The Happiness Manifest – Part 4 – Keep Learning

Did I mention how much I enjoy my time on planes?  As much as I lament the time spent not in meetings with clients or teaching someone about the joy of money [or is that just the strange creature that I am?], still I remember, as I am tapping away at the keys or scribbling in my notebooks, how precious this time is for me to do the things that keep me in line with my values.  If you have not seen my business cards, you won’t know that I declare my values right there for the world to see clearly, so that I may be reminded and held accountable to those declarations.

Character.  Integrity.  Growth.

These words mean many different things to different people, as we all come to this world with our separate perceptions, yet I am eminently clear on what they mean to me.  One of the values that keeps me curious and open is Growth.  To me, this signifies my commitment to be a perpetual student – of the markets, of the human condition, of all the whys and wherefores, and of my own ability to be a better human to my community.

In the Happiness Manifesto, the fourth step is …

  1. KEEP LEARNING … pick up a book, start something entirely new, try what your children love on for size, play with knowledge.

There is a correlation to learning and to older people being more active and suffering less depression.  It is postulated that the benefit is not necessarily in the accumulation of knowledge, but in the curiosity.  Learning has a positive  influence on our self-confidence and our sense of purpose, and setting and seeking goals to achieve is known to improve our well-being.

When was the last time that you showed curiosity about your money, about what your advisor was investing in, or in what other choices might be available to you in other types of investments – such as investments in your own education, or in starting a dream?  Are there things that you yearn to know, to discover?   Let your advisor be your guide to helping you articulate those things that make you question.  Enlist their help in becoming playful and childlike with this learning.  Geez, just have some fun!

However esoteric, if you wonder – you should discover.

The Happiness Manifesto – Part 3 – Take Notice

There is something rejuvenating about plane rides for me.  Strange as it may seem, it is a small space of time, in between gate connections and rental cars, that I have a moment to reflect on my life, my relationships and the joy of where I am at the moment.  It forces me to slow down, read edifying books, and write about the things that I am focusing on right then.

So, as we continue the Happiness Manifesto, our next point is…

1.  TAKE NOTICE … Be curious, catch sight of the beautiful moments, be aware of the beauty of your world, reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters.

Research suggests that it is the moments of pausing, reflecting, noticing, that creates a self-regulatory behavior.  So, those moments of meditation, of cognitive behavior therapy or just writing your thoughts on the moments you live will help you to be aware and choose the actions that are more in line with your values and your interests.  It is this awareness – this thoughtfulness – that can inspire us to live our best lives.

So, too, can taking notice of your financial lives.  I know you have heard me say that it is not about the money, and I mean no different here.  Take notice of the things that you do for the money – does it align with your values and your intent in this life that you live?  When you invest, do you look at the results that you aim for, or are you so tied up in the volatile world of that currency that you lose sight of what is truly important in the grand scheme of your life?  If you say to me that your life is not grand, I would want to know why – you are the master of your destiny, so shouldn’t you live a very BIG life?  Create what will inspire you and move you into the life you desire.  Money is just the tool that will get you there, so make it do what you need.

We tend to dream about what we will do later in our lives, what joy we will have when we start living our lives and stop working for money.  I am here to challenge you to find what you love NOW, and start to create the life you want to live so that you can work with the money.  Or, at the very least, make the money work for you and your grand dreams.

And, I would love to hear what those dreams are!  You are welcome to comment or email me and tell me how you are dreaming your best life.  I’ll post some of those dreams here, so you can be held accountable for living that grand life.

The Happiness Manifesto – Part 2 – Take part

There is something about running and hiking that renews my spirit and reminds me of what is important in my life.   I will actually laugh out loud while pushing myself to the limit in which I am comfortable, and then pushing myself over the edge of the precipice of my normal boundaries.  It is like the act of moving actually imparts some mental or spiritual benefit.    Which may actually be the case, as there are experts that state that physical exercise can decrease depression, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and help a whole host of other physical ailments.  Some doctors state that it can be as effective in the treatment of depression as medication.

