Monday, June 8, 2015

The Happiness Plan

I should start off by warning you that the following article is definitely not it. The plan comes later in this post.

June 8, 2015
How I'm Digging Out of $222K of Divorce Debt Without Filing for Bankruptcy

$17,000 to a flooring company

There is a lesson to be learned here. Never do business with Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe's Divorce Attorney and Flooring Specialists. They offer some of the most expensive divorce packages this side of the Mississippi.

You don't suppose some of that divorce debt was actually marital debt do you? I'm picturing two people in love... with debt and all the things it can temporarily provide. Each trying to outspend the other, in an effort to get ahead. The American dream, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Nah, that's just crazy talk. This is divorce debt. Says so right in the title. Don't let it happen to you. Buy the flooring *before* the divorce! Borrow the money if need be!

In all seriousness, flooring is definitely something that can wait. I have. My house was built about 25 years ago. Still has the original carpeting. If a person needs new flooring in order to be happy, then I say that person is living in denial. It's not going to be enough. It will never be enough. It is not possible to fill a bottomless pit.

Put another way, our two dogs are very happy. They most certainly do not dwell on the quality of the flooring. In some ways, dogs are smarter than people. They enjoy the simple pleasures, whereas humans in this country have apparently been trained to always want more. Once again, once you go down the "always wanting more" path there will never be enough to satisfy. It can't. You will always want more!

The Happiness Plan

1. Dog (can be found at local animal shelters).
2. Dog toy (can be just a stick).
3. Yard (can be the grass of a local park).
4. Bliss.
5. Repeat as necessary.

I swear to you that if you do it right, have your basic necessities covered, and are reasonably healthy, then nothing more is ever needed. If this can't allow you to be happy, then nothing can. Unfortunately, there are way too many people who have not figured this out. In any event, I think most can agree that it is vastly superior to the $222k in debt plan. Go figure.

The Happiness Plan is not approved by the National Bankers Association. I could really use their endorsement if I want to take this mainstream. I may need to add some borrowing fees in there between bliss and repeat. Or maybe some happiness advisory fees or happiness overdraft protection charges. Or perhaps even some late fees if the happiness is too slow to appear. Still working through the details. Not. ;)


Rob Dawg said...

> The Happiness Plan
1. Dog (can be found at local animal shelters).
2. Dog toy (can be just a stick).
3. Yard (can be the grass of a local park).
4. Bliss.
5. Repeat as necessary.

Shouldn't you ease us into the program with a cat

Stagflationary Mark said...

Hahaha! :)

There's a risk there. I think some cat people don't find happiness until the N + 1 cat appears, for N approaching infinity.

For the record, we once had two cats. My girlfriend had two when I met her. I liked her cats. Eventually died of natural causes. Generally prefer dogs though.

dearieme said...

Dear Auntie Mark,

A neighbour's cat keeps trying to enter our house; it clearly wants to change homes. Should we encourage it? Is this our route to true happiness?


Stagflationary Mark said...

Dear dearieme,

I have consulted with the Great One on Contentment Mountain.

He suggests that you immediately place your house on the market and move to a house that's currently for sale two blocks over. Said that this was the only way you could achieve complete happiness.

I'm not sure that was the best advice though. It bothers me that the Great One offered me his business card and told me that I would receive a $5 gift card from for each friend I referred to his real estate business.

And the worst part of all was that he never wanted to know more about the cat. Was it a friendly cat? Were your neighbors professional lion tamers? None of this seemed important. He just kept giggling maniacally while muttering "easy commission" under his breath.

Yours Truly,
Auntie Mark

Troy said...

Me, two years ago:

At its most basic, wealth is the state of being well.

The next level of wealth is that which makes us well -- that provides the utility of meeting needs and wants. Food to satisfy our hunger, games and TV shows to entertain, cars to move us about and the roads that make the trip more pleasant.

The next level of wealth is that which assists in the production of the above wealth. This can be called capital, I like to call it 'indirect wealth', I think. (Still working on this, LOL)

Then we get into financial wealth -- currency, savings, investments -- which is a claimcheck on the above forms of physical wealth.

Service providers -- those that provision the wealth that directly satisfies our needs -- can be machines or laborers.

eg. the refrigerator that keeps our foods fresh, or the men who cut lake ice in the winter and deliver it in the summer.
washing machines, too, etc etc

As more wealth is created mechanically, theoretically we could all be wealthier.

But there is a side channel of wealth -- financial wealth -- transfer also occurring, that in land and other forms of rent collection.

This is pulling financial resources out of the paycheck economy, and if it not reversed by redistributionary fiscal policy -- "sharing the wealth" -- we get consumer credit booms and busts.

This is the Stiglitz argument I believe.

There's one other google hit for "wealth is the state of being well"

Stagflationary Mark said...


As more wealth is created mechanically, theoretically we could all be wealthier.

If only there weren't so many tapeworms feeding on it. At some point we may have one tapeworm too many, in which case the host can no longer survive.

June 10, 2015
Cartier boss says rising inequality will spark class war

"We cannot have 0.1% of 0.1% [of rich individuals] taking all the spoils. And folks, those are our clients. But it's unfair and it is not sustainable," he said to an audience that appeared stunned by his remarks. "So I don't know what new social pact we'll have, but we'd better find one."

Harry Hoover said...

I am doing research for my next book, which is on happiness, and came across this post. The dog happiness plan has merit! If you'd like to read about my happiness plan you can find it here.

Stagflationary Mark said...

When we are happy, we are able to be content with what we have. I believe this a better, healthier way to live. So, we need a plan to get us off the hamster wheel.

I am a believer.

My girlfriend asked me yesterday what car I would want if money was no object. After thinking about it for a bit, I told her the Toyota Camry I bought new in 1996. I'm still driving it. It's got 89,000 miles on it. It's never left me stranded by the side of the road. What's not to like? It's a good car.

Be Grateful. To me, more than anything else on this list, gratitude is the path to happiness.

I am grateful every time I take a hot bath or a hot shower. I am grateful every time I eat. I am grateful every time I sleep under a roof. I am grateful to lay on a hammock in the summer at night, and simply stare up at the stars. I don't think most Americans realize just how lucky and fortunate most of us are.

People ask me if I'm bored in retirement. I can't even remember the last time I was bored. There are nearly an infinite number of happy things I could do and I only need to think up one at a time. How is this hard for people?

Watch TV? Read a book? Play a game? Play with the dogs? Take a walk down to the river? Go on a hike? Workout at the gym? Write something on my blog? Relax on a hammock? Cook a meal? Have a conversation? Or simply think about things that are fun?

Perhaps boredom is what happens if you can't think of anything that makes you happy.

I grew up in a small farming town and both my parents worked. I learned at an early age what makes me happy and how not to be bored. I am grateful for that too! :)