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Defining “True Wealth”

Defining “True Wealth” 1

By “how much is enough?,” I mean the amount that will allow you to stop driving so hard professionally should you choose to do so.  I mean the amount that will allow you to feel safe, the amount that will compensate for risking hard-won relationships, the amount that will affirm your feeling good, smart, successful, accomplished, in control.

Pamela York Klainer

How Much is Enough?

 

How much is enough? What does this mean to you?  As author Pamela York Klainer explains, “The question is deceptively simple, but the answer is critical to integrating money with other aspects of your life and finding happiness.”

Similarly, Karen Ramsey commented in her book Think Again: New Money Choices, Old Money Myths about the importance of making sure your financial life supports what is most important to you:

Money will only improve the quality of your life when it is used with clarity.  Only when you learn to spend money in concert with your underlying values—the things that you most deeply care about—will it become a tool for creating a more fulfilling life.

In other words, money can help you to achieve your goals, but financial resources alone cannot produce the essential ingredients of a satisfying and rewarding life such as peace of mind, loving relationships, and meaningful activities.  Michael Stein, author of The Prosperous Retirement, also recommends a holistic approach to life and money:

“Just as a wagon wheel without spokes will not carry your wagon, money cannot, in itself bring joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, and a sense of balance into your life.  In fact, money sometimes can get in the way of achieving these non-financial goals.”

In addition, it is very helpful to view your life as being multifaceted, and to consider how each facet contributes to the quality of like you experience—now and in the future.  Think of each facet as an integral part of your total “life portfolio” and remember that it is your investments of time and energy that will make your portfolio grow.

In conclusion, always keep in mind that the word “rich” has two meanings.  It can be can be defined as “possessing great material wealth,” and it can also be defined as “that which is abundant, meaningful, and significant.”  Once you have a clear definition of what “true wealth” means to you, then you can invest in each area of life in a meaningful and purposeful way.

December 18, 2018 by intrinsic 0 Comments

The Art & Science Of “Smarter” Spending

The Art & Science Of “Smarter” Spending 2

Although a number of studies have focused on the effect of income on happiness, Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, also wanted to understand the effect of spending choices on happiness.

For example, previous research clearly demonstrated that income has a predictably positive effect on level of happiness, but these levels remain flat over time even as income increases.  This finding puzzled Dunn and she wanted to find out why happiness did not increase along with income.

Could the reason be, Dunn wondered, that people poured their increasing wealth into purchasing consumer goods that did not provide lasting happiness?  As an alternative, could spending money on other people have a more positive impact on well-being than spending money on oneself?

As an initial test of the relationship between spending choices and happiness, Dunn worked with a graduate student and an assistant professor at Harvard Business School to survey a nationally representative sample of Americans.  The study participants were first asked to rate their happiness and to report their annual income.

Finally, they were asked to estimate 1) how much they spent on themselves (bills, expenses, and gifts for themselves) and 2) how much they spent on others (gifts for others and donations to charities).

Analysis of the data revealed that personal spending was not related to happiness, but higher levels of giving was significantly related to higher levels of happiness.

Next, Dunn studied a group of employees before and after receiving profit sharing bonuses.  The research team was interested to know if choices regarding how an economic windfall was spent would also affect happiness. One month before receiving their bonuses, the employees were asked to report annual income and general happiness.

Then, six to eight weeks after receiving their bonuses, the participants were asked to report their level of happiness again and how they spent their bonuses: 1) on themselves (bills, expenses, and gifts for themselves) or 2) on others (gifts for others and donations to charities).

Again, analyses demonstrated no relationship between personal spending and happiness while spending on others was shown to be a significant predictor of happiness.

In yet another study, participants were asked to choose a scenario they thought would make them the happiest.  Surprisingly, a significant majority replied that personal spending would make them happier than spending on others.

Therefore, with such a positive influence on emotional well-being, why aren’t more people giving or giving more?  Dunn believes the reason is that most people don’t know about the connection between giving and happiness.

 

 

 

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NP

 

October 12, 2018 by intrinsic 0 Comments

Increasing Happiness Is A Matter Of Intention

Increasing Happiness Is A Matter Of Intention 3

For many years, the prevailing theory was that individuals have a genetically determined happiness set point.

In other words, scientists believed that each person could temporarily experience more happiness (depending on circumstances, relationships, and life events), but would then slide back to his or her “pre-programmed” set point. In fact, less than two decades ago, one researcher was quoted as saying, “It may be that trying to be happier is as futile as trying to be taller.”

However, current research in the field of Positive Psychology indicates that people can become happier and the change can be long-term. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D. (University of California) wrote:

My colleagues and I believe that sustainable increases in happiness are possible through the execution of intentional cognitive, motivational, and behavioral activities that are feasible to deploy, but require daily and concerted effort and commitment.

Lyubomirsky received a grant from the National Institute of Health to identify specific ways individuals can sustain higher levels of happiness. Her pioneering research revealed that our genetic set point accounts for only 50 percent of the happiness we experience while a mere 10 percent can be attributed to life circumstances and situations.

That means a full 40 percent of our capacity for happiness lies within our power to change. For Lyubomirsky (and for the rest of us), this is heartening news! Scientific evidence confirms that we can maximize our happiness by managing what we do and how we think. She explains:

If we observe genuinely happy people, we shall find that they do not just sit around being contented. They make things happen. They pursue new understandings, seek new achievements, and control their thoughts and feelings.

In her book, The How of Happiness, Lyubomirsky provides an engaging review of her research, and outlines the strategies she identified as being the most effective in increasing long-term happiness:

  1. Expressing gratitude (i.e., keeping a journal in which one “counts one’s blessings”)
  2. Practicing optimism (i.e., visualizing the best possible future for oneself)
  3. Engaging in positive thinking about oneself (i.e., reflecting, writing, and talking about one’s happiest life events)
  4. Practicing altruism and kindness (i.e., routinely committing acts of kindness)

“In sum,” Lyubomirsky wrote, “our intentional, effortful activities have a powerful effect on how happy we are, over and above effects of our set points and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.”

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NP

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(480) 924-5613

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