If you’re like the average guy, you’re probably worried about money right now. Not because you don’t have a roof over your head or food in your stomach or even a job to go to tomorrow – chances are you do – but because you’re an average guy. We worry about money. That’s what we do. That’s the conclusion of the Debtsafe’s Financial Reality Survey: 59 percent of South Africans say financial strain is a significant source of stress. While most guys likely assume these worries would fade if they could only add another zero or two to their bank balance, research suggests otherwise: a 2018 Purdue University study found that measures of happiness tend to plateau – or even fall – once a man’s annual income reaches the R1.1m to R1.8m range.
“The issue isn’t that we don’t have enough money– it’s how we think about money,” says Joshua Becker, author of The Minimalist Home. “We’re looking for money to provide us something it can’t provide.” If you’ve achieved financial stability, Becker says, there’s almost no evidence that increasing your income will lower your stress. You can blame a concept known as the hedonic treadmill.
Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure, and researchers have consistently discovered that when something in a man’s life changes for the better – his income goes up, he splurges on a fancy watch or flashy ride – his level of happiness generally spikes briefly but returns to baseline. You’re on that treadmill. In other words, your brain adapts to new circumstances and then it goes right back to its previous patterns of anxiety. Social media and algorithm marketing are accelerating that feedback loop. “When we arrive at that next income level and find we’re not any more secure or happy than we were before, we start all over again,” says Becker. To escape this predicament, you need to adjust how you view, spend, and save your hard-earned dough.
Put Worry In Its Place
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