FIRE.201 Money Buys Happiness?

Over and over, I keep hearing and reading that “money doesn’t make you happier.”  Are they doing it wrong?  Let me state that differently, WTF!?

$75,000 is Magic?

I often think about the statistics we all read about…”an income over $75,000/yr doesn’t make you happier.”  “You need 80% of your income in retirement.”  “Experiences make you happier than things?”

$75,000 in the 2008 study is equivalent in purchasing power to about $110,000 today.  Here is the study I believe everyone is referencing.    

FI = Wealthy.

Money allows flexibility, time reallocation, acquisition ease, hobby pursuement, adventure, safety, entertainment, knowledge, assistance to others,

Money allows freedom,  


I believe in no uncertain terms that the money we have saved buys us some happiness—happiness in so many ways.

I love things.  BJ loves things. I have a “Kevin theory” on this and it goes something like this: do introverts feel more thing satisfaction—and possibly extroverts lean towards experiences?  I find that often “experiences” have too many other people around to be fully enjoyable.

Yet, today when I was scootering—in Oceanside, CA—(shout out to FI Freedom Motorcycle Club) I thought about scootering in Bali and I thought about my Bali trip with my Bali FI Family and do believe that Bali was my best trip ever.  It was just amazing being with everyone before, during (50+ friends), and after the retreat at the Grand Hyatt (30 friends) then, after on the island (25 friends) , then after on the next island (6 friends). 

It’s almost indescribable the fun and amazingness of those few weeks.  Oh, and that trip—to say “yes” in 5 seconds—was possible because of MONEY.  Flying halfway around the planet to hang out is not possible for most people.  Money bought that happiness, and yes, with friends, experiencing activities to

F Buckets

Many people in the community are aware of the Fun Bucket (derived from the Fun Number Jim&Chris).  This is a critical piece of experiencing the best of life.

I once heard a story where Emma accidentally shared the Fun Bucket concept with one slight slip-up and called it a “Fuckit Bucket.”  Trying to lessen the abruptness of the mistake, Emma just soldiered on discussing the concept. 

When Mark Trautman and I heard about this mistaken title, we laughed for an hour.  I fully embraced the Emma terminology and whenever the yes/no, spend/don’t spend question comes up in our home, I tell my wife “Fuckit Bucket.”

To be more appealing to the language challenged, I’ve attempted to abbreviate it as “FI Bucket.”  This abbreviation is an insider’s trickerology to make it seem like a Financial Independence” bucket, which is not at all what it means.  It’s a freedom bucket of hard work and savings.  Emma, young Emma, you are a legend!

Of course, all of these thoughts are just me in my own little world.  My own introverted thinking and living world.

Personal Position

I can say that for me, having savings and the ability to spend freely is unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my first 50 years of life.  Those 50-years were great.  But right now, there is amazing freedom—and a drive—to spend on whatever I think is worth the money.  There’s (still) a LOT of thought, but a lot of spending.  I also still research and detail my requirements and try and make a very informed, thoughtful purchase decision.  So far, the purchases have been great.  The purchases have been freeing (not free).  The purchases have been rewarding.  The purchases give me a lot of joy, more creativity, more convenience, more volume, more time (many purchases allow things to move faster), and even a better me.

So, am I happier?  Hell YES.

I do want to add one final thought I just had.  I’ve often thought and said that with all the savings we have “I can buy anything I’d ever want, and that freedom feels great.”  I’ve said that for 20 years.  I’ve now learned that acting on some of that buying step is really freaking great too.  Probably much better than knowing I could buy something.

Final thought 2:  Happy Wife, Happy Life. 

*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice.  I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be.  You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.

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