These Three Things Really Do Buy Happiness
We’re veering from the norm today.
We’ve got something else on our mind, and, well, money ain’t everything.
Or is it?
When we woke up this morning, we had happiness on our mind. That’s because we fell asleep reading a book on the subject… a worthy read by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
The book focuses on the pandemic nobody cares about.
We won’t shut down our businesses for it… won’t toss apart our schools… and won’t even mention it on the debate stage.
It’s the pandemic of loneliness. It’s a killer.
It’s a huge problem in our society. It’s at the root of addiction… at the root of our political divide… and even playing a role in the current health crisis.
Doc Murthy’s book is a must-read.
But it has a flaw.
A big one.
It doesn’t talk about money. After all, lots of folks these days think a fat stack of Benjamins is all the company they need.
Let us use an analogy we think you may find equal parts funny and truth-filled.
It has to do with America’s muscle car… the Corvette.
The new mid-engine convertible with 490 horsepower is magnificent.
You can get one for 70 grand… if you can find it.
They’re selling like crazy.
But here’s the thing. The 2019 version was nice too. Same with the 2018… and the 2017… and on and on.
The company has done a great job of continually changing its styling and performance.
That’s why we always feel bad when we pull up beside the poor sap in a three-year-old Corvette. After just 36 months, he might as well shove his legs through the floorboard and start pushing with his feet.
His once-new ride now rivals something from The Flintstones.
It’s lost its cool factor.
That’s huge. Because nobody needs a 490-horsepower Corvette.
We buy them solely because it feels good.
And the reason we pick on the old guys in the Corvettes is they prove our point that the good feeling doesn’t last.
In this case, it fades away with each new model year.
We work hard all our life to earn the right to buy something we don’t need… and, bam, our smile fades when a car with a few sleeker lines and a lower rumble comes cruising by in the passing lane.
It’s a big trap. It catches suckers every year. And each time we try to buy a bit of happiness, we add to the problems Murthy outlines in his book.
So now what?
Aim for Poverty?
Should we fold up shop, put our pen in the drawer and stop devoting our days to the world of money and what it takes to make it?
According to some folks… yes. But they’re idiots.
They’re the same folks who would say we should ban Chevy from unleashing new ‘Vettes each year… or, worse, give them to the poor.
They see the problem… and where they want to get… but don’t realize the human brain is far too complex for such simple solutions.
No… keep going after money. Make oodles of it.
Keep stoking the fire that has you yearning to have more than your neighbor. Just know that something made in a factory won’t buy happiness.
But these three things will…
A study just released in volume 61 of Advances in Experimental Social Psychology set out to prove or disprove the link between our money and our happiness.
What it found should change the way you use your investing spoils.
It found that most folks spend their money in one of four ways.
The majority of spending goes to consumer goods… new Corvettes, boats, clothes, fancy food, beach houses… and all those other things you’ll see sitting on the curb come trash day.
Another way of spending focuses on buying experiences with a friend or loved one.
That’s good. The study showed it leads to real happiness.
We saw this firsthand in Alaska.
We once nearly sank a boat with a professional rugby player from New Zealand. He gave up his career, traveled with his family and humbly trimmed trees for a living.
He claimed to have never been happier… even knee-deep in cold saltwater.
We believed him.
A third way to spend your loot is one we have a really tough time with. But we’re seeing the light. It’s the idea of buying time… paying somebody to do the tasks and work you don’t want to do.
We work nonstop – sunup to sundown. We like life that way.
But the science shows we’d like it even more if we sipped a glass of wine and watched the sunset over the help.
We’ll try it… as soon as we’re done building our new greenhouse.
And finally, the fourth way to buy happiness is one we’re sure you’re familiar with… donating money to charity.
It’s the hardest one. It takes trust, faith and a hearty dose of empathy.
We’ve felt the rewards.
We recently helped a local family adopt a child. Things could have turned the other way for the little tyke. But thanks to a community with a relentless resolve to save and to help, he’s got a family who loves him.
Seeing him getting wheeled down the street in a stroller is a heck of a better sight than a new Corvette in the garage.
Plus… he’ll still be stylish in five years.
Make your money. Make lots of it.
It won’t hurt you.
But how you spend it could.
Happiness is in the details.
About Andy Snyder
Andy Snyder is the founder of Manward Press, the nation’s premier source of unfiltered, unorthodox views on money and what it means for a free society. An American author, investor and serial entrepreneur, Andy cut his teeth at an esteemed financial firm with nearly $100 billion in assets under management. Andy and his ideas have been featured on Fox News, on countless radio stations, and in numerous print and online outlets. He’s been a keynote speaker and panelist at events all over the world, from four-star ballrooms to Senate hearing rooms. Today, Andy’s dissident thoughts on life, liberty and investing can be found in his popular daily newsletter, Manward Financial Digest.