Many studies have attempted to determine the contributing factors to happiness. We can mistakenly assume it is derived from a prestigious career, a nice home, luxury automobiles, or exotic vacations. While there is nothing wrong with any of those, research reveals they do not lead to lasting happiness. Angus Campbell, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, studied happiness and published his findings in his 1981 book, The Sense of Wellbeing in America. The following excerpt summarizes the single greatest key to happiness.
“Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of wellbeing than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered.”
Morgan Housel, in his excellent book The Psychology of Money, explains it this way:
“Money’s greatest intrinsic value is its ability to give you control over your time. Using your money to buy time and options has a lifestyle benefit few luxury goods can compete with.”
It has been said that most people do not want to be millionaires, they want to spend a million dollars. The two are very different. The latter will impede progress towards true wealth and lasting happiness. The following are a few considerations for building wealth that empower you to control your time.
Wealth Is What You Don’t See: The price to pay for building wealth is restraint in current consumption. While we often assume those driving expensive cars and living in large homes are wealthy, and some may well be, these are outward signs of consumption not necessarily wealth. Wealth is stored savings. No one goes around (thankfully) flashing their brokerage statements to prove their wealth. It is this invisible wealth that provides freedom.
Be Honest With Yourself: What is the real goal? Is it to live well now by using most of your money to acquire the things you desire today? Or is it to build wealth over time, eventually gaining more control over your life and time? If it is building wealth, how committed are you to that goal and what is the proper balance between enjoying today and making progress towards financial independence? There is no correct answer other than the one that works for you and keeps you progressing towards your goal.
As we approach Father’s Day, I encourage all the gents (and ladies too) to consider building a financial plan that leads to the gift of time and lasting happiness. Live the life YOU imagined, not the one Madison Avenue is selling.
The opinions expressed are those of PYAW’s Investment Team. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Forward looking statements cannot be guaranteed.
PYA Waltman Capital, LLC (“PYAW”) is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about PYAW’s investment advisory services can be found in its Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. PYA-21-20