What Makes You Feel Rich? 🤑🤔

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This week we're going to talk about what makes you feel rich. The obvious answer is money. Money is tangible, whether you make it rain in the club or see a number on a bank statement. You can either literally or virtually touch your assets and possessions.

Money is awesome. It has the power to lift people out of poverty, ensure a desired lifestyle and suppress fears of going hungry or ending up homeless. The problem with money is that it’s accepted as the quickest and easiest path to happiness. As a result, we’re conditioned from an early age to think this way. But as I’ll detail below, the old adage “money isn’t everything” really is everything.

The purpose of the exercise at the bottom is to ween ourselves off our obsession with money. That way we can start to focus more time and energy on the other things that make us happy.

New jobs are previewed below, let’s talk about about what makes us feel rich!

Last week’s content

Thursday: 🌍 Inside The Middle East including new violence between Israel and Hamas.

Friday: 🗺️ Picks of the Week where police in Hong Kong yet again raided pro-democracy newspaper the Apple Daily.

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If I Had a Little Money…

Whenever I was asked as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d always say ‘footballer’. Not because I particularly wanted to play football for a living, but because most of my friends and classmates did. The other most common answer was simply ‘rich’. I had no freaking clue what I wanted to be or do, but the only thing that seemed logical was a career that made me a stack load of cash.

At my grandparents’ house we’d almost always play Monopoly, and I’d cry and leave upset when my wily Grandma would inevitably bankrupt me. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. She didn’t know another way, as money really did lift her and her family, who came to the UK on a boat from Russia in the early 20th century, out of extreme hardship.

But even at my high school graduation, we literally had an award for the ‘Person Most Likely to be a Millionaire’. And the number of times I’ve heard stories from friends about how their career counsellors told them not to pursue music, or art, or whatever made them happiest, because they wouldn’t make much money. Heck I was told the same thing about journalism.

All around us are subtle nudges telling us that money is not just the best source of happiness, but the only source. We’re rarely told, if ever, that there’s more to life than money, and other ways to make us feel rich.

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” We can thank our good friend Albert Einstein for that one.

Measured by External Forces

The earliest known form of money appeared around 3000 BC in Sumer, in the form Sumerian barley money. It was quite literally grains of barley, most commonly measured by the Sila — roughly one liter. How much a liter of barley could get you depended on supply and demand.

Fast forward 5,000 years and the same economic principles remain, albeit in a mostly virtual system. What’s different today is the value of money is determined by external forces — people — more than ever. Take Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, for example.

When Russian rebels began occupying the Tauric Peninsula, global markets and governments punished Russia with mass sell-offs and sanctions. By the end of the year, the Russian ruble decreased in value by about 75 percent. Millions of hardworking Russians, whose main aims in life are to work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labor, had the value of their earnings slashed through no fault of their own.

The point here is that the wealth of most Russians changed by the day, and was completely out of their control.

Money, Money, Money

I used to envy the likes of Floyd Mayweather, who has more cash to know what to do with, and whose nickname is literally 'Money'. But now I pity them, because deep down they use money as a bandaid for their unhappiness.

Floyd is far from alone. Just 13 percent of American millionaires actually feel wealthy, which is completely insane. Just think about that for a moment. One million big ones in the bank and it's still not enough. 

So how much money is enough?

I guarantee if you ask five friends that question, you'll get five different answers, because it's completely personal. For me, the past few months have helped answer that.

When The Wall Street Journal nearly doubled my pay check to join them, I was of course over the moon. I'd never earned so much money, but as I detailed last month, I’d go on to be stripped of all my intangible riches I worked tirelessly to build over the past few years. Turns out that working for WSJ, I’d never felt poorer in my life.

Now that it's been three months since I left, those intangibles are slowly returning.

These days I don't wake up fearing my inbox. I don't have anyone breathing down my neck. And I for sure don't receive Slack messages asking me to make edits at 10pm on a Friday. Instead, I wake up relatively stress free, take the time needed to produce good work, and have space to think about stuff other than work.

This of course isn't meant to be one long boast, but instead to show a real-life example of how, at a certain point, money no longer directly correlates with happiness. In fact, multiple studies support this notion, like this one by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, which found that anything people earned over around $75,000 didn't necessarily result in extra happiness.

I Think We Get It Daniel...

Okay, I've made my point. So let's move onto the non-financial elements that make us feel rich. I listed some of the things that make me feel rich above, but I'm writing as a 29-year-old white dude from the UK, so I've certainly missed stuff.

So comment below, email me or even just write down for your own reading: what makes you feel rich? Let’s get a conversation going…

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