How much money do you need?

We are often told (at least indirectly) that money is something that should never be enough for us.
In one way it is true: money is not banknotes and coins or gold or something completely useless.
Rather money is “a medium that can be exchanged for goods and services and is used as a measure of their values on the market […]
Simply: money is everything you can buy for money.

And man – can you buy things for money!?

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When it comes to social impact money is the key.
You want to feed the homeless? Money is a way.
You want to educate children in Africa? Yes, money will set up a school there.
You want to lobby even for higher tax for the rich? Money will get you closer.
You want to stay home and think things through? It goes so much easier with money.
You wanna be US President? You’ll need a lot of MONEY.
Okay. I guess you got it. Power and the money, money and the power – Minute after minute, hour after hour

 

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But one doesn’t need a PhD in social sciences to realize that most of us don’t struggle all our lives to have bigger and better social impact. When it comes to personal happiness, money is less important than most believe in the Western world.
I’m completely sure in only few things in life. This is one of them.
People overrate money – and things they manage to buy for money.
People tend to believe that it’s only a lot money that can buy them things that will help to reach higher levels of human existence.

 

 

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But most people forget how simple human beings are and how humbly we have led our lives in the last couple hundred thousand years.
All we have is deficiency needs:
– physiological: eating, sex for procreation, sleeping, water, shelter, etc.
– safety: health, family, social stability, etc.
– love and belonging: friendship, family, sexual intimacy, etc.
– self esteem: confidence, achievement, respect of others

And growth needs:
– self actualization: spontaneity, creativity, problem solving, etc.

 

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Does money help achieving these goals?
I guess there’s no big surprise when I say yes. You get a better car so you’ll not have to take the public transport you hate and you save up some time for yourself. You have a home close to the center so you don’t need to commute. You have money so you can call the plumber when he’s needed.
But don’t forget: YOU ARE AN ANIMAL: A HUMAN BEING!
No one needs unlimited money for himself.
Not even the richest possible person on Earth needs more than 1 set of clothes at a time.
Not even the richest possible person in the world can drive more than 1 car at a time.
Not even the richest possible person can build more meaningful personal relationships than you do.
Not even the richest possible person’s son can be happier than I was when this picture was taken:

 

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So let’s take the next step. I have 2 simple questions.
The first one goes like this: do you want to make a type of social change that requires a lot of money?
– If yes then you’re one of the most conscious people I’ve ever met: you try hard to earn a lot of money and when you manage you use it to give back and better society. I’m amazed! You are one of very few. Drop me an email: I hope to get in touch!

And the second is: if your goal is personal happiness WHY WOULD YOU NEED SO MUCH MONEY!?
Angus Deaton, US Nobel-award winner economist claims that making more than 75.000 USD / year does not make one happier. No wonder that this (in 2008) was almost 3 times the average income of a US citizen as other studies show that rather than an absolute income happiness is more linked to being richer than your neighbour. This study claims: money may not buy you love but it may be enough to purchase status — and a little bit of happiness.

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Do you REALLY need greener grass than Bill!? (46lawn)

I’m a radical thinker but not as radical to say that a lot of money doesn’t make life a lot easier – and eventually somewhat happier.
What I’m trying to say is something like:
– If you want to play soccer well – so you’ll focus on your training and on practicing. You need shoes to play soccer: so you’ll try to buy a new one: but the shoes won’t make you a good player.
– If you want to be happy – then you won’t spend 12 hours a day working hard for money but you’ll make sure you earn enough and you’ll focus on getting to know yourself and on the things that make you happy.
You can play soccer without shoes or be happy without money but it’s an extra challenge for most.

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Soccer without shoes, happiness without money

Since I’ve moved away from home I had months where my spending didn’t go over 1 euro / day. And had months where (on travelling + furniture +what-not) I’d spend a couple thousand euros. I can not tell an exact amount I need a month but I know that I don’t compare myself to my neighbours or movie stars or Donald Trump. I have no issues with money: it has become a fiction in my personal life and I try to use money to make a positive change in society (so far to not much avail though).
The key is to know what you want. For me it’s consciousness and wisdom.

Some of us have cheaper while some of us have more expensive hobbies, lifestyle, even identity. Diversity is great: we are all so different. But hey: do YOU know what you want? Is it money you want? If not – be satisfied with less and concentrate on your real goals!
Don’t forget: it’s not the shoes that make a soccer player great!

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Tell your opinion in a comment or email! 🙂

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