Friday, March 25, 2016

Short Takes: Downside to Going Cashless, Buying Happiness, and more

Here are my posts for the past two weeks:

CPP Forgiveness or Unfairness

Market Timing Using a Spreadsheet

Are You a Stock or a Bond?

Here are some short takes and some weekend reading:

There is an important downside to our trend toward a cashless society.

Contrary to popular belief, this writer says money can buy you happiness if you do it right. I agree that if you spread money out over your entire lifetime, it can make you happier. Sadly, many people seem to blow through large windfalls quickly.

Preet Banerjee interviews Ron Tite to discuss how brands compete for your time. Tite is very funny, so you’ll be entertained while you learn about content marketing.

Boomer and Echo bring us an investing guide for beginners. It can be tricky to put together generic advice that is relevant to a wide range of investors, but this is a good article for beginners.

Frugal Trader updates his journey to financial independence. He includes a detailed accounting of the dividend stream from his stock investments.

The Blunt Bean Counter has an interesting guest post about the laws on parents trying to cut one or more of their children out of their wills.

Canadian Couch Potato takes a run at estimating long-term future investment returns to use for planning purposes.

My Own Advisor explains why you failed at your New Year’s financial resolutions.

Big Cajun Man celebrates 11 years of financial blogging.


  1. Thanks for the inclusion this week. 11 Years doesn't seem like a long time until I see the picture of my son 11 years ago and now. A lot has changed since then.

  2. Many downsides to a cashless society.

    Money does not "buy" happiness. Happiness is derived from ones mental state. Is a Buddhist monk more or less happy than Trump? Money can provide more options, although only in the appropriate circumstances.
    ("Sadly, many people seem to blow through large windfalls quickly." And this is why so many family fortunes fail after being passed along.)

    1. @SST: If you understand what makes you happy in life (and what doesn't), you can use money intelligently to increase your happiness. The problem is that few of us really understand what makes us happy. We seem to think that expensive cars and other such crap is what will make us happy.

  3. "If you understand what makes you happy in life (and what doesn't), you can use money intelligently to increase your happiness."

    Respectfully disagree.

    We exist in a Capialist society, with money being THE measuring stick, thus are conditioned to think almost exclusively in terms of capital. But happiness is not a function of economy or finance -- it is wholly mental (e.g. how can a prisoner in a concentration camp be happy?!). There have been decades of study which find 'relationships' (and their quality) to be the main driver and causation of happiness.

    Trying to utilize money to increase happiness is an incredibly poor multiplier. Is Bill Gates a million times more happy than the homeless shelter volunteer if 'helping people' is their happiness driver?

    Money cannot buy happiness, we only think it can.

    1. @SST: You are arguing that money in and of itself does not make people happier. I thought I made it clear that I don't believe this. You gave the example of deriving happiness from quality relationships. One could use money intelligently to increase the odds of finding such quality relationships. A simple example would be someone who likes to talk about cars buying a vintage car and joining a vintage car club. I'm not suggesting that people automatically do smart things with money, but if you understand yourself well enough, you can use money to increase happiness.

  4. We will just have to continue to agree to disagree (be less happy?) on this matter. Happiness is wholly a mental construct to which money (and its lubricating and acquiring nature) has very minimal influence. It's kind of like saying money can buy optimism or love.

    An example: a baby. Once a baby's very basic needs are fulfilled -- if baby is not sick, hungry, cold, soiled, tired, or alone -- baby is happy. Money, and the things it will buy, do not make baby more happy.

    For an adult, most of the physical needs we can provide for ourselves, and those provide a baseline happiness. It's only the last one which must come from others (any questions as to why Facebook is so popular?). Unfortunately, as we get older, we create more and more complex and sophisticated ways of attaining these basic needs, and this causes us great thinking money can buy happiness.

    There have been happy people in every economic and financial aspect of life all over the world since before recorded history. As I said, it's hard to escape a Capitalistic mindset.

    Another parting example would be a person who has an incurable disease. All the money in the world won't change that person's physical condition, so what will be their source of happiness?

    Yes, it does help to 'know thy self', but that doesn't correlate to happiness either; ignorance is bliss, remember, and there ar plenty of dummies out there.

    1. @SST: I suggest that you send me all your money because it is useless for making you happy.

    2. If I was more diligent about severing mental attachments to materialism, I would definitely require far, far less money, thus I wouldn't have a lot of money to send you. As stated, it's incredibly difficult to break a life-time of continuous Capitalistic conditioning.

  5. Thanks for the mention. Late to comment, been busy!

    Hope all is well.