By Mitch Moxley - Monday, February 4, 2013 - 0 Comments
They are four times richer than they were 20 years ago, yet they find their lives lack meaning and direction
The Chinese have an expression to describe coping with hardship: chi ku—to eat bitterness. The sensation is familiar to Wang Hui, a 50-year-old salesman in Beijing. Wang earns less than $6,000 a year, struggles to put his son through school, and is openly jealous of those around him who have made out better in the new China. A former colleague, for example, who invested in real estate at the right time, now owns four apartments and a Mercedes-Benz.
“I’ve seen so many people get rich so quickly,” says Wang, whose missing bottom tooth and cracked watch seem to accentuate his Willy Loman predicament. “If I worked for 50 years, I wouldn’t make that much money. Of course I’m envious.”
Wang isn’t alone. In fact, he reflects a widespread dissatisfaction in China, one that at first glance might seem counterintuitive. It’s been more than 30 years since Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping opened the country and the Communist party embraced the mantra “to get rich is glorious.” In the decades since, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty. In 2010, China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. The Chinese today are four times richer than they were 20 years ago, and people like Wang have opportunities and creature comforts unheard of a generation ago. Continue…
By Julia McKinnell - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
More money means more chance for dysfunction, says author Deborah Price
When couples fight about money, it isn’t always because they don’t have enough. In many cases, the more they have, the more dysfunction there is, says Deborah Price, a well-respected money coach and author of a new book for couples called The Heart of Money: A Couple’s Guide to Creating True Financial Intimacy.
“This book was written for anybody who’s interested in exploring and understanding their more emotional and behavioural issues toward money,” said Price, the California-based founder and CEO of the Money Coaching Institute. “Many of our clients are people who are very affluent. In fact, many are from multi-generational families of wealth.”
Price’s coaching work goes beyond financial advice to help people talk about what’s really going on. “For example, I have a client who is very talented and makes a good living, but who worries incessantly about money. He thinks he has money issues, but the truth is, he has enough money and makes a good living. His real problems are: one, he hates what he does for a living and feels trapped; two, he lacks the confidence and faith that he can choose to do something else; and three, he doesn’t believe that he deserves to have what he wants, which is the heart of his problem,” writes Price. Continue…
By Cathy Gulli - Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:26 PM - 4 Comments
Those who get paid by the hour are more likely to link money and happiness
If you’re feeling unhappy, how your boss pays you may be the problem. A recent study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by researchers at the University of Toronto and Stanford University reveals that among hourly paid employees, happiness is more strongly linked to income than among those on salary.
“Payment practices influence your psychology,” says Sandford DeVoe, one of researchers and a prof of organizational behaviour and human resources management at U of T. “They influence how you define what happiness means.”
Given that 60 per cent of employees in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are paid by the hour, this study suggests that for most people, happiness is directly connected to their income. For those who get an hourly wage and make a lot of money—say more than $100,000 a year, they feel happier. But most hourly earners make a lot less than that, says DeVoe, and their happiness levels are also lower.
Lacking a sense of purpose and satisfaction at work was a common complaint among people who took an online health questionnaire last year, the Q-Gap, which was developed by Scienta Health in Toronto. It was the number one psycho-social problem, and DeVoe’s research indicates that money—and our sense of self-worth at work—may be at the core of those negative feelings.
DeVoe speculates that being paid by the hour continually reminds people about how much their time is worth—every two weeks, for instance, these employees are faced with the fact that they worked X number of hours, and made Y amount of dollars. DeVoe calls this the “commodification of time.” If you’re not making a lot, you’re also getting reminded of how little value you and your time are in the eyes of your employer.
There are other consequences: people who get paid by the hour tend to volunteer less (36 per cent less time than salaried employees, in fact) and log more hours on the job. The thinking goes, “I should spend more time working and earning more money,” explains DeVoe. “Why work without getting paid?”
That’s the rub, he says, because there is plenty of evidence that volunteering actually makes people happier. But hourly wages are a disincentive to doing things for reasons other than money. Getting paid by the hour, say DeVoe, “focuses you on economic dimensions.” That’s at odds with how most of us actually want to pursue our lives, he continues. “Typically we try to think about our lives as having meaning outside of how much we earn. But hourly payment hurts our ability to do that.”
Take this year’s Q-Gap quiz: “How healthy are you?”