Callie Rogers made history by becoming the second youngest U.K. lottery winner ever when, at just 16, she won $3 million. In just six short years, however, she lost her fortune and reminisced on the experience: “hopefully now that it has all gone, I can find some happiness.”
Can money buy happiness? This is an age old question that every movie with a fairy godmother, a genie, or something more diabolical addresses, with the answer traditionally being no. But, can financial security buy happiness – yes! I think having the security to pay your bills on time, fill up your car with gas, go out to dinner or take a vacation can certainly increase your level of happiness while also reducing anxiety. If you can stick to the basics of your financial plan including: having a budget that you follow, a plan to get out of debt and six months of expenses in your savings account, you will feel a weight off your shoulders without having to wonder what if my car breaks down, what if I get sick or in an accident, what if I lose my job? These questions can be scary and cause you to get tunnel vision as opposed to planning for your long-term future.
The dreaded feeling of living paycheck to paycheck has a way of creeping into everything you do and causing unnecessary stress. A recent survey by MetLife Insurance Company found that 49% of employees are “concerned, anxious or fearful about their current financial well-being.” This number is extremely high but we can work together to reduce it. Begin by setting a budget and committing to it. Really take the time to separate your ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’ and cut out frivolous spending by focusing on long-term savings goals you set for yourself.
The New York Federal Reserve has predicted that total household debt will reach its previous peak of $12.7 trillion in 2017. It hasn’t been that high since the worst part of the 2008 recession and it’s already close with total household debt in the fourth quarter of 2016 coming in at $12.6 trillion. The data shows that fewer borrowers have housing-related debt and, instead, have taken on more auto and student loans. Ask yourself: will a new car make me happy, or will peace-of-mind better be used on saving for the future? Do I need to attend an expensive university right away, or can I knock out some requirements at the local community college? Asking yourself these tough questions can help you find greater happiness and lead to a sense of well-being that will be reflected in everything you do.
Money can’t buy you happiness, but financial security can.
How do you use money as a tool to achieve happiness? Let me know in the comments below.