Recently I decided to trademark my logo, because I love it and it succinctly describes what I enjoy helping people do as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner™ Professional). It didn’t come to me immediately, but when it did, I knew it was right.

TO BREAK IT DOWN…

Plan — Doing your finances differently doesn’t just happen without thought, strategy and action. As a wise person once told me, a bag of money never dropped into anyone’s lap while they were meditating. Of course all good action starts there, with thought and reflection. But in order to make things happen, ideally there is a strategy, and then a way to execute the plan.

A Richer Life — Have you heard about the happiness study tied to income? It basically says that there is not an increase in happiness once your household income is more than $75,000. Kind of shocking to learn this, where the prevailing message in our culture is that you need more and better things to be happy. But the truth is… that’s not true! The study found that once your basic needs are met plus a little extra to do the things you enjoy, your happiness does not increase with higher income. That may be hard to believe, but goes along with the old adage that “money doesn’t buy you happiness.”

So, realizing that money actually doesn’t buy you happiness, what does bring you contentment, happiness, joy even? That is for you to answer, and it boils down to those things in life that really fill you up. It’s your personalized combination of activities, passions, maybe some “things,” and your loved ones. The “things” are often just a means to an end… the way a computer is a vehicle for whatever you use it to do. It’s good to take a mental inventory of what fills your cup and be careful about falling into the trap of more and better “things.” It may sound obvious, but it’s an important exercise, because many of us are on auto pilot when it comes to how we spend.

HERE’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT

I was in Santa Fe last week with my sister and her friend. We are all on a healthy food regimen, and since they were flying in, I told them I’d make and bring my newest specialty — Indian lentils as well as some other things for us to eat. (Note: This is really delicious, your kitchen will smell amazing, and I used red lentils. I found the spices at Savory Spice) This trip was in stark contrast to our last visit to Santa Fe, where we indulged in many green-chile delicious (but not healthy) meals out. One evening we were savoring a home-cooked meal at our table on our small balcony, our great room snagged at a significant discount because of my sister’s former employee status. And as we were enjoying being together, the view, the sound of the birds and the food itself, I felt utter appreciation and contentment, and I thought, this is exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to living a richer life! This beautiful meal and moment on our balcony took a lot LESS money than what one might automatically assume would be necessary for food happiness — eating out at an expensive restaurant. This is just an example that a richer life doesn’t have to have a hefty price tag. It fits for me because being a foodie is high on my happiness list!

Financial planning should not be just about crossing and dotting your financial “t’s” and “i’s” — although this part is important. Financial planning should also be about aligning your money with what gives your life meaning and joy. A richer life is a life where you maximize your enjoyment with the resources that you have. Be in touch if you need some help planning your richer life.

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