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Money, Stuff, and Happiness

I’ve always been a little overly concerned about money, so it makes sense that my coming graduation would cause me to become even more interested in this subject. People often associate money with happiness and I’ve been thinking a lot about how money effects my happiness. A few months ago, I clicked on an article linked off of Vanguard’s website entitled: “Living a Minimalist Financial Life–and Debt Free.” The basic advice given by the couple interviewed is to simplify your life, downsize, and pay more attention to experiences. Tammy and her husband used to live “the American dream.” They had a large apartment, normal everyday desk jobs, and not just a little bit of credit card debt. Realizing they weren’t happy they began a five year project of de-cluttering their life and in the process they re-defined the meaning of success. Now the two of them live in a 400-square-foot apartment (to give you some perspective, I’ll be living in an 800-square-foot apartment…by myself next year) and no longer own a car. Downsizing has allowed them to begin doing work they love with no credit debt.

This new minimalist lifestyle is really catching on (by “really catching on” I mean it has become a recognized underground movement) and Tammy’s story has been covered by the New York Times as well as a number of other major news outlets. I have to say, this style of living is really attractive to me because I often feel that the less clutter we have in our lives the more happiness we have room for. Tammy was able to start doing work she is passionate about for the first time in her life because her money and her time is no longer tied to STUFF. As I’ve begun packing to move out of college, I’ve been taking her advice and the advice I’ve read on her blog to heart when thinking about the things that I really need to take with me and I have realized that there are a lot of things I’ve been holding onto for years that I just don’t need to be burdened with anymore.
In my copious space time as a senior in college…I’ve also started reading some of Suze Orman’s financial advice (It’s never too early to think about saving for retirement! No really, I’ve been dreaming about opening my 401k since I was 12). Surprisingly, I’ve found that the Queen of financial advice in the U.S.A is giving similar advice to mainstream America. She’s all about re-defining the American dream so that it no longer necessarily means buying a house and having tons of stuff.

I definitely see the worth in this style of thinking and living. The less stuff the more happiness!!! (wish me luck on my finals…)

Posted in Alexandra Funk.

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