Happiness Is Not a Reward

“Money is the key to happiness.”

Do you believe that? Be honest. 

As I scroll through social media, watch videos, and listen to podcasts, very few are willing to admit that money is in fact the key to their sense of happiness. Even those that regard themselves as “spiritual”, can’t or won’t admit that their happiness is dependent on how much money they earn or how much they have or don’t have. 

Some studies have shown that our happiness level will increase when our annual income increases, but only up to a certain income level. Then there are newer studies that show that one’s sense of happiness continues to increase as steeply as one’s level of income increases. 

Does it really matter what studies have shown? I say no. At the end of the day, it will always be up to you to decide what is influencing your overall happiness and money’s role. 

“Try being happy when you don’t have money … when you’re struggling to make ends meet.”

I’ve been there, folks – I get it. BUT – I have worked with many who had no problem meeting their basic needs and then some, yet were still fundamentally unhappy. They set goals and achieve them but the corresponding payoff never seems to show up. There must be a reason people don’t achieve what they set out to do. There must be a reason why, no matter how much someone earns or has, they fall short of experiencing true happiness, peace, and fulfillment. 

Why Aren’t You Happy?

We are counseled by our advisors to save, invest in accordance with our risk tolerance and time frame, and take steps to protect our assets and human life value. So we do our best to comply. We are also told that when we set the right goals and we do the right things, we will be rewarded! We will be happy! And then …

  • Your time to retire arrives, goal achieved … so you put on the brakes. You defer your retirement date. And you defer again. 
  • You’ve taken your business as far as you can, as far as you wanted, and you begin conversations for the sale and/or succession of your business. And then you resist. You make excuses. You can’t and won’t let go. 
  • Years of dedicating yourself to the work you love (or don’t love) and yet your income level is misaligned with your sense of self-value and worth, leaving you frustrated and disillusioned. 

Cleary, something has gone awry. But you did the right things … so why aren’t you happy? 

Do not think you can resolve your lack of happiness with practical and strategic money moves. The reallocation of your portfolio won’t get you to pull the plug and retire – even when your advisor has proven to you that you can. 

And earning more money? That will not work either. Not really.

I’ll give you a clue. And I’m sure you’ve heard this before.

Happiness Is an Inside Job

Happiness is an inside job. It’s got nothing to do with what’s going on outside of you or even to you. 

If happiness is an inside job, what does that mean to you? Where is the locus of control then? What are you currently choosing to believe about happiness and what does that belief say about you?

When you think about being “unhappy” in the context of your emotional, intrinsic, and spiritual relationships with money, your thoughts may resemble something like:

  • I am indecisive.
  • I both love and hate money.
  • I cannot be, do, or have because _______
  • I feel like I must keep proving myself.
  • Who will I be without my work (or my business)?
  • I am impulsive.
  • I am fearful … I am afraid of making a mistake; I must be in control.
  • I do not trust.

And the list goes on …

Can you see yourself in any of these statements? Perhaps you can come up with more? And can you see how these thoughts can (and do) get in the way of your happiness? That is because there is an underlying reason, an underlying belief that you hold about yourself, getting in the way of your happiness … your truth.  And until you uncover what, internally, is standing in your way, fear will continue to drive your decision-making and true happiness will elude you.

Ready to get to the root cause of what is keeping you from experiencing true wealth and happiness? Then set aside your investment statements, your financial and cash flow plans, and begin your pursuit towards happiness by taking the Money Types Quiz, your first step to identifying what belief and behavior patterns are influencing your financial decision making and standing in the way of your true happiness. 


Please join me on March 22nd at noon for my free webinar “True Wealth is Well-being” hosted by the University at Buffalo. We’ll explore together how reallocating your beliefs before your portfolio leads to greater well-being.