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All About the Benjamins

A few years ago, I came across a Princeton study that revealed once an individual earns $75,000 a year, additional earnings have little to no impact on “emotional well-being.” Though we’ve all heard the adage, “Money can’t buy happiness”, this quantification certainly casts a different light on the meaning. My surprise of this discovery was revealing for two reasons:

  1. I had thought high earns played some, if not a significant, relational role to happiness.
  2. I had assumed this number to be higher.

With this in mind, I thought back to decisions I made in college that could be attributed to an aspiration to obtain wealth. My pursuit of a corporate law career was not solely based on an passion to trade my youth to a corporation to interpret dense rules in legalese. It seems that money may have played some part in justifying the means. The curious part, I didn’t have a dollar amount associated with my pursuit of wealth but I was willing to sacrifice a lot to get there.

Learning this had made, what were once tough decisions, seem clear. The decision between attending Law School or taking a less traditional path of joining a tech startup no longer weighed equally. Realizing this number to be obtainable allowed for the prioritization of more important considerations, like interests, a drive of purpose and the pursuit of mastery. This study was the scientific affirmation to pursue results of the commonly asked question, “What would you do if you didn’t have to consider money?”

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