I’ve been back at a conventional job for nearly 2 months now, and a phenomenon I had forgotten has returned front and center. What is it you ask?! That let down feeling I get every payday. Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you feel it too? The feeling that your paycheck doesn’t make you as happy as you thought it would. Or more likely if you’ve been in your current job for more than a couple months, it doesn’t make you happy at all. How about that little voice in the back of your mind……asking “Did I really give up two weeks for my life for this money?”
Now I’m not complaining. It may sound like it, but I’m not. I’m working this job so my wife can stay home and raise our son, and God willing…..additional children. I feel good about that and how our son is flourishing. I also can’t help but notice how happy my wife is to be a stay at home mom. I come home every afternoon and see their smiling faces. I hear of their exciting adventures. It feels good that I am helping to provide some of that excitement.
No, what I’m talking about boils down to a simple little concept. Money doesn’t buy my happiness. Now clearly we aren’t poor, so that probably helps shape my view, but I don’t see how making another $20k or $30k per year would make us the slightest bit happier. We are just simple people. Would I take a few more vacations per year if we had gobs of money? Sure I would, I love to travel. Would I buy a different vehicle? Maybe. Would I be any happier? I doubt it. Dozens of academic studies have shown over the recent years that (on average) an individual’s happiness only increases with income up to the $65k-$70k level, any correlation beyond that is much weaker.
I look forward to spending time on things I’m passionate again. Last winter and spring was amazing in that regard. I know Jason and a few other bloggers that can relate. You can read all about how they are pursuing their passions since leaving conventional employment. I spent my time writing, researching investments, volunteering with the local soup kitchen, and helping a friend get his company off the ground……my income was pennies and loved every moment of it. Give it 5 or 6 years and I will be back in that zone. My free cash flow will drop back to the $15k-$20k per year I can make on my various little projects, plus the income in our investment accounts. It’s not my time yet, but I can see it in the future. For now I’m trying to embrace the challenge of managing people in the public sector, which for the un-initiated is a bit like being a high school quarterback with one arm tied behind my back. Good thing I love a challenge, and this one is certainly forcing me to grow.
On Friday we sold out of our position in Endurance Specialty Holdings (ENH). As you’ll remember we invested in the company a couple months ago, as a deep value investment. During that time we achieved a 12% stock appreciation and I believe we will receive a dividend from the next payout. There is likely more upside in the company’s stock price, but we are happy to take our profit. Continue reading