The fact is money is required to live a worry-free life. But more money, however, cannot buy a healthier body or more meaningful relationships. After years of juggling multiple jobs and incomes, we think it’s time to pause and reflect on how much money is enough for a happier ‘OE’ life.
In this post, we’ll delve into the three simple ways for you to become a happier ‘OE’ practitioner.
1. Stop chasing more jobs and money
This may come as a surprise from a blog about working multiple remote jobs. After all, isn’t more jobs and money a good thing?
Be mindful of the ‘OE’ hedonic treadmill – more can become less, like lifestyle creep, overworking, neglected relationships, and ultimately divorces and loneliness.
More money is better, up to a point. And it’s easy to get addicted to new jobs and higher pay. However, as time goes on, the value of money diminishes while the value of time goes up. We know because we’ve been there. Time and the value of money, both present and future, are intricately bound.
The jobs-churning reality
Once the onboarding honeymoon is over, a new reality kicks. This new money comes at a cost – more of your time.
Worse, after three months, you realize this job is not ‘OE’ friendly. You jump back on the interview treadmill, hoping to replace this new money addiction with another job.
The cycle perpetuates itself, with more Js, bigger job titles, or higher prestige at a FAANG.
And all of this unnecessary stress adds up, leading to a less happier you.
The point of ‘OE’ is to not give too much of a crap about work (rule #7 be average) and live your 4,000-week life now. Do what you need to do to make money and go live a wonderful life. No more postponing, no more later in the future.
Recommendation: land ‘OE’ friendly remote jobs and work 20-30 hours each week for the next 3-5 years. Stop chasing more Js and money – it leads to nowhere, really.
What if you just love chasing Js and closing the deal?
We get it. Maybe the grass is actually greener on the other side this time. This feels a lot like addiction hacks, but here’s what you can do if you can’t stop jobs chasing:
- Batch all your interviews once a year. This minimizes the job-churning stress and keeps your interviewing skills sharp. Added bonus: you get market feedback on your current salaries and if you should re-negotiate your pay.
- Keep the OE friendly jobs, discard the inefficient jobs. Rinse and repeat until you have a solid 2-3 jobs that are considered OE-friendly. Stop yourself there.
- Try to get to where you only work 20-30 hours per week across all Js (aka fractional work for full-time pay). Hint: the longer you’ve been at a place, the more you’ll have mastered this art.
- Go and focus on living a happier and more meaningful life.
The simple truth is if you want to be happier while ‘OE’, then stop chasing more jobs and money. Play the long game – be a farmer not a hunter.
2. Set your time and financial boundary
So you’re determined to reach early financial independence (FI) with $3 million or more. After all, more Js would make reaching your FI goal much faster, right? Assuming you use our “live on J1 and save the rest” method.
But can you really sustain working 100 hours per week like an investment banker? The short answer is no, and you won’t be happy in your journey to FI..
Here’s the kicker – once you reach $3 million, you might ask why stop at $3 million when Bob next door retired with $10 million. Ah, the hedonic treadmill again. The truth is extrinsically motivated goals only beget momentary happiness.
You get the point. The goalposts are always moving. Don’t let them.
Better to focus on the journey to FI itself – you know, embrace living your one and only purposeful and meaningful life
So how much money do you need to live a healthy, well-connected, and meaningful life? The answer, fortunately and unfortunately, is in the eye of the beholder. What does healthy, well-connected, and meaningful means to you?
Determine your time-money exchange rate
How much ‘y’ time are you willing to give up for ‘x’ amount of money? We call this your time-money exchange rate. It’s more of an intuition than a real number.
‘OE’ and much of modern life is about trading time for money. We have to do it to some extent, or else we’d starve unless we were farmers.
So what’s your ideal exchange rate if you don’t want to work every waking hour like investment bankers? Let’s get to some illustrative numbers (again, really more intuition than numbers).
Anecdotally, we’ve found that working more than 50 hours per week diminishes overall well-being. We can intuitively sense more time is needed for better health, closer relationships, and purposeful living – not money.
Let’s set 50 hours per week (HPW) as our time boundary and divide it by our total weekly compensation (TWC) for an estimated time-money exchange rate (TMER).
For example, if your TWC is $50,000 for 3Js, then your TMER is $1,000 per hour ($50,000 TWC divided by 50 HPW). The lower you set your HPW time boundary, assuming no change in TWC, the higher your TMER.
And here’s the thing with time – it’s the greatest equalizer – whether you’re Warren Buffet or an average tech worker. Both start with about 4000-weeks (approximately 80 years in an average lifespan).
Recommendation: treat ‘OE’ like a time-for-money dial. Set your time-money exchange rate. Dial it up when ‘OE’ suits you, and dial it down when you need more time for important things like health, relationships, and purpose.
