Blog Authored by: Jeanne Hines, SPHR
We’ve all heard the old adage that “money can’t buy happiness.” While it really IS true that money can’t buy happiness, it is also true that a satisfying quality of life contributes to one’s well-being. The key here is “satisfying.” Satisfaction is often associated with wealthy people who have a cushy lifestyle; however, satisfaction is possible at many income levels.
Rath and Harter, in their book Well Being The Five Essential Elements, cite studies that assess the impact of money on well-being. While it is true that wealthy nations are also healthy nations, there seems to be a strong correlation between how we spend our money and our sense of well-being. Gallup research overwhelmingly has found that spending money on ourselves didn’t boost personal satisfaction, but spending money on others did – such as through donations, gifts, and other charity. They also found that people derived greater satisfaction when money was spent on experiences that provided lasting memories than when it was spent on consumable goods.
From a business perspective employee stress due to financial worries creates more sick days and less engagement, coupled with turnover. One way to assist employees is to provide programs to help them better manage their finances. Many financial advisors provide these kinds of programs at low or no cost.
Like any other resource, whether income is large or small, it’s important to optimize its use. Our banks have been telling us for years to pay ourselves first, or save for a rainy day. That is the first lesson we typically learn in wealth accumulation. It’s an important first step in forming habits and building a nest egg for the future.
Financial well-being is only one aspect of our holistic approach to well-being which includes career, social, physical and community well-being. Look for my next blog on the most commonly-thought-of kind of well-being, physical well-being.