Money and Happiness


  • How should one think about money?
  • What are alternative views to the traditional view of money as a transactional medium. (Money as energy).
  • How can we best use money to make us more happy?


You’re not really paying for a cleaning service, you’re buying back that time you would spend cleaning your house yourself.

Time is the finite resource of your life, so trade money to free up your time.

  • Lawn service to buy back hours of you weekend so you can play with your kids or work on personal projects.
  • Cleaning service so you don’t have to spend those hours in the evening/weekends.
  • Car maintenance: go to the shop and let them do it.

Money as Energy

I think this concept comes from “Laws of Attraction” which I don’t know much about.

Think of Money as a form of energy flow, be intentional on how you spend.

Are you spending money on things that are generative/energizing/recharging you? Or is it spent on things that zap/discharge/degenerative you?

Money and Guilt

money amplifies your habits

I once talked to a therapist about the money trap and the desire to have more and more and more even though we already live a comfortable life, and how I feel guilty about not being happy enough with what we have. She had a great response, people with more money are able to amplify the type of person they want to become. Just because you have more money than others doesn’t mean you are just a money driven, greedy, person. You can then leverage money to make your community better and spend it in ways that align with your personal values.

Reframe Money Habits

Manage your money like a multimillionaire by seeing yourself as one. For example:

  • You are not spending money on yourself. You are investing in yourself.
  • You are not penny pinching. You are allocating your assets wisely.
  • You are not budgeting. You are managing your wealth.
  • You did not get scammed. You took a loss and will recuperate those funds again.

This is similar to taking on a new identity with regards to how you interpret money flow. By making your money identity more business oriented, you’re removing i’s negative power over your mental happiness.

Billing Hourly and Mental Health

Realize you are commoditizing your life to an hourly rate.

“Commoditize your life” - valuing that hour as a dollar amount. If you’re underpaid then you’re devaluing your life, and you’re living a devalued life.

  • How does working hourly effect mental health?
  • How does commoditizing your time make you feel? How does it change the way you view the world or your time spent?


trade time and effort for purchasing power.

Time/Money Trade-off

Don’t trade time for money.

Sounds advice, but isn’t everyone trading time for money at some level?

  • Hourly Programmer Rate: $150
  • Salaried Programmer: Salary / 2180 (hours/year) = some hourly rate
  • Entrepreneur: 3 years (150 weeks) at 60/hours/week. Sell the company for $10m - $1.111.11/hour

So it’s not about trading time for money, it’s about optimizing the return for time. Build an assets and you’re separating the link between the hour in/dollar out into something that scales.

Alternative perspective on the Rainy Day Fund

Save your own severance! When you start a new job, refill the coffers, so your’e ready to show up as who you want to be the next time you transition. Remove the fear from losing your job.

A colleague shared this ingenious perspective change on the classic “rainy day fund” financial advice.

When starting a new job, immediately start saving for your own severance. Once you’ve saved enough, you are now free’d from the fear of requiring that job for a salary. I love this, because while this is essentially the rainy day fund advice (general/fallback/safety net), saving your own severance is a powerful, purposeful, proactive goal, and let’s you be ourself without needing to try and fit a mold, or play it safe at your next employment, in the end bringing you increased happiness and satisfaction.

Related Notes