Different this time?

Our drive to work in the morning is more congested.   Realtors confirm sales have picked up.  2014 total dollar volume sales showed substantial gains over 2013. Aspen had 38.21% gain over 2013,  Basalt/El Jebel 38.03%, and Carbondale 15.88%.  Are happy days here again?  Did we learn anything from the pain of the recession?  What would it look like to do your dollars differently?  There are four primary areas of your financial life.  How money comes to you.  How you decide to give it.  What you do to cultivate it and how you spend it.

What if you brought money into your life with integrity, competency, dignity, and grace?  Comprehensive studies are out.   Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton of Princeton University found that when they looked at affective measures, happiness did not rise after a household reached an annual income of approximately $75,000.  We can increase that to incorporate the RFV standard of living.  So if more money doesn’t buy more happiness, what is it about?  Does money come into your life from work, a trust, Social Security, rental property, business assets, investments? Does it matter where this income comes from or your attitude around and feelings about it?  Does it affect the way you live and the choices you make?  What would change if you looked at it differently?

What do you do with the money you have?  Do you give of your financial resources with guts and gratitude?  What would that look like?  Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and co-author of the book “Happy Money,” discusses the paradox of money.  Having more can enhance our well-being, but we actually become happier when we share with others. She found that in countries as diverse as Canada, South Africa and Uganda, giving away their own money consistently made people happier, even when they themselves were relatively poor.   With food in your fridge and spare change in your pocket, you are in the top 8% of the world’s wealth.  Embracing appreciation for what we have will free us to give.  What if we prioritize benevolence, stepping out of our comfort zone in new ways?

Thirdly, you need to nurture, grow and protect your financial resources with wisdom, diligence and care.  Savings rates moved above 8% in the first quarter of 2008 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  They have been trending down ever since.  Did we not learn anything?  What gets your business through a pro-longed off-season?  What is going to provide you with your future spending?  SAVINGS!  The positive affect of savings and investing is more than self-serving.. Domestic savings create a pool of money from which companies can borrow, creating the jobs that push living standards higher over time.  It could also reduce America’s need to borrow money overseas, creating less dependency on foreign creditors who now supply us with hundreds of billions of dollars in financing every year.  Do you want to invest differently?  Do you want to invest in companies that are doing more than just earning a rate of return?  So many things to do differently in this area.

Finally, how do you spend within safe boundaries and with joyful intention?  Do you make choices and feel good about them?  Ski patrol has boundaries on the ski mountains for a reason – to protect us.  We need to do the same with our finances.  Stay within bounds and have a fantastic time!    Could we also look at “boundaries” in an expanded context of not just our personal budgets but as the world’s natural and human resources?  In Tom Shadyac’s documentary ‘I AM’, he points out that indigenous cultures look at people who consume more than they need as mentally ill.  Have we asked ourselves – How much is enough?

It is not a matter of if, but when we will have another financial debacle.  Do not look forward with trepidation, but with wisdom. Take one area of your financial life that you would like to do differently then move forward with a small change.  You can find “My Financial Affirmations” at http://wealthbydesign4u.com/resources/my-financial-affirmations/

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