I am in the middle of reading Ramit Sethi’s book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He has a lot of excellent practical advice, but one of his recommended reflective exercises really made an impression as we head towards America’s birthday. He suggests that you write down what it means to you to be rich. I already spend a fair amount of time thinking about this idea, so I was glad to see him highlight its importance. This type of reflection naturally leads you to consider what makes you happy. Although being rich necessarily includes monetary goals, the pursuit of money alone, as this UBC study recently pointed out, is not likely to fully enrich your life.
Reflecting about our lives and what makes us truly happy is very important. Sethi’s exercise is to be done as you develop your financial plan, but the idea of doing it is something that doesn’t require that context. It’s very appropriate to do as you teach your kids money smarts, whether you’re just beginning or a seasoned vet. This weekend, take some time to write down what it would mean for you to consider yourself rich. You can also sit down with your kids and have them reflect on and discuss this topic as well. Make it part of your family’s Independence Day celebration, but just do it before the fireworks. Happiness is part of an enriched life. The “pursuit of happiness” is part of the essence of being an American; it is one of our “unalienable rights.” You can use these questions as food for thought:
- Can we be happy in a world of connected, always-on workplaces?
- What amount of money will it take for you to be happy?
- What are the keys to your family’s happiness? Education, travel, family gatherings?
- Does stuff makes us happy? (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)
Of course, these questions just scratch the surface. Take some time this week to think about what it means for you and your family to pursue happiness, and please share your reflections with us via social media on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you, and happy birthday, America! John Lanza Chief Mammal & Creator, The Money Mammals