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Money vs Happiness: Pick One

June 28, 2015

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I think most of you already know where the two of us stand on this: as we mentioned in our video on Tips for a Happy Marriage, we’re not interested in getting rich. Our careers are in making each other happy, not in making ourselves money. In fact, one of the things we don’t talk about often is how we started Eatyourkimchi as a business. Before we hired anybody, and it was just the two of us, we were doing everything by ourselves and working obscene hours. It felt great in many ways, being so busy all the time, but we didn’t really take time for anything but the website. We figured it’s better, then, to take care of ourselves, spend more time together and not work on videos all of the time, so we hired other people to help out with the workload. Sure, that means we’d be earning less money, because we’d be paying other people, but so long as we make enough money to be satisfied with life, we’re ok with giving the rest of it away to people that work with us.

And I think for some people it’s difficult to determine what is “enough” money to be satisfied. I’m sure it differs in every country, as cost of living varies, but in the US, it seems like $75,000 is enough. And it’s not like money and happiness are mutually exclusive. It’s difficult to be happy if you can’t pay for rent or groceries, right? But I wonder how that’s different in Korea. Here, it’s much more acceptable for you to live with your parents after university, and to even live with them when you have a job, because renting here is obscenely expensive. So I’m sure the $75,000 figure has to be a lot different here, but I’m also not sure how many people here can work jobs that pay that well and have a decent quality of life. If you’re earning that much in Korea, are you working obscene hours?

For us, we’d rather earn less and spend more time together, rather than earn more and have no free time. Being together, for us, is worth more than money. Time isn’t a renewable resource; once a minute passes, you can never get it back. But spend a dollar, and there’s a good chance you can get a dollar again in the future.

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Money vs Happiness: Pick One

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  1. I don’t want to be rich. I don’t like big houses. My small daughter and I spent two years in an apt that had a floor plan that was 9×11 feet and that included the bath and kitchenette. Not even kidding. It was a good experience. There is a tiny house movement going on here in the US and I am very interested in it. Living in a space that small taught me what I can and can’t do without. I don’t have a lot of stuff but I feel tied down by the stuff that I have. We lived in a big old farm house before my daughter was born and it caught on fire once and as I was sitting there in the yard with the firefighters doing their thing, I wondered what I would like to save if the house burned down. The only thing I could thing of was my MP3 player. I actually found myself kinda hoping it would all burn.
    For me, happiness is;
    1. Having an income generator that I enjoy.
    A. Something creative.
    B. Something that lets me spend a lot of time with my daughter.
    2. Having enough money to support us and be okay if there is an emergency.
    3. Having the ability to travel. Even if I have to work once we get there. Don’t necessarily need lots of money for that. My daughter is in elementary school and I would like to be able to travel during the summer months.

    If I had those three things and my loved ones were all healthy…I’d be truly happy.

    3 years ago
  2. If you are single, then money doesn’t see that important, but if you have kids, then it seems INCREDIBLY important. Is there enough to feed the kids, cloth the kids, send the kids to a decent school so that they have options in life? I think $75,000 is a number where people feel like they can take care of a family comfortably and thrive. At the same time, it’s also enough to save a bit and do fun things. A single person making $75,000 can do all sorts of things and live pretty large. You’re not living in a mansion, but you can afford a really nice place, and the bills, and can still afford nice things fairly regularly. For the lifestyle I live, I feel like I don’t need $75k, but I could really use 10-15k more than I make.
    Personally, I prefer experiences over things. I would never spend $500 on a handbag or a pair of shoes. I know I could find a cheap flight and go SEE something and DO something with $500.

    3 years ago
  3. I would like enough money where I know I am secure but enough where I can help others and support myself and the people around me but not heaps where I would become the most selfish human being. :D

    3 years ago
  4. I’m 100% on the happiness side. I grew up in a wonky and often in distress house that doubled as a storefront and the weekends were spent at an equally ‘always under construction’ cabin. While growing up I didn’t even realize I was poor or the sacrifices my parents made for me. My mother is single and we lived with a man I will always consider my father. They both worked long hours and I just grew up in an environment where memories are far more important than any item. A night with mom after not seeing her for two weeks > everything else.
    So money is nice but many people spend it on useless things. I just need enough to do what I love with the people I love. Even if myself or my dad had the money to pay someone else to fix the cabin neither of us would. That is an experience we would miss out on. This 4th weekend I am driving up to visit. I will be drinking, shooting off fireworks and hanging up sheet rock(probably crooked) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    3 years ago
  5. In metro Vancouver, the city has recently been named as one of the most miserable (we also got voted as one of the most mind numbingly boring cities, but that’s a different story). While most people don’t correlate money to happiness, being in Vancouver shows how much money is needed in order to be happy. The problem with the city is that it has become the 2nd most unaffordable city to live in. Houses here cost more than a million dollars, and that’s just for a small house. There’s no general consesus as to what drove the prices up, but it’s becoming unbearable to many. It doesn’t help that the cost of living here is quite expensive, and the wages here aren’t enough to get the house.

    I will say that living here, you do see a lot of people who wear clothes and carry stuff just to show off their money. Luxury purses, fancy cars, fancy swimsuits that I hope don’t fall apart in the pool, etc. It’s disgusting that people flaunt their money in the city, but it’s becoming more the norm.

    3 years ago
  6. I agree with one of the girls saying you shouldn’t need that much money, but if you want to go somewhere it would be nice to be able to. I honestly believe that some humans have too much money, and they spend it on idiotic stuff (like buying champagne to then just toss the whole thing in the sink, so everyone can see how rich you are). I’ve been on my own since I was 16, and I’ve had some really rough times. Now it’s actually really hard, since I got unexpectedly fired from my job that was supposed to support me the whole summer. I manage somehow, but I eat a lot less and usually go to bed hungry, since I know if I eat what I have I won’t have enough for the next day.
    BUT! Even if I am really frustrated right now, I am still very thankful for not being rich during my teens and the first years in my 20s. It gives a really good perspective on what you should focus on, and you get a lot better at saving up for fun stuff like travelling or that one dress you saw in the store, even if that means you will eat oatmeal the rest of the month (Which I am currently doing right now). And you really start to understand what you really need, vs what you really want to have.

    Conclusion: I’m poor, but it has made me awesome. Now if you will excuse me, I need to dig after some frozen sardines an earlier resident left when they moved out in the freezer and use my boyfriends cabbage for dinner ^^

    3 years ago