Some musings, then the weekly reading links.
I am a sucker for academic papers on happiness and money, and whether watching The Apprentice every Wednesday can do much for either.
True, I’m not sure they’re of much practical use. I’ve got a hangover this morning, making me question exactly where I’m going with my life, and making me feel rotten. It’s severely skewing my personal data set.
On a society-wide level, however, they do provide an interesting challenge to the direction that markets and mainstream capitalism is taking us – which let’s face it is determined more by the invisible hand making come hither gestures than by any 20th Century-style grand plan.
Don’t worry, be a believer in an expensive dress
In their recent paper Happiness, Meaning of Life, and Income, Lois Duff and Artjoms Ivlevs of the University of the West of England pitted these three variables against each other in a cockfight:
The paper explores the non-material determinants of happiness. We go beyond the well-established result that individual ‘religiousness’ is positively correlated with happiness and look at a broader spiritual activity – time spent thinking about the meaning and purpose of life (MPL).
We […] find that the educated, the religious, females and the middle aged are more likely to spend time thinking about the MPL.
The correlation between happiness and thinking about the MPL depends on a country’s income: it is negative in high income countries and positive in low income countries.
You can download the whole paper via the link above, but here’s my summary: If you want to be happy, then be a well-off female in a poor country and believe in God, or if not spend a lot of time wondering whether you should.
Alas, that’s a lifestyle change that few of us can make. And anyway, if you’re a middle-aged man in the UK who believes in evolution (I do) and has decided to bow down before Richard Dawkin instead (I definitely don’t) then a sex-change and a relocation to Burkina Faso isn’t going to cut it.
You can’t forget where you came from because you can’t forget what it taught you.
Nothing else for it but to keep recklessly living below our means, irresponsibly saving and investing the resultant spare cash, and having faith in the stock market over the long-term, I guess.
From the investing and money blogs
- Trading at the speed of light – The Psy-Fi blog
- Snoozing your way to investment prosperity – Investing Caffeine
- Against (feminist) ambition – Stumbling and Mumbling
- FTSE 100 cyclically-adjusted PE ratio – Retirement Investing Today
- Euro is a busted flush – iii blog
- Are you a disciplined investor? – Rick Ferri
- Portfolio, performance, and XIRR – Simple Living in Suffolk
- Why I don’t overweight small cap or value stocks – Oblivious Investor
- Return of the millionaires – Consumerism Commentary
Mainstream media money sites
- If Greece goes… – The Economist
- The locavore’s dilemma – The Boston Globe
- Vanguard launches cheap ‘life strategy’ index funds – Motley Fool
- What’s better: High yield or dividend growth? – Motley Fool
- Bonus buyers return to London property market – FT
- Small cap funds have big returns – FT
- Great private investor stories from John Lee’s readers – FT
- Solar panel companies using ‘dodgy sales tactics’ – Telegraph
- The banknotes that could return if Euro falls – Telegraph
- London can be cheap and cheerful – Independent
- Update on the FirstBuy homebuyers scheme – The Guardian
- Change career by going green – The Guardian
Subscribe for a free digest every Saturday!