We have been looking at the advice in Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, a book by behavioral researchers that ponders whether money can buy happiness. The book’s first four principles focused on how to spend on yourself and your family in ways that make you happier but the last, “Invest in Others,” is about spending to benefit other people.
The book mentions investment guru Warren Buffet’s decision to leave much of his wealth to charity. You may think this is fine for him because he has a fortune but the book illustrates how investing in others increases happiness for people at various income levels
Invest in Others. Higher spending on, or on behalf of, other people is strongly correlated to a higher level of happiness throughout the world. And this does not mean just writing checks to charities (although this can lead to greater happiness). The more we feel a connection to the person or cause, the more we feel our giving has an impact. So if you write a check because you feel obligated but care little for the recipients, you might not experience an increase in good feelings.
This is something important to consider as we enter the holiday season next month. Someone will benefit if you give because you “should” but you may benefit more if you give to a cause that you connect with. Think about your giving, whether it is a family member who asks or to a large charity—do you feel good about it? We don’t give to control others but we do feel better when we feel we have some control when giving so giving to people and causes that resonate with you is good for you.
Does it surprise you to hear this kind of talk from a Fee-Only financial planner? It shouldn’t. A holistic Fee-Only financial planner is not just concerned with your moneymaking investments but with your whole financial lifestyle. When you want a change from the same old “wealth management” approach that seems to whittle away your wealth while managing to make your brokerage more money, the holistic approach of a Fee-Only financial planner is a great solution.