Happiness might be just a few dollars away
In October 2015, my mom turned 50. She was in our home country of Portugal, and I lived in the UK. I wanted to be with her on that special occasion. But the flights were costly, and I was unemployed.
I pondered: Is it really worth spending $400 on a flight when I don’t even have a job?
But my mom would turn 50 only once in her life. And I knew she missed me like crazy. I had a problem. And I knew the solution. I was just $400 away from it.
Screw it. Nothing is more important than our loved ones. I surprised her on her birthday; she was moved to tears.
Money is not a magical fix-it-all weapon. Most meaningful things in life can not be fixed that easily. Health, relationships, peace of mind… These require work, commitment, and a bit of luck. Money has very little to do with them.
But money can help tremendously in fixing day-to-day problems. This doesn’t apply when you are fighting to stay afloat in a sea of bills to pay. But once you reach a comfortable enough financial situation, throwing money at problems can be the easiest, most cost-effective way to fix them.
Taking a taxi instead of walking in the rain and getting sick. Hiring someone to clean your house when you are overworked and in need of a rest. Buying that overpriced gift for your friend instead of wasting two more hours in the shopping mall looking for something else.
As Tim Ferriss puts it, you can “waste money” to improve your quality of life. In this podcast, he talks about an occasion when he refused to pay $2,000 extra to fly business class from the US to Australia for a speaking event.
“I couldn’t sleep at all and was just a complete disaster for a speaking engagement that could’ve easily led to many, many future engagements. Was the $2,000 worth sacrificing my health for a week and being at half capacity? No, easily not; at all. Second, was it worth the potential opportunity cost of the people in the audience who could’ve hired me for very high-paying gigs? No; not at all”.
Sometimes, money can buy peace of mind. Most often, time is more important than money. You can’t fix everything by walking around with a wallet full of bills, but you can use this weapon when really needed and watch your life get easier on the spot.
After all, what do you want money for? Isn’t it to be happy? Sometimes, happiness is just a few dollars away.