It’s a good time of year to be writing about Happiness, but it is something that should perhaps take more priority all year round. This post is inspired by one of our favourite podcasts, The Happiness Lab, by Dr Laurie Santos.
The podcast originates from Dr Santos’ class at Yale where she offered the class “Psychology and the Good Life,” which became the most popular course at Yale in over 300 years! The course was offered online and turned into the podcast.
The messages are clear: the runaway success of the course and the podcast indicate there is a strong demand that people are looking for solutions to be happier, and from the material directly, that it is within your control.
We know and we have written previously about the links between physical, mental and financial health and how one aspect of your life can positively or negatively effect your wellbeing and happiness. Money worries, it has been found, perhaps not surprisingly, are one of the main contributing factors to personal mental wellbeing. It has also been shown to afflict not just the cash-strapped; those we generally perceive as wealthy also feel equivalent money stress.
As Dr Santos says in her podcasts, “You might think more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations would make you happy. You’re dead wrong.” Having more money won’t necessarily make you happier. Being poor won’t either. However, being aligned with your actions, your goals, and feeling like you can achieve them, that can make you happy. This is one area in which we can help directly. It doesn’t matter whether you perceive yourself as wealthy or not, by asking for professional support from someone like Black Swan Capital you can not only be better off financially but feel better and happier.
One common theme that we hear from our clients – and that a lot of current research supports – is that a promotion and higher salary is not the only solution. Research suggests a pay rise earlier in your career can give you a boost in your wellbeing. Interestingly though, you don’t get less stressed or happier if you earn more money once you get beyond around €70,000 per year. How many would agree with that?
One of the problems is that as our income grows, our expenses typically creep up with it. It is proof of the economic principle that wants are unlimited. If we add on social pressures – that need to keep upand those things we need to do and to acquire to reflect our social circle, at work or in society – it can become clearer that more income won’t necessarily equate to happiness.
This is different from financial freedom and financial control. Being in control of your finances, having structured investment plans that help you to achieve your goals and create the type of life you want to lead, can positively impact to remove money stress thereby making you happier.
It’s a complex balance. Remember that money is a means to an end and not the end in itself.
Having the ability to help clients feel confident and empowered that they will have enough money to achieve their goals: to retire when they want, or to not outlive their pension assets, or indeed have the ability to pass it on to the next generation, is definitely a real value add.
We recommend you take time over the holiday period to do a personal financial audit. Think about your goals and what is truly important to you in the short, medium and long term; and how you are progressing to achieving those goals. Then arrange a time to speak with us and see how we can help you to achieve your goals.
And check out the Happiness Lab podcast. The science is interesting and the findings can be useful to helping us to live a more fulfilled and happier life. We also urge you to take charge of your financial life so you control it and it does not control you and shape your wellbeing. We can help you to take the right steps to make those goals achievable and who knows, maybe even make you happier in the process.