How to Shape a Life of Money and Meaning

wealth

Happiness & Wealth

How does money figure into a happy life? Behavioral finance expert Brian Portnoy delivers an inspired answer based on the idea that wealth, truly defined, is funded contentment. It is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life.

His latest work, The Geometry of Wealth , bridges the philosophical and practical gap in managing money in our lives.

 

“Money does buy more happiness when spent wisely, especially when directed toward experiences, others, and time.” -Brian Portnoy

 

Millions are Not Ready for Retirement

You point out that millions of Americans have not saved a dime for retirement. Why is this? Will this eventually cause a crisis or is this typical and then people catch up?

The lack of retirement preparedness stems from a combination of opportunity and mindset. In the context of real wages for many Americans having not risen in more than a generation, many are barely able to make ends meet, let alone build a nest egg. Beyond that, financial illiteracy is a major problem. As a society we don’t take seriously the need to understand the many facets of saving, spending, and investing. Further, humans are generally wired with biases that undermine smart money decisions. This mix of factors is at the root of the looming retirement crisis in America. Far too many have saved far too little, and there are no obvious solutions that don’t involve quite painful decisions.

 

“Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” -Epictetus

 

The Importance of Purpose

Your model is in three parts: purpose to priorities to tactics. Part one is purpose, which is not a typical starting point in many financial books. Talk about the importance of purpose in this context.

Let’s step back and ask, “What are we all trying to accomplish here?” I think an answer that mostly everyone would get behind is that we want to be happy; we want to lead a good life. Okay, fine, but how do you do that? It’s obviously a massive question, with countless angles from philosophy and religion and other domains. Money, for better or worse, is an inescapable part of the discussion. There are certain unavoidable practicalities of what we can afford and how those help to underwrite the lives we want to lead. By putting purpose first, by being thoughtful – not just once, but over time – about where we find joy, then we are much better able to have our financial decisions support that quest. This is the opposite of what many unfortunately do, which is let the desire for and experience with money determine what we do in life.

 

“True wealth is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life.” -Brian Portnoy

 

How is fulfillment and happiness related to financial well-being? Talk about the intersection of money and happiness.

19 Quotes About Money and Finance

money quotes

19 Quotes About Your Money

 

Many people I meet have a complex relationship with money. They may desire it, fear it, or even despise it. I’ve seen families torn apart by it; neighbors fight over it; and friendships lost by it. I’ve also seen the power of charitable giving where lives are transformed from it.

Money is partly a reflection, an illusion, and a relationship. Finance is equal parts numbers and emotion.

Here are some quotes to help us think about money:

 

“Money often costs too much.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” –Warren Buffett

 

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” –Dave Ramsey

 

“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.” –Charles Jaffe

 

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” –James Frick

 

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” –Benjamin Franklin

 

“If you want your income to grow, you too must grow.” –Idowu Koyenikan

 

“You will either tell your money what to do, or the lack of it will always manage you.” –Dave Ramsey