Happiness has a Dollar Value—Less than You ThinkChristopher Briggs, RRC®, Wealth Advisor, Managing Director
What drives our happiness? This is a question that researchers continue to investigate. Despite the oft-repeated adage suggesting otherwise, there is indeed an intrinsic link between money and happiness. However, the research might surprise you.
Each year, the United Nations (UN) measures the happiness of countries globally in its World Happiness Report. According to the UN, the variables that drive a nation’s happiness include income, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, trust, and generosity. Canada consistently places in the top 10 of nations globally that have a high level of happiness.1
What Drives an Individual’s Happiness?
Will you be happier if you make $1,000,000 instead of $100,000? Research would argue: not really. In fact, studies have suggested that there is a measurable amount of money at which point happiness “maxes out,” and it may be quite a bit lower than you think. In 2010, Nobel Prize winning behavioural economist, Daniel Kahneman, suggested that the magic number was around US$75,000 of annual income. Beyond this amount, people didn’t report any greater degree of happiness.2
Another study published this year in the Harvard Business Review showed that after achieving a certain level of income, “time affluence” — having enough time to do the things you want — has become the new secret to happiness. Today, people who are willing to give up earning more money in favour of regaining time reported higher rates of general life satisfaction.3
It’s our job as wealth managers to help improve your financial position
We hope to free up time that would otherwise be spent managing your finances to give you the freedom to pursue your happiness. As you think about your wealth and financial plan, there are additional areas we can assist with. Here are some questions to help uncover new ways we can provide support to you and your family:
Family — Are you planning on helping family members, such as a student pursuing post-secondary education or a (grand)child purchasing a home? How will you support parents as they age? Will you need to protect your assets for your family?
Work — Have you planned for unexpected changes to employment? How will illness or disability affect your needs? Do you need to finance a small business and how can it grow?
Lifestyle — How will you protect yourself and your family in the event of unexpected illness? How do you envision your retirement? Have you planned for extended longevity?
Legacy — How will you be remembered? Do you wish to give back through charitable donations? How will you transfer your wealth in a way that is fair to those you leave behind?
At the end of the day, money isn’t everything — the Beatles would remind you it can’t buy you love, after all! But, having “enough” money can enable you to define what happiness means to you. We look forward to continuing to support you along the journey in your pursuit of happiness.