The price of happiness is less than $125 000

In a study which surveyed almost 3000 Australians between 2002 and 2011 it was discovered that money can buy happiness, as long as you don’t have too much of the stuff. Once you hit $125 000 your satisfaction with life starts to slide. I guess that I should be pleased that I’m a long way from reaching the peak of that slippery slope of dissatisfaction.

Research from psychometric testing company Onetest found people who earn between $100,000 and $124,999 a year are the happiest, with 86 per cent of those earners saying they are satisfied with life.

But the satisfaction rate starts to drop for those who earn more than $125,000, and again for those who earn more than $150,000. –

I can understand that people are feeling a little less anxious if they’re earning reasonably well and aren’t one emergency away from total financial ruin. I know that having certain knowledge that you’re able to put food on your family’s table would ease the stress levels. I also acknowledge that being able to buy a few extras for yourself and even have enough to give to good causes would make life comfortable but can money really buy happiness?

I suppose the other question is whether life is really about the pursuit of our own happiness. Even if money could make us happy, which I doubt it can do in any deep and lasting way, is that really what we’re aiming for in life?

Obviously, happiness is a good alternative to feeling miserable all the time but deep joy is something that can sit inside us during the good and bad times.

What do you think? We spend a lot of our time chasing a few extra dollars but will we be any happier or better off if we attain that extra cash? Will extra money add extra meaning to our lives?

I am not complaining about having too little. I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have. I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. Christ gives me the strength to face anything. – Philippians 4:11-13

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Release the brakes …

… and let’s push this thing down the hill.

One thing history teaches us is that we don’t learn from history.

Australia wasn’t hit as hard by the global financial crisis as other countries but we’ve certainly been affected. Now that there are promising signs of recovery, it seems that we’re getting ready to go out and start the cycle all over again. We’re addicted to spending and trying to fill our lives with ‘stuff’ and so many feel that we’ve got the green light to heat up the credit cards again.

Recent positive economic signs from the US make me wonder whether the same is about to happen all over the world.

We made the mistake of being too careless with money, mostly other people’s money, and it seems we’re getting ready to do it all over again. Rather than learning the lessons and starting to live within an adjusted budget, we just want to spend, spend, spend. is reporting that confidence has returned and we haven’t learnt a thing. They say that research is showing that Australians are “over” the global financial crisis and are again ready to worry about the things that troubled them in the last boom.

Almost two out of three consumers (65 per cent) are prepared to spend the same amount or more this Christmas, the report found. But the reprieve for the economy, and the boost for the Federal Government, is tempered by the return of old concerns, The Weekend Australian reported.

“The three issues that came up in discussions were all about health, roads and transport, and education – the failure of state governments and the public system in general to provide decent services,” research director Rebecca Huntley said yesterday.

“These were the things that people were worried about leading up to the last federal election and, unlike petrol and food prices, expect federal governments to do something about, especially in a second term.”

In a separate report, they’re saying that our biggest bank is telling its staff to push more debt onto its customers through loans and credit cards.

So how about you? Has the financial downturn caused you to look at your spending habits? Are you more concerned about budgeting than you were, knowing that financial circumstances can change overnight?

I wonder if we’ll all just return to spending more on the latest and greatest ‘stuff’ for ourselves and forget that people in developing countries, through no fault of their own, were hit the hardest by the crisis and will be the last ones to ‘recover’.

Are you ready to release the brakes, push this thing down the hill, and hope that it doesn’t go wildly out of control and crash once again?

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How to make resolutions that work

2009.jpgYou might think you’re making New Year’s Resolutions but are you really just compiling a wish list?

Did you make a well intentioned list of resolutions at the start of 2008 which have failed to bear fruit? Could you take last year’s list and simply change the 2008 on the top of the list to 2009?

How do you make resolutions that work? What’s the difference between New Year’s Resolutions and a wish list?

I’ve had an Amazon Wish List for quite some time. It’s a list of things I’d like, but simply listing those things doesn’t mean anything unless I, or someone else, decides to take action and buy someting from the list. The stuff on the list now is the same as the stuff that was there when I created it. Wishing doesn’t make it happen.

If I say that I want to lose weight in 2009 that’s a wish. If I set out a sensible weight loss strategy with achievable short and long term goals though the year it’s a resolution.

If I say I’d like to make family time more of a priority this year, it’s a wish. If I book time in my diary and plan to give up activities that would otherwise get in the way of that happening, that’s a resolution.

If I say I’d like to read more over the next twelve months, that’s a wish. If I select some books, create a reading plan and then move other activities out of the way to give me the time to read, that’s a resolution.

Resolutions need a concrete action plan with achievable, measurable goals. It can also be helpful to find someone who will keep you accountable to your goals. Maybe there’s someone with a similar goal or resolution who will work with you so that you can both achieve your plans. It might be someone who is already doing well in an area in which you’d like to improve. Ask them to help keep you moving towards your goal and to give you any advice you need to get there.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if we’re making lifestyle changes we’ll probably fail now and then. The aim is to keep going rather than just throwing in the towel the first time you trip up. Even if you don’t reach your goals at the set time, you’ll still be further down the track if you get up after a setback, dust yourself off, and start moving in the right direction again.

If you are going to see 2009 as an opportunity for change you might like to break down your resolutions into various categories such as Health and Fitness, Spirituality, Family and Relationships, Finance, Career and other areas that touch your life.

Who do you want to be on the first of January 2010? What will you do during 2009 to make that a reality?

As 2008 draws to a close, are you going to make resolutions or a wish list for 2009?

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