Here is some common sense from Jeanne Sahadi: If financial success is important to you, and you are not as successful as those around you, you are not going to be as happy as someone who doesn’t care as much about financial success. In fact, setting financial success as a goal can make some people less happy.
There are some interesting statistics in the article, some of which may not be common sense like the statement above.
When a group of MBAs were asked whether they’d rather make $100,000 when everyone around them made $120,000, or make $90,000 when everyone around them made $70,000, a majority opted for the lesser salary if everyone at the company knew about the discrepancy, Schwarz said. But if the salary discrepancies were kept confidential, about half said they’d opt for the $100,000 job.
I’m not sure why they singled out MBAs, perhaps they were who was available. Maybe they figure MBAs are conrcerned only with money.
I write about personal finance on Consumerism Commentary. That topic, while broad, is really the sole content of this website. This is not because I am obsessed with personal finance; I have other blogs where I write about different aspects my life and the world. (It’s up to you to find them–no obvious direct links.) Personal finance is such a small part of my universe of interests, but it gets a large chunk of time because I have a big audience here.
I happen to be in one of the categories mentioned in this article, a category which supposedly makes me unhappy. Most of the people around me are doing better off than I am or seem to be. My friends have houses and families and I’m still a low-level worker bee in the office, with no sign of the CEO coming to my cubicle and asking me to run one of the divisions of the company, working directly for him.
My level of cash seems to be decreasing, so I don’t see a house any time soon, either.
If I decide to go to law school next fall, which is looking good right now, it’s not because I want money. I want to do something interesting. If I get paid more for it, great, but even still I’m going to be in debt for a while. Since I’ve been anti-debt for the last several years, that’s a difficult mental barrier for me to cross.
Published or updated July 6, 2005.