money.  It never bothered me. 

My personal philosophy is to never talk about salary with anyone but your spouse and to take pride in what you do no matter the compensation.  You'll be happier, and others will assume you're the big dog because of the projected confidence.

happy

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2013, 11:44:49 PM »
I work in a profession where everyone who made it needed to be competitive and success driven or they would not have gotten through. But I've been downshifting for 17 years, so I am familiar with some of these feelings. MMM has even written a post on thishttp://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/21/embracing-the-nagging-voice-of-success/.

I find I'm happily settled in my own little downshifting zone and then will spend some time with a successful colleague making 4X and wham, I'm off and running and competing and maybe even the green-eyed monster is starting to appear.   Then I need to remove myself from the "competitive zone" and indulge some reflection , self-talk and recall what is important to me and why I've made the decisions I have.  I've done this cycle endlessly. I've gotten better at it. It can still get me off guard. I've learned to accept it as one of the tensions of taking the road lesser travelled. Making sure you spend sufficient time out of the "competitive zone" to stay true to yourself, is important because we tend to act in a tribal way i.e. without realising it we can become similar to those around us.



 

Phoebe

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2013, 09:44:28 AM »
Quote
A $250k+ income, combined with MMM-level spending, makes early retirement achievable in effectively the blink of an eye.  But when you make those big bucks, I think the temptation is that you could work just a little longer and early retire into a typical middle class lifestyle (i.e. relax the frugality drive a bit).  Or, you can constantly second-guess yourself as to how big of a safety net you need, for example, "two more years and my annual expenses drop from 4% to 3% of my portfolio".

Wageslave - This rings very true to me.  Just the other night I was telling my husband that I'm worried I never will retire because it's so much money to walk away from - money that after I have more than I could ever want, I could give to family members to change their lives.  Then will I regret not living large the entire time?  These feelings come and go in waves, but I haven't solved the nagging worry.  Let me know if you do :)

dragoncar

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2013, 10:14:39 AM »
Quote
A $250k+ income, combined with MMM-level spending, makes early retirement achievable in effectively the blink of an eye.  But when you make those big bucks, I think the temptation is that you could work just a little longer and early retire into a typical middle class lifestyle (i.e. relax the frugality drive a bit).  Or, you can constantly second-guess yourself as to how big of a safety net you need, for example, "two more years and my annual expenses drop from 4% to 3% of my portfolio".

Wageslave - This rings very true to me.  Just the other night I was telling my husband that I'm worried I never will retire because it's so much money to walk away from - money that after I have more than I could ever want, I could give to family members to change their lives.  Then will I regret not living large the entire time?  These feelings come and go in waves, but I haven't solved the nagging worry.  Let me know if you do :)

Same here -- I started out at ERE, and I certainly have enough to retire into that way of life.  But I keep thinking "if I stick around a couple more years, I can retire to MMM level spending... if I stick around 5 years, I can have something left over for more security ... if I stick around til I'm 50, I can retire with my current salary (which I don't nearly spend)." 

I may need a jolt like unplanned unemployment or some kind of large life event to finally pull the cord.

eyePod

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2013, 10:57:52 AM »
Bill gates has a good perspective.  Granted, he's on the top end of it...


MooreBonds

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2013, 10:16:51 PM »

So I suspect that while our specifics are different, ultimately it's a question of values.  Which do you value more: making the big big bucks, or financial independence?  MMM himself said in a recent post (perhaps it was in the comments) that if his old job offered him $1mm for a one-year contract, he'd turn it down.  He knows his own values well enough to confidently say that his sources of maximum happiness are effectively decoupled from money.  In other words, $1mm won't make him any happier, so why bother?

While additional funds may not make someone happier, the peace of mind knowing that you never have to worry about money again is different.

There have been a few discussions in the MMM forums about the realistic take on a 50-year retirement horizon and the need to be far more conservative with a 2.75%-3% withdrawal rate, versus the (seemingly) unbridaled optimism of the oft-quoted 4% WR and their ignoring of the true historical and global perspective compared to other developed nations' safe withdrawal rates coupled with the under-estimated budgets that can creep up in your 50s/60s/70s.

It's true that someone pulling several hundred thousand a year is more vulnerable to lifestyle creep and 'one more year' syndrome for the purposes of making their ER more lavish, but it simply comes down to picking a logical withdrawal rate, estimating a sound average budget, and working for that goal. If you want to suffer the stress and hours of 3 more years to beef up the budget, versus spending 10-20 years in your 50s and 60s worrying about a declining portfolio and thinking "if only I had toughed it out for just 1 more year when I was in my 30s", it's something you have to decide on.

