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Does Money Bring Happiness?

The short answer is ‘yes’, but only up to a point. People in richer countries are, collectively,

happier than people in poor countries. Within countries, people with higher incomes are

generally happier than people on low incomes. Surprisingly, once basic living needs are met, the amount of happiness gained from each additional dollar of income rapidly declines.

What is ‘happiness’?

What is it about money that contributes to happiness? And what does happiness even mean? Perhaps what people are really expressing is contentment or satisfaction with their lives. Rather than putting us into a perpetual state of bliss, money is more likely to contribute to a

sense of security, better health, less stress and, perhaps above all, choice. It’s interesting to see what choices boost happiness. For example, in something of a paradox, giving money away makes people feel happier than spending it on themselves. Experiences such as travel or skydiving, or even just going to a movie, provide more enduring satisfaction than material purchases. Good memories, it seems, provide better value than physical possessions.

Happiness planning or financial planning?

What does this have to do with financial planning?

Well, for many people, their financial plan is all about milestones: buying a house, meeting school fees and funding retirement. Important as these things may be, what’s missing is the journey – and no, that doesn’t mean the insurance premiums, super contributions and mortgage repayments. It means Santorini sunsets, sand between the toes and, perhaps more important than anything, time spent with family and friends.

On that basis, instead of financial planning maybe we should call it ‘happiness planning’?

Of course, your plan will have a financial component, but it will be focused on the journey of life, rather than financial destinations; on achieving a balance and knowing what’s ‘enough’. It will be more about experiences, bucket lists and relationships than annuities, tax refunds and superannuation.

Putting it into perspective

Yes, money is important in providing choices and experiences, and that’s probably a major reason why richer people report higher levels of happiness. Yes, your financial adviser is going to mainly focus on super and investments and insurance as the means of opening up more options for you. Just don’t let that become the be all and end all.

More people are happily rejecting the idea of a conventional retirement. Technology is helping to blur the lines between work and play, and Millennials are opting to pursue experiences now with the expectation that they will work in some form well beyond today’s typical retirement age.

So ask yourself: what makes you happy? What sort of choices do you want to be able to make? Then share the answers with your financial planner, and ask for a plan that will not only meet your long-term needs but also allow you to indulge your shorter-term whims and desires.


This information is current as at 18/12/17. This article has been prepared by Heart1Stop, a social media brand owned by Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers. The information contained in this article is an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor relied upon as such. The views expressed here are not those of Heart1stop, Heart Mortgage Services, Heart Financial Advisers, shareholders, directors or staff and associated contractors and business associates. This article has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should, before acting on any information contained in this article, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Any taxation information contained in this article is a general statement and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute taxation advice and is based on current laws and their interpretation. Each individual’s situation may differ, and you should seek independent professional taxation advice on any taxation matters. While the information contained in this article may contain or be based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, it may not have been independently verified. Where information contained in this publication contains material provided directly by third parties it is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. It is not the intention of Heart1Stop or Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. To the maximum extent permitted by law: no guarantee, representation or warranty is given that any information or advice in this publication is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for any purpose; and no party of Heart1Stop or associated entities as mentioned is in any way liable to you (including for negligence) in respect of any reliance upon such information. This article may also contain links to websites operated by third parties ("Third Parties") who are not related to Heart1Stop. These links are provided for convenience only and do not represent any endorsement or approval by us.

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