Money is a powerful tool that can help us live the joyous lives that we’ve always imagined. But it’s not the money that makes us happy. It’s something far more valuable.
Money can’t buy happiness.
But what if you were down and out with no money? It may be hard to truly be happy when you are too worried and stressed about making ends meet, and counting the days until you get that next paycheck in hand, nonetheless, secure your financial future.
And what if you had the bank account of Oprah Winfrey and no one to share it with, or no family to call when you’re lonely? It still may be hard to say that you’re truly happy. We all have witnessed some of America’s wealthiest being overcome by despair so much they’ve turned to drugs, alcohol, and even suicide.
So if people are unhappy without and with money, then what’s the missing piece that would allow you to get the best of both worlds?
My friend, the connector between money and happiness are your values.
Values are the beliefs in which we have made emotional deposits into. Among many things, you may value security, peace of mind, education, independence, giving, freedom, relationships, or providing for family.
Economically speaking, the value of something is determined by how much one is willing to pay for it. If they sold jars of happiness in the stores, I can’t imagine what the price of it would be. (It would probably cost the same as a jar of my grandmother’s oxtails.)
It’s not money that makes us happy, but we become glad when we attain those things that make money important. We can use money as a tool, and as another avenue to take hold of those things that really bring fulfillment to our lives.
When clients come to me, one of the first questions that I ask them when planning for retirement is, “What is most important to you?”
Some folks look at me perplexed as if they are thinking, “Aaron, what in the world does this have to do with money?”
In fact, what’s important to you has everything to do with your money, and I’d go so far as to turn away a client who refuses to discuss their values with me.
You see, contrary to the popular belief, retirement planning isn’t just about the dollar signs; it’s about making sure that you maintain a joyful lifestyle for the rest of your life. I am best suited to coach clients to make financial decisions when I know what is important to them. Once I find out these things it’s like we are cooking with gas in securing the future that many of my clients only dreamed that they could have.
Typically, your values guide your financial actions. We can take a look at how you spend your money and determine what’s valuable to you. Do you like to spend a little something on jewelry or nice clothes? If so, you’re not being superficial; you are really saying that you value your appearance, self-esteem, and looking successful.
If you are constantly dishing out money to loved ones in need, that tells us that providing for family is what you value. And if that is what’s important to you, then you may be thrilled to leave an inheritance to your children and grandchildren.
Find out what is important to you, make a list of your values, prioritize them, and set goals based on those values. Remember to give yourself a hard deadline. Values create a burning desire within you that can push you forward to accomplishing our goals like nobody’s business.
When you are passionate about the goals you have set you will be unstoppable at achieving them.
So my friend, it’s true, money can’t buy happiness.
But when used wisely, it can help to support and magnify what matters most to you.
And when we take hold of our heart’s desires, we’d be hard pressed to not be more joyous about today and the days to come.
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