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3. Which is more important: financial success or personal happiness?fridayfiver

I'm going to go against the grain here and say Financial Success* is more important than Personal Happiness, at this point in my life. What can I say? This question caught me at time when I'm willing to sacrifice personal happiness to build wealth. Ask me again in 30 years and the answer might be different =)

It's a matter of 先苦後甜; "bitter first; sweet later".

In the grand scheme of things, choosing one over the other is not really the point. It's more important to not let either of them take a disproportional precedence over the other. Ideally, over the long term you'd want both to increase in tandem, but there will be times when one of them needs to be sacrificed for the sake of the other.

Financial success without personal happiness is miserable. People I trust tell me it's true, but I've never known this kind of misery. I'd always thought that if money weren't a concern, I would damned well find it in myself to be happy.

Personal happiness without some degree of financial success/independence is not possible for me. It may work for others, but not me. I'd go stark raving bananas before long if I weren't financially independent or at least on my way towards it. In that way, my happiness is tied to my financial success.

* I define "financial success" as financial independence which is to be self-sufficient in being able to meet basic needs: clothing, shelter, food, health, even though those needs can be met without the exchange of funds. For me, it has very little to do with the actual numbers in anyone's bank account or cashflow. However someone else decides is best for them to meet their basic needs, and beyond, is not really for me to judge.


Jul. 10th, 2004 03:14 pm (UTC)
I am a bit older than you and based on the many years of my life's experiences,

My experiences: being homeless, having only Kraft macaroni & cheese and chocolate chip cookies to eat for about 5 days, not being able to go to the doctor when sick, having custody of a child taken away because of no money to hire an attorney (not because we were unfit), etc.

my personal happiness and my financial success are interdependent. As long as I am working at something I love and am totally absorbed in anyway, there is no need to choose one over the other. When we, my husband and I, have work solely for money our personal life suffered as a result. He has worked at jobs that were hell on earth and stayed for the paycheck. The unhappiness at work came home every evening at times causing arguments because of being so unhappy. Now we are both working long hours doing what we both love, a mutually shared love, and the rewards add to our personal happiness. I think the thing is to use wisdom and intergrate the loves of your personal life into your professional life.

You are so blessed to have parents teach you such wisdom and common sense. My grandparents were my parents and they did not have the ability to teach me as you were taught. And no love was not and is not enough.
Jul. 10th, 2004 07:42 pm (UTC)
I do realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have what my parents have taught me.

I think the thing is to use wisdom and intergrate the loves of your personal life into your professional life.

I completely agree. =)


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