How Much Can Money Equal Happiness?

Can you guess how much money the happiest families of four make? In a recent study by the Huffington Post about happiness and money and how the two may coincide, it showed that at the national level, those making between $75,000-150,000 appeared to be the happiest. This suggests that making over $150,000 per year won’t significantly improve your day-to-day happiness, and after a certain point, there is a diminishing level of happiness for every jump in income. Of course, every family’s needs and wants differ and there are factors that can change dependent on how much debt an individual or family has, the number of children, etc. But, the average family agreed that their emotional well-being or day-to-day experiences were not affected by not having millions in the bank.

Why is this? Ever heard the saying, “the more money you have, the more problems?” It is possible that above a certain income level, people start to just accumulate more stuff, and then over time, they can become a slave to that material stuff. Then, more stress can follow trying to maintain all of the material stuff! Think about it- if you buy a 3rd car, or a second home, the next thing you know, you have to get three oil changes and tire rotations, and keep up with two lawns and paint jobs…and on and on.

Part of the Retire While You Work philosophy is finding ways to help get into a healthier mindset; more specifically a healthier mindset regarding your money. We seem to have so many unhealthy attachments to money as a society. So many people spend their lives thinking, “If I only had $1 million, I would be happy,” or “if I made $100k a year, I would be happy.” Then, oftentimes, those that have $1 million start thinking that they need $1.5 million to be comfortable and so on. It never ends and the carrot chase continues at every level. After 15 years of financial advising, I can validate this with much conviction- Money does NOT buy happiness.

My hope is that, together, we can start a movement in the direction of retiring while working and letting the old ideal of retirement fade away. We need to realize that we are living longer and we have more resources to stay healthy, if we choose. We are working longer and finding passion in your job and personal life can fuel you. It can help keep you motivated and lessen the need to have millions saved up for retirement.

If you listen to my show weekly, you’ve probably heard me explain the drastic differences we’ve seen in our office amongst a variety of clients, ranging from the happily retired person with a $200k IRA to the $30m net worth couple that thought they needed $40m to happily retire. And guess what? If that same couple had $40m, they may feel they “need” $50m to be happy. It’s all about the mindset, mental perspective, and pursuing a healthy perspective surrounding money.

We can always have more money, but we can’t buy more time! And experiences are the true legacy we leave behind. Spend your TIME with those you love, doing the things you love.

Any opinions are those of David Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. These policies have exclusions and/or limitations. The cost and availability of Long Term Care insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. As with most financial decisions, there are expenses associated with the purchase of Long Term Care insurance. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the insurance company. Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with 529 plans before investing. This and other information about 529 plans is available in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing. Investors should consult a tax advisor about any state tax consequences of an investment in a 529 plan.

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