Inflated expectations deflate our happiness

Posted by TEBI on January 17, 2024

Inflated expectations deflate our happiness



“We might have higher incomes, more wealth, and bigger homes — but it’s all so quickly smothered by inflated expectations.”
— Morgan Housel, Same As Ever


The late Charlie Munger was right: inflated expectations make us miserable. “The first rule of a happy life,” Munger told CNBC is one of his last interviews, “is low expectations.” And the good news, he said, is that it’s “one thing you can easily arrange”.

To be clear, lowering your expectations isn’t about settling for less or not trying to do your best. It’s about being realistic, and grateful for what you already have. Crucially, it’s about ensuring that your expectations don’t grow at a faster pace than your circumstances.

The problem, as Morgan Housel explains in his new book, Same As Ever, is that as our wealth increases, so do our expectations. Instead of appreciating what they have, people are constantly pushing for more and more, which inevitably leads to misery.

“In a world that tends to get better for most people most of the time,” writes Housel, “an important life skill is getting the goal post to stop moving. It’s also one of the hardest.”

As I explain in this new article rockwealth, managing your expectations is easier when you have someone to help you keep a sense of perspective. A trusted financial planner is ideal.



ROBIN POWELL is the editor of The Evidence-Based Investor. He works as a journalist, author and consultant specialising in finance and investing. He is the co-author of two books, Invest Your Way to Financial Freedom and How to Fund the Life You Want, and his company Regis Media provides high-quality video content for advice firms and other financial businesses.



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