Valentine’s Day, which falls in the cold month of February, is really about happiness. But instead of rushing out to Walgreens to get that last minute box of chocolates and a blank card, maybe this year you and your sweetheart can spend Valentine’s Day talking about how you each derive joy from your money and how you might avoid falling into soulless materialism.
Here is how to start: get two notecards and write the following on the first one: “Imagine we have all the money we will ever need now and in the future. What would you want us to do with it? How would we live our lives? What would we change?” Then on the second one, write: “What is really important to you?”
Then wrap each notecard in a small box and present them to your Valentine. But make sure you present your two boxes when you have time to talk – not hastily before you need to run errands or get the kids up or start your day. The key is to make sure you have uninterrupted time to hear your Valentine’s answers (and to listen).
A worthwhile goal is to better understand how you and your Valentine behave toward getting the wealth you both want and also using it to enrich your lives spiritually. But know this: it is not as simple as rich equals happy and poor equals misery.
A few better objectives might be:
• Appreciating what you both have;
• Removing the bad behavior that prevents you from obtaining what you both need; and
• Revamping any skewed outlook that might be preventing you both from attaining true happiness.
Sometimes financial advisors end up playing marriage counselor to clients because it is not unusual to mediate conflict between a financially cautious spouse on one side and a more freewheeling spouse on the other. And one step is to try to figure out how to accommodate a couple’s clashing opinions on topics like when/where they want to retire, spending habits, tolerances for risk, etc.
Further, you probably already know that spending money on material goods doesn’t provide anywhere near the satisfaction that experiences do. And often the experiences cost less. So yes, money can bring happiness, but only if you see what is truly important.
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