Dr. Helen

How Do You Use Money to Fund a Happy Life?

While traveling today, I read a new book called The Geometry of Wealth: How to shape a life of money and meaning. The book is an interesting look at how wealth is basically “funded contentment”:

How does money figure into a happy life?

In The Geometry of Wealth,behavioral finance expert Brian Portnoy delivers an inspired answer based on the idea that wealth, truly defined, is funded contentment. It is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life. This stands in stark contrast to angling to become rich, which is usually an unsatisfying treadmill.

At the heart of this groundbreaking perspective,Portnoy takes readers on a journey toward wealth, informed by disciplines ranging from ancient history to modern neuroscience. He contends that tackling the big questions about a joyful life and tending to financial decisions are complementary, not separate, tasks.

I am always interested in how people view money; some people don’t like to talk about it, some have little understanding and misuse it, and others simply see it as a “necessary evil.” In the book, the author talks about how people use money to buy time, and in turn happiness. I see this as a very important function of money because time is so important and having money truly gives one more time.

Many people who have very little money spend so much time dealing with the problems that low income brings such as broken cars, struggling to get to work or school, etc., that they spend the day more depressed. We use money, according to the book, to keep from feeling sad. People who have low incomes feel more like victims and out of control, the author states.

I think it’s important to teach people how to use money because many people don’t understand how to gain credit properly, save or keep things in good repair so that they are not stressed. Unfortunately, do-gooders often think handing people money (by taking yours) is a good way to help others but it usually leads to more victimhood, helplessness and dependence on government. Maybe if we taught people how to use money wisely, it would help people feel more content and less helpless, but then what would the do-gooders do if low-income people didn’t need their help?