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Money does not buy happiness...

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I have read several financial books, worked for a brokerage firm (as a web developer), setup an options trading model, and have been given more financial advice in my life than anyone should ever listen to.  With that being said, I have learned very little about how to save, how to invest, when to invest, how to become financially free, etc... The most valuable lesson I think I have learned from reading all of those books (I'm currently reading Your Money: The Missing Manual) is this:

Money does not buy happiness.  It does make life easier to an extent though.

In Your Money: The Missing Manual, it says you need to determine when you have Enough (yes, it's capitalized).  Really a brilliant concept.  Simple, concise, and true.  What determines Enough?  Unfortunately, that is up to you.  I like to play Street Fighter, so of course I'm going to get the new Super Street Fighter IV game.  But, I don't need nor want, Uncharted 2, Bioshock, or the 15 other games that just came out.

The other point that I wanted to bring up is goal setting.  We all talk about goal setting, but very few of us do it.  I want to go to Italy one day.  One day?  Is that Friday? or March 7, 2040.  How much will it cost?  Friday it will probably be a lot cheaper than in 2040.  Anyway, SMART goal setting is mentioned (common at Microsoft for reviews).  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.  That helps out a lot.  So whatever your goal is, make sure it meets those criteria as a guideline.  Handling money is easy... holding on to it, due to the mass of marketing saying we need something to make us happy is not so easy.  Stick with your goals and avoid Television.  Ok, I know I watch it all the time, but commercials I avoid.  It's funny, because of that, television shows, now have little ad banners for other shows during the actual show.  Marketing people are smart, clever, and resourceful.  Good for them.

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