The 40-Year Slump

What has vanished over the past 40 years isn’t just Americans’ rising incomes. It’s their sense of control over their lives. The young college graduates working in jobs requiring no more than a high-school degree, the middle-aged unemployed who have permanently opted out of a labor market that has no place for them, the 45- to 60-year-olds who say they will have to delay their retirement because they have insufficient savings—all these and more are leading lives that have diverged from the aspirations that Americans until recently believed they could fulfill. This May, a Pew poll asked respondents if they thought that today’s children would be better or worse off than their parents. Sixty-two percent said worse off, while 33 percent said better. Studies that document the decline of intergenerational mobility suggest that this newfound pessimism is well grounded.

via The 40-Year Slump.

Money, Happiness and the New Science of Smarter Spending | New Republic

Experiences can have a much bigger impact on people’s happiness than things, and a big part of that happiness lies in looking forward to the experience that you are going to have.

via Money, Happiness and the New Science of Smarter Spending | New Republic.

Unwelcome tasks and burdens

…Town notables, as town autonomy vanished, found they had become subordinate implements of the imperial bureaucracy, and the life went out of their public functions, which grew every decade more disagreeable, more profitless and more oppressive. They had to be driven to their unwelcome tasks and burdens, which brought no real honor and gratified no ambition. Like beasts at the water-wheel, they plodded a dreary round to haul up the taxes needed by their rulers….

Previté-Orton, C. W.. The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. Print

Can You Own a Birkin Bag and Still Be a Minimalist?

I have very little understanding of these brands, but I get the concept; I like it.

Imagine yourself in my make-believe Louboutins. If you have a bunch of other stuff lying around, filling up your home, adding to the clutter, how can you value your Birkin when it is surrounded by other things that are vying for your attention, removing your awareness from this object that you adore so much?The point is to remove all the extraneous stuff so that you can have the space – literally and figuratively – to focus all of your energy on the things that you value the most. There’s nothing minimal about this shift. It’s simple, it’s small, but it makes a world of difference. It has the capacity to encourage an expansion, not a contraction, of how you view your surroundings.

via Can You Own a Birkin Bag and Still Be a Minimalist?.

Do Local Businesses Deserve Your Money?

“LOCAL” DOES NOT EQUAL “GOOD.”

Local equals local. For instance, there are many coffee shops around. One of the local coffee shops invariably has a huge line, and locals know to go there only if you have some extra time. The coffee is good, but not amazing. Are they extra kind there? No. Do they greet people? No.

The local Dunkin Donuts is faster. They’re not much more kind (I mean, they’re not unkind, but they just do what they do with little beyond the script). Is that good? Depends on what you want.

via Do Local Businesses Deserve Your Money?.

The secret to a higher salary is to ask for nothing at all – Quartz

…The next time I had to negotiate a contract, it began in typical fashion with a prospective employer sending me a lopsided agreement and asking me to counter-propose. I said I was incompetent to do that and suggested they write a new contract as if they were me, putting in everything that would be in my best interests, and then taking out everything they would never agree to. Since that would be the best I could get, I would accept it subject to agreement on compensation.

We started with base pay. I wrote down the least I would work for and asked them to write down the most they would offer a perfect person, irrespective of whether I was that person or not. If when we exchanged papers, their number wasn’t higher than mine then we could stop there and save time. Their number was twice the best base pay I had ever received in past jobs, and my request was for $0. I explained that my goal is to live a debt-free life, and therefore I wanted to give value before receiving compensation.

via The secret to a higher salary is to ask for nothing at all – Quartz.

Why Should I be Frugal, When I’m So Rich? | Mr. Money Mustache

And so I’d like to issue a challenge that you consider deflating, rather than inflating your own lifestyle as you get richer. The desire for luxury, while very real and occasionally pleasant to satisfy, is actually a weakness that stands in the way of a happier life. Getting off of the path that society has beaten for you will lead to much better adventures. So I’d rather work towards strength as I get older, rather than striving for weakness.

Why Should I be Frugal, When I’m So Rich? | Mr. Money Mustache.