I have a friend who likes to say when referring to a particular political party: “The only trouble with spending other peoples’ money is that you eventually run out of it.” (Anonymous) I have another friend who fondly reminisces about when he and his single mother would get together at the end of the month and decide which charities they would give to that month. Both, I suppose are right in some way, but one suggests to me a much happier, and I believe much more realistic understanding of just what money is and what it can do for us.
In today’s TED selection, Michael Norton tells how to buy happiness. He starts out by saying we often read in religion books “money can’t buy happiness”. He categorically says that’s wrong and if you think that way, you’re probably spending it wrongly. He goes on to give the results of some simple unscientific studies he’s made that demonstrate the right way to spend money so that you will be happy.
The book, Your Money or Your Life originally written by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin in the early 90’s and updated by Vicki Robin in 2008 presents a good analysis of the stages most of us go through in dealing with money. The authors eventually give the reader some down to earth financial goals along with the means to achieving them. The secret according to Dominguez and Robin is the simple recognition of what is enough.
If money sometimes gets in the way to your happiness, try one or more of these simple suggestions for a happy 2016:
- Define “enough”—Know what is enough; enough house, enough food, enough entertainment…
- Try sharing—Giving to others as Michael Norton above tells us works to make us happy.
- Keep it simple—Establish simple goals and immediately begin to work for them.