But also realize there's a definite noticeably different feeling you have once you are on the cusp of being FI and could RE if you wanted to. At that point, you realize that you don't have to suffer through the BS at your job and could quit at any time. Just like having a $10MM net worth and only needing to spend $100k/year for fun would give you a completely bulletproof peace of mind even if you never spend all of it, reaching FI and simply having the power to quit at any time can radically change your mindset and bring a feeling of freedom that you never experienced. Perhaps you will reach that nirvana where the stress isn't nearly as stressful before? I know that as my portfolio inches closer, I'm definitely in a healthier state of mind where virtually no BS effects me (I still want to do the best job possible-but many of the things that used to bother me, don't anymore because I have the knowledge that I almost have the power to walk away at any time if I need to).

DoubleDown

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2013, 09:30:41 AM »
Another great post MooreBonds! I, too, have noticed the shift in mindset and appreciate being able to ignore the BS at work. Of course, the double-edged side of it is that you can feel ER and it's so close, within grasp.... But still a great place to be overall!

BlueMR2

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2013, 11:12:54 AM »
For all of you who make X, how would you feel if the guy sitting in the cubicle next to you was making 5X? Is it possible to not struggle to get yourself in his position, and define "enough". I just can't do it, even in my mind!

In a not as extreme way, I understand.  I'm kind of in the middle of the pay range for my job.  A couple buildings down there are people making half what I do for the same work.  Just a mile up the road the other way I know people making twice what I do despite having less skill/experience.  There is some manner of luck in all things employment.  I've seen some terrible workers end up with super high paying jobs and some really great people end up stuck in low-paying dead end places.  It's *very* difficult to be content when I see someone just up the road making that kind of money while turning out inferior work, but sometimes that's just how it is.  I just have to keep telling myself that I do have enough and that I should be content.  Unfortunately, I fall into the "go-getter" category, so it's really hard for me...

JT

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2013, 04:17:57 AM »
I am in the same boat - comparing myself with everyone and not being happy.  My income is nowhere near as good as yours though and it's in kiwi dollars!

The thing I've done to overcome extreme unhappiness is to set a goal - which happened to be for my savings.  This worked a treat because instead of focusing on what everyone else had, I focused on what I could achieve.  Fortunately, I got really focused and went way past the savings goal originally set and now I'm very proud of myself!

Also, if you become excellent with your mustachian ways, you may notice the guys/gals earning million dollar salaries and their spending patterns.  How many are turning income into investments?

I know someone who's earning a $200K salary and my equity is better than his despite my lower salary!

Also, what's stopping you from earning mega mega money?

Go well.


momo

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2013, 10:08:24 AM »
For all of you who make X, how would you feel if the guy sitting in the cubicle next to you was making 5X? Is it possible to not struggle to get yourself in his position, and define "enough". I just can't do it, even in my mind!

...

Here's the catch. The guy sitting right next to me made over 1m. I simply cannot stop myself from comparing to him and others, and trying to push harder. Even if I 'logically' know that I have close to enough. If I were to just breathe easy, and continue chugging away, I will keep making close to 200-250k for a few years. But my mind cannot overcome the thoughts of people who are making more and getting frustrated at my inability to push the barrier :(

I agree with many of the ideas suggested especially MooreBonds and WageSlave. One thing I find for myself is the more I compare with others the less happy I become over time. Since few of us know exactly what sacrifices the person next to us made to accomplish a higher income, why waste the energy comparing? "More" isn't necessarily a bad thing, however I think the key is being happy/content with what you have achieved while still working hard to reach your life goals. This takes balance and I find one of the greatest things you can control in life is your positive attitude . Your attitude is essential to being happy and keeping balance in life. So if your main goal is financial independence, then in addition to calculating the numbers, how about practicing some stoicism and acknowledging what you have already done? Appreciating ALL that you do have and are blessed with, versus what you do not have helps raise optimism and greater awareness.

Another idea, have you really looked at what kind of life you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? A very wise friend of mine once told me he completed his eulogy in his 20s and he read it to me. His eulogy painted a lush colorful story of hope, happiness, laughter, family, hardships, friendships and love. He created his life that was not defined by the material riches he acquired on his journey to freedom. And yet he was extremely "rich" in all aspects. How do you define rich? Also, he told me when he was in his 20s he profoundedly wanted a way to plan how he wanted his loved ones to remember him and remind himself which life values defined him. After listening to his eulogy I definitely understood his vision of freedom because he took the time to look at his endgame. He was able to clearly define and plan out his life. His sense of direction gave him purpose and this helped him get back on track during rough patches along his journeys. So consider trying drafting your own eulogy and maybe you too can discover/define what freedom really means to you.

