Inverse correlation

Free– and priceless: the view out my upstairs window last Friday, April 2018.

“There are things money can’t buy. I don’t think standard of living equates with cost of living beyond a certain point. Good housing, good health, good food, good transport. There’s a point you start getting inverse correlation between wealth and quality of life…
I have everything I need to have, and I don’t need any more because it doesn’t make a difference after a point.”Warren Buffett

That quote might make way more sense if it wasn’t being said by one of the all-time richest men in the entire world. But there’s a strange way in which it’s more credible coming from Buffet, who is famously cheap frugal in the way that he lives, especially when one considers his literally unimaginable wealth.

Buffet knows first hand that no amount of money can purchase what isn’t for sale at any price. Beyond obtaining the basic necessities of a healthy life, money is never going to be the route to happiness, because more is never enough.

Most of us who read this blog will know this to be true because of the joy we experience when we work in the garden, or savor a cup of tea, or laugh with a loved one. If you are reading this post, chances are good that you are rich! Maybe not financially, but in all the ways that really count, the blessings among us are abundant.

You may be thinking something along the lines of what my friend Ashleigh Brilliant once wrote: “All I ask is a chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.” Most of us will never get that chance, but we need look no further than the headline stories in the news to see the “inverse correlation” Buffet mentions, creating all sorts of havoc in countless lives. We don’t need to find out first hand about that inverse correlation. It’s all around us.

Instead, let’s focus on the positive truth of his claim. What will you be doing today that might inspire Buffet to point to you and say “See what I mean about quality of life that can’t be bought?” You are invited to meet Sheila and me on the Virtual Verandah for an imaginary tea party, and share some of your own cheap frugal comforts with us there, or in the comments below. While you are at it, enjoy that clever “Foolish dragon” haiku at the Motley Fool article linked above. It makes me smile every time I see it.




  1. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. ☕️ This is the most wonderful Monday morning on OUR verandah. I am now the grandmother of a Marine, puffed up proud, and never been more thankful. 🇺🇸I love your words today (and everyday). I cannot put a price tag on what I shared with our family last week at Parris Island, SC when Hewitt graduated into our military, United States Marine Corp. 🇺🇸 It was shared and enjoyed beyond words! I hope the memory that lingers in my heart will forever be as vivid as it is right now. When our daughter (Hewitt’s Momma) finally reached him in the hangar arena for the first touch and first hug, it was more love than I’d ever imagined. Thank you for letting me be the TALKER this morning, as we sit together. I know you’re smiling! Love y’all dearly! 💛 Sheila 🌷

    • Sheila, yes I am smiling! And I’m pouring another mug of tea as I breathe in the fresh air created by all that beautiful greenery on our April Verandah. Sending loving congratulations. Semper Fi!

  2. The New International Version of 1 Timothy 6:10 contains the words, “all kinds”.
    Therefore, each of us ask ourselves: what constitutes the “love” thereof?

    • Yes, as my friend Amy Dye told me many years ago, it dawned on her one day that being frugal can quickly morph into just another form of greed. It’s worth nothing that it’s the “love of money” and not money in itself, that is the root of “all kinds of evil.” It’s not necessary to have money in order to love it excessively. In fact, it might be that a lack of money pours gas on the fires of greed in some cases.

      • Amy is right on! I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but it explains why certain people’s thrift has made me uncomfortable. Now that I can see it that way, I feel more compassionate and forgiving (instead of just feeling yucky and wondering why I’ve felt so defensive).
        That statement i just made probably didn’t make much sense to you, reading it, but it makes sense to me, and that’s extremely helpful to me.
        Thanks again for sharing wisdom. It helps in ways that you probably don’t imagine.

        • Susan, what you say makes perfect sense to me because I’m typically on the receiving end of other people’s discomfort with my cheap frugal ways. The more profligate a spender a person is, the more anger my frugality seems inspire in them, even if I never say one word about money. Jeff and I were so totally sympatico about that (among many other things), so we were ideally suited to living with each other’s idiosyncrasies. Indeed, we acted as a sort of check-and-balance system for each other– it’s much easier to take correction from someone who totally gets why you are doing something, and can say “you need to ease up a bit” without sounding judgmental. I also think all of us can get automatically defensive about certain things we might observe others doing (or more often, NOT doing, such as drinking) because we so often assume the other person is judging our different approach to life. It’s one reason I think we are all better off if we intentionally make friends with people from all sorts of demographic groups — other age groups, ability levels, cultures, faiths, etc.– because we learn to be more fully ourselves without feeling threatened or judged by those who are different. Now it’s MY turn to say “this probably didn’t make much sense.” 😀

          • Ann

            Julia, this makes sense to me! If we surround ourselves with people just like us, we never hear/see another perspective or another way of doing things. Of course, I am most comfortable with people just like me 😀 but I do try to broaden my outlook. Traveling to other parts of the world and living in other sections of the US have really helped! Peace and happiness to you on the verandah.

            • Thank you, Ann! I’m so happy you are here. ❤

          • Not only did that make sense, but I whole heartedly agree!

  3. “No one is a failure who has friends.” – Clarence the angel (It’s A Wonderful Life)

  4. Sheila

    “Greetings from South Carolina” back at you, my special friend. I loved the postcard. 📬 Thank you so much. 😘

    • 😀 📬

  5. Very thought provoking post, Julia. I read it this morning and finally got back to comment. Money never buys happiness. It’s what you can do with it that makes the difference. If there is enough to keep the wolves at bay and take care of basic and essential needs and some wants, most people are happy. Even those with little to nothing can be happy. I agree with Buffet. His home is the same one he bought when he was first married. No splendor for him. He uses his money for good in so many ways and his needs are simple. Mine too. Have a great weekend on your Veranda. 🙂

    • Thank you Marlene. Hope to see you there! The company is friendly and the price is always right.

  6. Good morning, Julia! Getting up early to spend some quiet time reading before watching the sunrise can’t be bought. Wow!
    Well, unless you count in the cost of an alarm clock and reading light. Ok, I’ll try again ….
    I think I’ll just visit your virtual verandah.
    Thinking nice thoughts is always free!

    • Susan, that last sentence could be a quote for a blog post. Sooner or later you will convince me to try the “dawn’s early light” way of life. I must admit, on the rare days I wake up in the very early morning and don’t go back to sleep, I LOVE being up for sunrise. So maybe I should try that on at least a part-time basis. Mornings tend to be my hardest time; when I wake up, I lie in bed talking myself in to getting up because the sad, anxious, lonely, etc. thought just overwhelm me. Getting up at dawn might be worth trying.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

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