MyMoney Online

13 random thoughts on living a happier, less materialistic life

(Click here for more personal finance articles.)

1

Know that material things cannot make you happy, but these things can: being grateful and giving thanks; savouring simple pleasures; forgiving yourself and others; loving kindness towards yourself and others; maintaining intimate relationships with family and friends and prioritising their happiness; exercise and healthy living; having a purpose; being passionate; serving others; losing yourself in whatever you're doing.

2

Having lots of money, driving a fancy car, owning a large house; many people assume that these things denote a successful, happy existence. However, when you lack love it becomes apparent that material things have little meaning. Will your stuff console you when you are sick or dying?

3

You'll probably be happier and less stressed if you work less. More free hours could mean more time for family, friends, play and the things you enjoy. Materialistic people incur heavy penalties in pursuit of their goals. The more materialistic you are the harder you have to work and the more indebted you're likely to be.

4

The happiest people seldom judge themselves by what others achieve or own.

5

Many couples are so worn out from working at high-stress jobs (so they can afford a nice house or fancy car) that they no longer have energy to bond. Life is materially comfortable, yet unsatisfying and exhausting.

6

Striving to be rich (or to own a particular house or drive a particular car) is not a goal that will lead to happiness. How rich is rich enough? There is always some product that you don't yet own or more money to make. These are goals that seem impossible to achieve; you keep on needing more. Rather strive for spiritual goals - like being a good friend - which satisfy permanently when achieved.

Before Silicon Graphics (his first company) Jim Clark, the founder of Netscape (his second), said a fortune of US$10-million would make him happy. Before he founded Netscape he was quoted as saying that once he had $100-million he'd have enough to be happy. Before Healtheon (company number three) he desired $1-billion. He recently told author Michael Lewis, "Once I have more money than Larry Ellison, I'll be satisfied." Ellison, the founder Oracle, is worth $13-billion.

7

Advertisers deliberately create feelings of inadequacy; we possess what we don't want and want what we don't have. They don't merely take advantage of unhappiness, but actively try to cultivate it. They present products in an unreal, completely distorted way so as to make them seem essential and capable of making us happy.

8

It's unlikely that chasing money per se can be satisfying. Rather focus on doing what you enjoy and what makes you happy. You're more likely to be successful in your job if money is not the objective.

9

To give up pretentions - to relinquish the race to keep with your neighbours - is a glorious, blessed relief.

10

It's clear to me that spending money on life experiences such as travelling makes people happier than spending on material things such as, say, buying a new car. Maybe it's because past experiences become better with time as our fallible memories reinterpret events? Or maybe it's harder to unfavourably compare experiences? Whatever the case may be, spending money on experiences is more likely to encourage social relationships than a material purchase and therefore stands a better chance causing lasting happiness.

11

Materialistic goals and living the "good life" are often mutually exclusive. It seems to me that the more people aspire to materialistic goals the less satisfied they become.

12

Will accepting all of this - that being less materialistic can make you a happier person - change many minds? I would hope so, but I have my doubts. We’re often blind to our own materialism. We easily finger someone else's fondness for, say, the latest gadget as materialistic, yet we view our own desire for the latest gizmo as essential to make work more efficient. You must be aware of your own materialism to avoid it. Furthermore, most people have a very broad definition of "needs". I "need" new shoes for gym, I "need" clothes for work, I "need" a larger car for my growing family…

Before you go without a new experience, or take a job you don't want, in order to meet your "needs", perhaps it's time you take a honest look at how real and pressing your "needs" really are?

13

Be content with what you have; it's great when you get richer, but don't stress or be competitive about it. Enjoy the simple fact of being alive and breathing. Relating to others is what truly makes people happy.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 13 random thoughts on living a happier, less materialistic life


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Pay less fees and tax on your investments. Diversify. Then be patient…

Pay less fees and tax on your investments. Diversify. Then be patient…

The market is toast. Don’t leak money! Bruce Whitfield interviews Craig Gradidge, South Africa’s top wealth manager.

3 best shares to buy this week (by Cannon Asset Managers)

3 best shares to buy this week (by Cannon Asset Managers)

Dr Adrian Saville shares his stock picks of the week.

Last week was the JSE’s best in 10 years. Did you time it right?

Last week was the JSE’s best in 10 years. Did you time it right?

You cannot predict market turnarounds. Seriously. It’s freakin’ impossible, says Personal Financial Advisor Warren Ingram.

Wanna be debt free, less stressed and happy? It’s (literally) quite simple

Wanna be debt free, less stressed and happy? It’s (literally) quite simple

South African “consumers” (word chosen intentionally) are broke and stressed. It needn't be this way…

How much money is enough for you to be happy?

How much money is enough for you to be happy?

We speak to the author of "How much is enough? – Maximising Wealth and Well-being”; a personal finance book like none other.

Money CAN make you happy (but only if you don’t buy stuff with it)

Money CAN make you happy (but only if you don’t buy stuff with it)

Can money make you happy? Research proves it can, but only if you give it away or buy experiences instead material goods.

Popular articles
'Perhaps somebody is misleading the Public Protector'

'Perhaps somebody is misleading the Public Protector'

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana gives his take on the supposed 'fightback' against Pravin Gordhan.

'I don’t spend much. I drive an old car. I’ve never been in debt'

'I don’t spend much. I drive an old car. I’ve never been in debt'

Bruce Whitfield interviews analyst Chris Gilmour about his attitude toward money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.).

Daughter of Timol murder accused Joao Rodrigues reveals sexual abuse

Daughter of Timol murder accused Joao Rodrigues reveals sexual abuse

Tilana Stander talks about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

[LISTEN]  My Life Beyond HIV

[LISTEN] My Life Beyond HIV

Pholokgolo Ramothwala chats to Azania about living with HIV and his newly released book, My Life Beyond HIV.

WATCH:  Crash, bang, wallop! How would YOU explain this to YOUR boss?

WATCH: Crash, bang, wallop! How would YOU explain this to YOUR boss?

The woman comes out of the crash without a scratch but is visibly distressed by the incident that she may have to explain later.

[LISTEN] Steinhoff explained: 100 times more looted in Steinhoff saga than VBS

[LISTEN] Steinhoff explained: 100 times more looted in Steinhoff saga than VBS

Steinhoff’s Web of Deception: An Explainer with Financial Mail journalist Warren Thompson.

How to buy your first share (even if you only have R50, or less)

How to buy your first share (even if you only have R50, or less)

Got R50? No? Got R5? Personal finance expert Warren Ingram on how to buy shares with tiny amounts of money.