I don't know how sad this story is -- yesterday I listened to a delightful story about poachers tranquilizing rhinos, slicing off their faces, and leaving them to die in the dirt -- but still, it does make you think a little ...
Before Ryan Howard's twin brother sued him for $2.8 million; before his father, who helped manage the Phillies slugger's money, allegedly requested a $10 million separation payment; before Howard claimed his parents and brothers conspired to defraud him, Howard planned a mansion with eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.
The sprawling Florida home was a place for the family - especially Corey, Ryan's look-alike confidant who later moved from St. Louis to Philadelphia in 2008 to live with Ryan. But beneath it all, Ryan harbored distrust in his family's dealings while Corey claimed a breach of their consulting contract. It fractured the Howards.
"Ryan loved Corey and believed Corey loved him," one court document said. "The relationship between them was one of trust and confidence."
Corey's lawsuit and Ryan's countersuit, both filed in a Missouri federal court, were dismissed Oct. 22. Thomas Wack, Howard's lawyer, said Ryan and his family settled out of court last month.
The good news is that Howard’s going to earn another $60 million, assuming he keeps showing up at the ballpark when he’s supposed to. So he shouldn’t have any real trouble fulfilling any short-term financial obligations to his gracious family members or anyone else.
The bad news is – here’s a newsflash, folks! – even $60 million doesn’t buy happiness.
Which you probably knew already, but a lot of people still think (I think) that the more money you make, the happier you’re likely to be. But of course that’s just not so. A few years ago, a Princeton study actually found the threshold is around $75,000 ... make any more than that, and you don’t get any happier. Which I suspect is because if you’re making $75,000 you can probably pay your bills, save a little for the kid’s college fund, etc. Of course it’s not nearly so simple, and a follow-up study found the figure varies depending on where you live (it’s harder to pay bills in San Francisco than Tulsa).
Why do I bring all this up? I don’t know. But it just occurs to me that when a baseball player gets a supposedly “life-changing” amount of money, it’s not really a positive change in the most meaningful way; it doesn’t make the player happier, which you would think is sort of the point. Then again, if he’s able to spread the money around to other people – as Ryan Howard clearly did, both wittingly and otherwise – maybe a big contract really can increase the amount of happiness out there.
But clearly even this doesn’t always work out so well.