Spork

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2013, 10:40:25 AM »


Another idea, have you really looked at what kind of life you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? ...

I am not a religious person, but this reminds me of something I once heard a preacher say.  To me, this was the most important thing I've ever heard a preacher say....

"I've sat on the deathbeds of hundreds of men.  Not one has ever told me 'I wished I had spent more time at work.'"

momo

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2013, 01:55:36 PM »


Another idea, have you really looked at what kind of life you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? ...

I am not a religious person, but this reminds me of something I once heard a preacher say.  To me, this was the most important thing I've ever heard a preacher say....

"I've sat on the deathbeds of hundreds of men.  Not one has ever told me 'I wished I had spent more time at work.'"

This is true. I've never heard anyone say at a funeral I wish I had more money or that I worked harder. But perhaps those people lived different lives? I am not religious but what the preacher said makes sense.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2013, 01:59:30 PM by Stashtastic Momo »

skarn

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2013, 03:52:07 AM »
To OP: I understand your competitive drive, but you're right in pointing out that some perspective is needed. MMM might call it a facepunch ;)

Volunteer. Or get in a position where you can see society for what it is instead of your narrow circle. Travel. Stop hanging out around people who make you unhappy - that is your crowd of colleagues.

It's a bit morbid, but getting that "deathbed" perspective will help too.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/28/my-faith-what-people-talk-about-before-they-die/

dragoncar

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2013, 12:17:13 PM »


Another idea, have you really looked at what kind of life you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? ...

I am not a religious person, but this reminds me of something I once heard a preacher say.  To me, this was the most important thing I've ever heard a preacher say....

"I've sat on the deathbeds of hundreds of men.  Not one has ever told me 'I wished I had spent more time at work.'"

This is true. I've never heard anyone say at a funeral I wish I had more money or that I worked harder. But perhaps those people lived different lives? I am not religious but what the preacher said makes sense.

I'm sure some have said "I wish I had retired early so I could do X, Y, and Z... to bad I never earned+saved enough to do that!"

totoro

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2013, 12:42:15 PM »
Can you change the focus to happiness?  If you measure your success in this you have some ways to go. 

I look at value in terms of "does this increase or decrease my happiness and that of my family members".  I quit a big firm job based on this analysis.  I am definitely happier with my free time and lifestyle control.

You will likely find that once you are not hanging out with these folks you won't remember what it was like to feel the influence of their focus/definition of success. 

Surround yourself with more like-minded people and it becomes easy and satisfying. 

I think there is a fundamental shift that can take place here which would allow you to find out what really does make you happy - and pursue it.

quant

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2013, 06:01:33 PM »
Thanks for all the responses!

I like the idea of measuring success by happiness :) The only thing I should really compare with someone is 'happiness' itself. And since that is a mental choice we make, it won't have the feeling of helplessness that we feel when we compare other things which might look 'unfair'. The other guy is happier? Heck, I can choose to be equally happy anyway.

Today I just focused on being positive, optimistic, being less 'in my head' so to say. And I feel so much better!

tooqk4u22

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2013, 08:52:06 AM »
Also, you didn't mention any specifics regarding your position versus the 5X earner sitting next to you.  In my case, the guys with the seven+ figure incomes have (1) substantially more experience than me, and (2) work (or at least have worked) significantly longer hours than me.  I whine about 55 hour workweeks, but I know one guy here who used to regularly work 80 hours Monday through Friday (16-hour days!) plus six to 10 hours on the weekends.  If that's what it takes, then no thanks.

This is the key element that is missing as the OP comes off a bit entitled with the comments - there are a lot of variables that result in a person making a lot more money than the next person - more hours, more experience, better work product, being more political, producing more revenue, better connected and networking skills, etc.).  Even some of the stuff that OP suggests is luck isn't really that - the boss will always give the job and pay to the guy/gal who has been with them longer and are trusted and good performers.  Its always better to be in the inner circle and align with other managers that are also in high performers and in the inner circle.  But it is still business so even you do all the right things, but your boss gets blown out then the new one may have their own inner circle and you migth not be part of it - it happened to me, oh well.

Absolutely pick your values and separate FI goal from Career goal as Wageslave suggested and know what it takes to succeed in both.

momo

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Re: High income but unhappy
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2013, 10:15:10 AM »
quant: Have you considered looking at what is really important to you in your life? How will you define happiness and balance in your life? I often like to examine things from a reversed perspective just the present. This AARP shares helpful ideas on the top five regrets of dying. http://www.aarp.org/relationships/grief-loss/info-02-2012/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying.html Hope it helps. Cheers!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 10:18:01 AM by Stashtastic Momo »