Sooner or later, you’ll reach FI, this post explains why.
3. Accept life’s reality and don’t bring productivity into family time
Modern life is full of conveniences – Uber to get you somewhere, Instacart to grab groceries, and Doordash to deliver food to your door. But do these conveniences make you happier, or is it to keep you running ever faster on the time-for-money conveyor belt? After all, we just talked about setting your time-money boundary.
Rather, the first step towards ‘OE’ and general happiness is to accept reality, which is that more productivity doesn’t mean more happiness. More productivity might expand your total weekly compensation (TWC) while on clock time, but it doesn’t translate to more happiness.
What to do with your other 118 hours (deep, leisure time) when you’re not on working
First, we can assume about 56 hours are reserved for sleep since we stressed the importance of protecting your ‘OE’ asset, aka your brain, and preventing burnout.
But outside of sleep, genuinely try to slow things down. We know it’s hard – modern life has made us more impatient and always operating at full-speed like we’re at work. Having mini-computers tied to your hip, aka cell phones, constantly alerting us to mostly frivolous things.
The very first step is to recognize when you’re no longer on clock time. No one is waiting on you to get your part of the widget done faster. Slow down your internal clock for deep family time.
More deep time with your kids, family, and loved ones (aka invest in meaningful relationships)
For instance, life reality #1 is that kids don’t operate on “clock time” yet because, well, they’re kids. Embrace their natural curiosity and wanderlust as a gift. Take your time to explain things and have deeper conversations. You just might get surprised by how much they know or what you’ve missed about them growing up.
But we know the struggle is real – and it’s not easy to switch from clock time to deep time. It’s a skill learning how to slow things down and relax. Rome wasn’t built in one day.
Spend time on hobbies with no purpose other than because you like it (others might even think it’s ridiculous)
Remember how much you liked trains when you were a kid? Why not make a miniature train set with a train station, countryside terrain, and all the bells and whistles? A side benefit is your kids might even enjoy helping you or playing with it.
Or, would you rather go on a long run or hike by yourself? That’s fine too. Just leave the distraction that tries to pull you back into clock time behind. Again, we know it’s not easy. Enjoy the time to yourself.
Dig deep into your childhood for a long lost love – we’re certain you’ll find some hobbies to spend your time engrossed in them.
Recommendation: Live more fully as humans and recognize when you’re off clock time. You’re more than just productivity machines.
So when you can, get off the time-productivity conveyor belt. Stop thinking about the past or the future. Life is happening now.
Bonus #1: Practice self-compassion and kindness
Tech layoffs, RTOs (return to office), and bank runs are creating economic uncertainty and stress not felt since early 2020. Be kind to your stressed out coworkers.
As an ‘OE’ practitioner, one way to level up our ‘OE’ happiness is not being so hard on ourselves for missing deadlines or being an average employee.
Our society often sets unrealistic expectations and demands that we strive for these impossible standards. This is especially true in the working world. It just makes us unhappy in general.
Bonus recommendation: Practice just not giving a hoot about work while being kind to yourself and others around you. Read Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind To Yourself and improve your mental well-being and a happier ‘OE’ life.
Bonus #2: We asked ChatGPT about money and happiness and were pleasantly surprised
The amount of money that is considered “enough” varies greatly from person to person, as it depends on individual circumstances, values, and goals. However, research suggests that beyond a certain point, additional money does not significantly increase happiness or life satisfaction.
One study conducted by economists at Princeton University found that the optimal income for happiness is around $75,000 per year in the United States. This amount is enough to meet basic needs and have some discretionary spending, but beyond that, increases in income do not lead to significant increases in happiness.
That being said, happiness is not solely determined by income or material possessions. There are many ways to cultivate happiness that do not involve money, such as developing meaningful relationships, engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment, practicing gratitude, and helping others.
Here are some ways to cultivate happiness that do not depend on financial wealth:
- Cultivate meaningful relationships with friends and family.
- Practice gratitude and focus on what you have, rather than what you lack.
- Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, such as hobbies or volunteering.
- Take care of your physical and mental health through exercise, healthy eating, and self-care.
- Find purpose and meaning in your work or through a personal passion or hobby.
- Help others and give back to your community through volunteering or charitable giving.
- Focus on experiences rather than material possessions.
- Practice mindfulness and focus on the present moment.
- Develop a positive mindset and practice optimism.
- Cultivate a sense of inner peace and contentment through meditation or spiritual practices.
Remember, happiness is a journey and not a destination. It is important to find a balance between material and non-material sources of happiness and to focus on what truly matters in life.
Wow, ChatGPT way to go! There you go folks. The glass is always half full when you’re ‘OE’ – just slow down, smell the roses, and be happier. Live long and prosper 🖖