Author Topic: How much is happiness worth?  (Read 3405 times)

amc

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How much is happiness worth?
« on: February 09, 2016, 07:48:37 PM »
So far, I've eliminated most, if not all bullshit spending from my life. I can't start a Vanguard account until May, but when I do, I have a few thousand ready to invest.

As of now, the plan is to go get a degree in engineering, graduate debt free via financial aid and summer jobs, and work my butt off for thr next 6+ years after that until I achieve FI. Maybe I'll do the marriage thing after that, but retirement first! The goal is by 30, I'm 17 now.

Right now, I'm paying  $140 a month for boxing lessons, and here's where I get to my question. I really, really love boxing. Not just boxing, but physical activities in general, so also stuff like swing dancing, ice skating, tango, weightlifting, and hiking. It's the kind of thing that makes me smile, and think, "Wow, this is amazing! I'm so glad to be alive! I wish I could do this stuff every day or two for the rest of my life!" But activities like these are expensive, and I know they're going to cost me many thousands of dollars that could have been invested over the years.

Is it worth paying for activities like these through my twenties while I'm working, or will I be happier cutting off all extra activities, and stashing every free dollar I make until independence? How many years of labor would, say, $200/month add to my current plan? Other than that, I plan to live off the bare essentials to maintain good health, ride a bike to work, cook my own food, etc.


yakamashii

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2016, 08:13:38 PM »
Sounds like $140 a month is worthwhile for an activity that

makes me smile, and think, "Wow, this is amazing! I'm so glad to be alive! I wish I could do this stuff every day or two for the rest of my life!"

Physical activities are gold in your youth. Don't wait. You'll never be this flexible/energetic/etc. again!

GrowingTheGreen

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2016, 08:18:33 PM »
You've got to find your balance.  Personally, I don't see anything wrong with shelling out $140/mo if all of your other finances are extremely dialed in.

tobitonic

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 08:31:02 PM »
So far, I've eliminated most, if not all bullshit spending from my life. I can't start a Vanguard account until May, but when I do, I have a few thousand ready to invest.

As of now, the plan is to go get a degree in engineering, graduate debt free via financial aid and summer jobs, and work my butt off for thr next 6+ years after that until I achieve FI. Maybe I'll do the marriage thing after that, but retirement first! The goal is by 30, I'm 17 now.

Right now, I'm paying  $140 a month for boxing lessons, and here's where I get to my question. I really, really love boxing. Not just boxing, but physical activities in general, so also stuff like swing dancing, ice skating, tango, weightlifting, and hiking. It's the kind of thing that makes me smile, and think, "Wow, this is amazing! I'm so glad to be alive! I wish I could do this stuff every day or two for the rest of my life!" But activities like these are expensive, and I know they're going to cost me many thousands of dollars that could have been invested over the years.

Is it worth paying for activities like these through my twenties while I'm working, or will I be happier cutting off all extra activities, and stashing every free dollar I make until independence? How many years of labor would, say, $200/month add to my current plan? Other than that, I plan to live off the bare essentials to maintain good health, ride a bike to work, cook my own food, etc.



There's always something you could cut. Not a single person here is living as frugally as they absolutely could; the point, as I see it, is to simply make sure what you keep is worth it to you. I wouldn't pay $140 for boxing lessons because I'm not interested in boxing, but we paid more than $3,000 for a piano a few weeks ago because we love music. It's all about priorities.

And of course, your life is going to change a lot between 17 and 30. Don't get too fixated on the FIRE thing, even though it might seem like an awesome idea now. When I was around your age, the ERE blog was just getting off the ground and it really resonated with my feelings about society. My plan was to buy a Lowe's shed in cash and work as little as possible to have as much time as possible to just live. Now I'm about where your target age is, and I live in a much larger house (though still much smaller than the US average), am married, have two kids, work full time and have no current plans to retire anytime soon. I make more from a side job than I do from my day job (which, in spite of a lot of annoyances, is a very meaningful one to me becase it involves working with children), and could easily afford to stay home for the foreseeable future. We're considering private school for our kids, and plan to pay for all of their college educations if possible. Have I lost my ERE principles? Not at all. I still love tiny houses, still enjoy minimalism, etc...but there are now things I value more, like my wife and children.

Life changes in so many baffling ways.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 08:33:21 PM by tobitonic »

Basenji

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2016, 06:00:27 AM »

Ricky

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 06:30:24 AM »
It's not now much the happiness is worth - that's going to differ for nearly everyone*. It's how much is delaying your FI worth? Stick to a savings rate and don't sweat the rest.

*I personally don't inherently value happiness because it's always temporary and sometimes far more difficult to try to create than it is to just sit back and let happen. I find having a good attitude and blocking out negative thoughts generally leads to greater happiness regardless of what you're doing though. Doing something you enjoy sometimes won't always bring you happiness so there's no guarantee.

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2016, 06:51:30 AM »
I'm extremely frugal, but pay for an indoor climbing gym membership during the off-season. Like you, it makes me insanely happy. The point of MMM, to me at least, is to realize what makes you happy and what doesn't, so that you can flush out spending that doesn't increase your happiness, and thus focus on the activities and occasional spending those necessitate, that do. If boxing and hiking and those things make you happy to be alive, they are absolutely worth it. Our time on this earth is limited, being frugal in other areas allows you the freedom to choose to do things that make your time worthwhile to you.

BTDretire

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2016, 09:33:08 AM »

The goal is by 30, I'm 17 now.
Right now, I'm paying  $140 a month for boxing lessons, and here's where I get to my question. I really, really love boxing. Not just boxing, but physical activities in general, so also stuff like swing dancing, ice skating, tango, weightlifting, and hiking. It's the kind of thing that makes me smile, and think, "Wow, this is amazing! I'm so glad to be alive! I wish I could do this stuff every day or two for the rest of my life!" But activities like these are expensive, and I know they're going to cost me many thousands of dollars that could have been invested over the years.

So, figure out how to charge people to do it with you, Teach!
But only as a side hussle, at least to begin or maybe for 13 years.

Quote
How many years of labor would, say, $200/month add to my current plan?
$52,203 is $200 a month compounded at 7% for 13 years, $65,430 if you can get 10%.
How many years of labor for you to save $50k+?
Online calculator.
http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm
 None of that matters now, you will figure out how to get income while you,
swing dance, ice skate, tango, weightlift, and hike. The out go is now an income.
  If age is an obstacle, it is only because you think so.
Yoda has spoken.

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2016, 10:49:12 AM »

So, figure out how to charge people to do it with you, Teach!
But only as a side hussle, at least to begin or maybe for 13 years.

Great idea! I worked in a climbing gym part time as a student for this particular reason. It's a great place to meet friends with the same interests as you as well!

Axecleaver

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Re: How much is happiness worth?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2016, 01:25:54 PM »
The things you described are experiences, not things. Experiences can make you happy. Things generally won't. Shop around, but never feel badly about paying to improve yourself or to have meaningful experiences. Avoid spending money on cars, video games, clothes, expensive makeup, furniture, etc. These things won't make you happy.

Article on the science of this. As with all things, it's possible for clever marketing to subvert the truth inherent in buying experiences over things, and to convince you that a seven day luxury cruise where all you do is eat and drink is an "experience." Avoid that nonsense, and you'll be fine.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/buy-experiences/381132/