Investing in Happiness | Summary and Q&A

214.6K views
August 28, 2021
by
Ben Felix
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Investing in Happiness

TL;DR

The pursuit of more money is addictive, but it's important to ask how much is enough. Research shows that a good life is a combination of hedonic (feeling good) and eudaimonic (living well) happiness, and financial decisions should be anchored in the objective of living a good life.

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Key Insights

  • 🤑 More money is always better in the brain's perspective, but it's important to question how much is enough.
  • ❓ Circumstances have less impact on happiness than voluntary activities.
  • 👋 A good life involves a balance of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness.
  • 🤑 Money is a tool that allows us to meet basic needs, pursue engagement, build relationships, and achieve goals.
  • ⌛ Time poverty is a common problem, but valuing time over money can lead to increased happiness.
  • ❓ Experiences provide more lasting happiness than material possessions.
  • 💐 Active leisure activities and finding flow contribute to happiness.

Transcript

  • It is addictive to focus on portfolio optimizations, the next big thing that promises financial gain, or working long hours toward a promotion. Calling it addictive is not hyperbole. In a 2001 study using FMRI to measure brain activity, Hans Breiter and coauthors, including Daniel Kahneman found that obtaining more money activates the same region... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is more money addictive?

In a 2001 study, researchers found that obtaining more money activates the same brain regions as illicit drugs. The brain always wants more, even if you already have a lot of money.

Q: How do circumstances affect happiness?

While circumstances such as where you live or your education level have some impact on happiness, they do not matter as much as voluntary activities. Humans are adaptable and quickly adjust to their circumstances.

Q: What is the difference between hedonic and eudaimonic happiness?

Hedonic happiness is temporary pleasure, such as eating chocolate. Eudaimonic happiness is living well and has a deeper sense of fulfillment. It involves a sense of purpose beyond oneself.

Q: How does money impact happiness?

Money plays an important role in meeting basic needs, reducing stress, and engaging in activities that drive happiness. However, there is a satiation point where more money does not lead to increased happiness.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Money is addictive, activating the same regions of the brain as illicit drugs. The important question for investors is how much money is enough.

  • A good life is a combination of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness. Hedonic happiness is temporary pleasure, while eudaimonic happiness is a deeper sense of fulfillment.

  • Circumstances such as age, education, and wealth do not have a significant impact on happiness. Voluntary activities, like how you choose to allocate your time and money, have a greater impact on happiness.

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