By Rico Dilello
I wouldn’t have worked as a financial advisor or be writing a financial blog if I didn’t believe that most people have a happiness number. Your happiness number will be adjusted over time based on changes in your lifestyle choices.
You don’t need a degree in psychology to recognize that happiness is a state of mind. I have to admit that after a modest level of income, there isn’t really any evidence to suggest that people’s happiness increases with their wealth. Money is not going to turn an unhappy life into a happy one. Some people are unhappy no matter how much money they have. However, I have also seen where spending money that you don’t have can turn a happy life into an unhappy one. Whether you are loving life or hating it, I do believe that it could really depend upon how you are spending your money!
“I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.” This insightful bit of personal financial wisdom has been credited to entertainer Sophie Tucker, comedian Joe E. Lewis, comedienne Fanny Brice, actress Mae West and many others.
Some tips on buying some happiness:
Tip 1 – Buy experiences instead of things
Who we are as individuals is the sum of our experiences not the sum of our possessions. The joy of buying something new tends to deteriorate over time but creating memories last a lifetime. Sharing those experiences with family or friends can make you even happier.
Tip 2 – Many small pleasures might be better than a few big ones
Will you be happier saving money for a big-ticket item like a luxury car or indulging in small things like going to a spa or out to dinner with friends. You may be surprised at how many small pleasures can add up to a happier lifestyle.
Tip 3 – Spend on others and not yourself
There is a lot of merit to the saying “it is better to give than receive” The holiday season is just around the corner. Isn’t seeing the reaction of family & friends opening a gift that is thoughtful and unexpected, priceless?
Tip 4 – Rent a dose of happiness
You can enjoy something without having to own it. Rent a cabin hideaway if you enjoy the great outdoors. If you love the thrill of driving a luxury sports car, rent one occasionally or sign up for a weekend racing experience.
Tip 5 – Before you buy think about all the downsides
Often people buy with rosy colored glasses, they only see the good buying points and forget all the shortcomings. For example; some people think that owning a truck and a large trailer would be a great way to see the countryside. What they don’t see is having loud neighbours at camp sites, buzzing insects, traffic jams and vehicle breakdowns. Happiness is often in the small details.
During my career as a financial advisor, I helped many clients find their happiness number. For some it was buying their first home, for others it was seeing their children graduate or get married will little or no debt. In my own case, my happiness number allowed me to retire early and spend more time with family & friends.
I am very fortunate to go south every November to play golf with my buds. We started 13 years ago with a total of 8 golfers, we now have 20 and there is a waiting list to join our group. We have so much fun that one of my house mates made a surprise comment. ” I would have to be on my death bed, for me to miss this golfing trip” (Money well spent!!!)
When you think about it, money has no real value except that it can be exchanged for goods & services that we need and want. In my humble opinion, the whole purpose of having wealth is to use it as a tool to create a life you desire, enhance the lives of people you care about and hopefully leave a legacy that you are passionate about.
By Rico Dilello