Happiness is…

By Nicky Sullivan

Happiness is such a strange idea. We all want it, but we’d struggle to define it in a way that fits everyone we know. Imagine the list we’d all have…


Here at iamMoney, we’re actually not that interested in making you happy. Not in the personal way that most people understand the term anyway. “Hah! Typical bank!” you might say. And that’s fine. We’ll take the hit. Because we have far grander things in mind than merely facilitating fleeting moments of bliss followed by the dooming thud (or ping) of a credit card bill. Those spikes of delight followed by crash, like kids at a party on a series of sugar highs and lows. 


We have a far bigger idea of happiness than the one we’ve all been conditioned to fashion in our minds. And we know how to achieve it too.


The question of happiness has occupied our most powerful thinkers for thousands of years. What is surprising though is how thoroughly ‘modern’ some ancient thinkers can appear. For example, 2,400 years ago, Aristotle believed that happiness comes from expressing what we have rationally decided is good for us over the longer term. Note how this does not include ice-cream… 


Instead, in direct contradiction to how modern society is constructed, Aristotle’s kind of happiness is not about pleasure at all, but is a by-product of a meaningful life - and a meaningful life tends to come from striving and self-discipline. It is not about money, but about taking charge of our own destiny. There’s only one way to achieve that: Financial planning. 


Study after study has shown that happiness — that is, an abiding sense of contentment untouchable by credit card bills, or the fear of a tyre blowing — comes not from what we earn, but from how we take control of it. Financial planning gives us control of our lives and the power to anticipate problems before they strike. 


A 2018 study found that once a single person’s salary hits $60,000, any additional income is actually linked to decreases in emotional well-being. In the UK, a similar study carried out a few years ago found that levels of self-esteem dropped among those earning more than £50,000 ($65,000 in 2019). 


The same study found that 85% of people reporting high self-esteem also felt in control of their finances. At the other end, 70% of those reporting low self-esteem said they were not in control of their finances.


But how do you take control of your finances? We’ve got you covered. The first thing is knowledge. You’ll find all the knowledge here and at www.iammoneysmart.com that you need to get a grip on what’s going on in your financial universe; how you can understand it and master it.


The second is application. But you knew that already. The third is about the things you want. When you know on a personal level what makes you happy - whether it’s time with family, a turn of phrase in a Philip Roth novel, the heart-stopping elegance of Lebron James, a cup of coffee and ten minutes’ peace and quiet - then you can set about making sure your life is filled with more of these things. With an easy mind.