2.  BE ACTIVE … Go for a walk or run.  Step outside.  Play a game.  Garden.  Dance.

So, let me take this same action and say, “Take part, be a part, of your investment and financial choices.”

There is nothing that you can not know.  There is nothing that is beyond your potential to grasp.  If you can read this blog, you can understand things about your money and your finances.  Sure, you may not want to grasp all the minute details of how a non-publically traded REIT works, may not want to be eminently wise about all the workings of Mezzanine Financing, may not desire to be intimate with all the details of how to choose the right Private Wealth Management company for your portfolio.  However, you should know what these investments are meant to accomplish, you should be clear about the risks that they entail and how it might affect you, and you should be very knowledgeable about the philosophies that your wealth advisor takes when helping you to choose great investments for your future and your wealth.

You do not have to spend 8 hours a day learning and studying the intricacies of the financial markets.  But, you should know what your money guide means when she says, “this is a good choice.”

You should take action, be a part of each decision, so that you are working together with your wealth advisor to make the informed decisions that will lead to a better money life, with more money happiness.  ?

The Happiness Manifesto – Part 1 – It’s not about the money

As I finish reading the book, The Happiness Manifesto, I reflect on how some simple things – that we often do by instinct – are so essential and universal to happiness.

Why add this to a money blog, you ask?  For me, helping people with investing and wealth is never really about the money.  Sure, I have a strangely analytical mind that revels in the discovery of facts and figures, especially as it relates to investments and planning.  However, as I help people discover their goals and hold themselves accountable to living a RICH life [not to be confused with an affluent life] full of happiness and good choices,  I see every day the power of being fully vested in one’s LIFE, rather than in one’s money.

Along those lines, then, I want to pass on the five universal principles for happiness, and how they may relate to your life with money.

1.  CONNECT … with the people around you, with family, friends and neighbors.

Ellen Berscheid wrote, ” relationships constitute the single most important factor responsible for the survival of Homo sapiens.”

When we connect to our chosen families, those we deem important to our lives, those that we care about, we feed the essential social animal that we are.  This nurtures us, allows us space to breathe and be ourselves and to feel an integral piece of the fabric of the universe.

With my clients, connection is the most important part of our work together.  It is about trust.  With many of my clients, as they tell me about their children, their dreams, the things that they struggle with and the accomplishments that they witness, we begin to create a space of hope, safety and mutual work that will benefit their lives.  It sounds clichéd, perhaps, but they become friends.  I see them in the grocery store, witness major events in their lives and help them to accomplish  goals that they may have been uncertain about reaching.  Most importantly, they know that I have their back.  My life’s work is to guard their money with fierce care and the weapons of choice and knowledge.  Together, we fight the dragons of the unknown.

Never think that the relationship with your advisor is irrelevant and unimportant as you make decisions.  If you do not trust the person guiding you in decisions, perhaps you need a different knight to go into battle with.

They say it is silly …

…to care more about people than money.  To be a wealth advisor and want to change it from a perception of being in “sales” to a perception that we are consultants that you hire to be your advocate in this world of money. They say it is silly that I don’t care how much money I make until after I am certain that my client is best served.  The best people in my industry tell me that I need to have a profit motive.  I am certain that they must be right, but I don’t care.

What I care about is making certain that my family of clients understands money, gets to ask me anything, turns to me to talk about the emotional issues and impacts of money, wants to learn more as they invest with me, and wants to be empowered to change their world, one dollar at a time.  What I care about is that I lead with care in this wilderness of wolves and weeds.  So many things can get in your way; it should not be the person you chose to help you know about money.

If you are not being taught about money, ask why.  Don’t let them convince you that they will handle it all … you should know what they are doing, even if you are trusting them to lead you well.  My clients are intelligent, strong, caring and invested in the knowledge that we are partners in this money thing.  Because, truly, I’ll tell you a secret … it really isn’t about the money.  It is about relationships, trust, and the ability to lie down your head at night and know someone else out there has your back.

Let me make this abundantly clear:  your money is always your money, and you have every right to disagree or make decisions about it, regardless of what I advise.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

They say it is silly, but I want to change the world – one client at a time.