First Quarter 2016 – In Pursuit of Happiness

Sitting around our conference table, we had a discussion about the newsletter you are reading. It was decided that I would write an article on Social Security and the changes taking place there. As you can tell from the headline, this article isn’t about Social Security. While the changes are substantial, discussing these changes will be unique for each person, and we welcome the opportunity to meet with you and see how you may be impacted. But happiness? Happiness is for all of us, young and old, rich or poor, married, single or widowed. In our pursuit of happiness, perhaps we need to stop and take stock of ourselves and “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Ten ways to foster happiness:

  • Invest more in experiences than in material possessions. Frank and I actually thought about this for Christmas, 2015. We gave our grandchildren what WE wanted, which was more time together. (Gifts included a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, Cardinals baseball, and concert tickets.)

  • Stay off the hedonic treadmill. My parents would have called that “keeping up with the Joneses”. You are not your neighbor, and while it’s great if you have nice things, we can’t let the pursuit of those things be the end all. Doing so will give you a bunch of stuff, but you don’t hug stuff.Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.30.59 AM

  • Help others climb the ladder. Studies show that profound economic inequality leads to unhappiness. By helping others become successful, you are contributing to the betterment of your community. It isn’t all about you. What can you do with your skill set to help?

  • Don’t let money rule your life. The more you earn, the more successful you tend to feel. Giving some of this money away may make you happier than spending it on your own needs and wants.

  • Outsource tasks you dislike when possible. Don’t make yourself unhappy by spending time on things you don’t enjoy.

  • Don’t spend more than you can afford. This may sound basic, but it’s the single most important factor in achieving financial security and peace of mind.

  • Don’t spend to enrich your life until the fundamentals are taken care of. Don’t spend on the around the world trip until you have your credit card paid off and spending in control.

  • Avoid debt. According to some studies, debt reduces happiness, while saving tends to boost it.

  • Build up that emergency fund. As you already know, a financial safety net is needed to prevent the stress of unhappiness in struggling to pay unexpected expenses.

  • Show appreciation. If people around you feel unappreciated, it will make them unhappy, and this will detract from your own happiness.

Our culture is full of pressure to buy more and more and more. Think of experiences rather than objects that will increase your life satisfaction and happiness. After all, we aren’t sure about the number of our breaths, but we can try and increase the moments that take our breath away.



Securities and investment advice offered through Investment Planners, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC) and IPI Wealth Management, Inc. 226 W. Eldorado St., Decatur, IL 62522. 217-425-6340.




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