Nancy Graham CPA, CA, CIM, CFP, TEP

Portfolio Manager
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Two Mindful Money Steps Toward a Happier Holiday Season

Welcome to our next installment in Nancy Graham’s “Minding Your Money Matters,” thoughtful financial advocacy vignettes that you can readily apply. In this installment, we’ll talk about what “Smartest” series author Dan Solin refers to as “the sad state of happiness,” and how “it’s not ‘all about the money, all the time.’”

Today, in place of the usual year-end financial and tax-planning tips, we thought we’d take a look at a timeless theme of universal appeal: How can you manage your money for maximum joy? After all, as “Smartest” series author Dan Solin observed in his article,“The Sad State of Happiness,” “I have never met anyone who did not want to be happy. Yet few of us take concrete steps toward that goal.” Here are two mindful money ideas to send you on your merry way.

1. For Lasting Happiness, Invest in Life Experience

Feeling that double-barreled stress of hyperactive holiday shopping and professional pressures?  Instead of pursuing only objects and objectives, leave ample time for memorable experiences with friends, family and interests. In Solin’s article, he describes that many affluent individuals are unhappy because they are ensnared by the very trappings of their wealth: “They take more elaborate vacations and buy bigger houses, fancier cars and multiple homes, yet they still feel unfulfilled and unhappy. This cycle of unhappiness can be very frustrating.”

The Wall Street Journal article, “Can Money Buy You Happiness?” substantiates Solin’s ideas. It reports on research conducted by Cornell University psychologist Daniel Gilovich, indicating that people “get more pleasure out of anticipating experiences than anticipating the acquisition of material things. People waiting for an event were generally excited, whereas waiting for material things ‘seemed to have an impatient quality.’”

2. Gleeful Giving Offers a Good Return

To start making good use of your time, check out this powerful TED presentation, “How to buy happiness,” in which Harvard psychologist Michael Norton proposes that money can buy happiness … just not in the way you might expect. Professor Norton and colleagues conducted research around the world – studying populations ranging from relatively affluent University of British Columbia students to impoverished Ugandan villagers – and reported similar results: “People who spent money on other people got happier. People who spent money on themselves, nothing happened. It didn't make them less happy, it just didn't do much for them.”

In this spirit of meaningful giving and memorable experiences, from our family to yours, we wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season.

By: Nancy Graham | 0 comments