“My mother has enough money,” a client told me recently. “She just doesn’t seem to be as happy as she used to be.” He explained that although she is financially secure, due to the corona epidemic, she hardly leaves her house and has limited personal interactions. He was worried about her quality of life. 

How money buys happiness/quality of life 

In almost thirty years of talking to people about their U.S. investment portfolios, I’ve seen that having money does not ensure happiness. It turns out there is some truth to the joke, “If money doesn’t buy happiness then you’re just not shopping in the right stores.” It’s not that owning more stuff can improve your mood; rather, it’s having more and better interpersonal experiences. Those who are more financially secure can, and should, pay for experiences that bring them closer with others. Sometimes quality of life matters more than quantity of funds in the bank. 

Invest in communication 

When I help people choose investments for their U.S. brokerage accounts, they often ask me what sector is poised for maximum growth. It’s hard to predict where the most money can be made. However, if you’re looking to invest in happiness, put your money towards the personal communication sector. In other words, invest time and money in going out with family and friends, talking over Zoom or Skype, staying in touch with old friends, and even making new friends online.   

The greatest communication tool in history 

With the advent of the internet, you can now talk to people anywhere in the world. One of my 80+ clients works daily with an online coach. They talk via Skype and together run a blog and have just finished producing a children’s book. If you’re not sure how to find someone to work with a retired person in your life, send me an email and let me know what you’d like (doug@profile-financial.com). I might be able to help you make a connection. 

More importantly, realize that merely having money doesn’t necessarily create as much happiness as using the funds to further interpersonal relationships. Happiness dividends are priceless. 

Published December 3, 2020.

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