Life’s About More Than Money

Life's about more than money

I spend a bit of time on Twitter. It gives me good coverage of what’s going on in the world – super quick. Last night I came across this tweet from NAB:

I’m yet to work the technicalities of embedding tweets into this note, so you can watch the campaign by clicking on the video below:

Life’s about more than money. Said no bank ever. Bizarre, right? Notwithstanding, the ad is brilliant. So powerful. As a father of a two year old boy (pictured above), and with another little bundle of joy on the way, the ad resonates really strongly with me (it even raises a few hairs on the back of the neck). Well done NAB, hats off to you.

The voice over states that, on average, after 18 years, you spend $450,000 on your child with little or no financial return on your investment. So, why do people have children? Clearly, it’s not about the money. There’s more to it than that.

When I’m not on Twitter, I’m helping a few clients with their finances and investments. The most difficult part of my job, yet the most satisfying, is spending time uncovering their goals and aspirations. What’s their life is really about? What are their goals and why? What makes them happy?

If you think loads of money, fetching good looks, or the admiration of others will improve your life – think again. A study by the University of Rochester set out to determine which types of goals led to a happier life.

They interviewed a number of university students and asked them about their goals in life. They separated their responses into two groups; extrinsic or ‘profit’ aspirations and intrinsic or ‘purpose’ aspirations. Extrinsic aspirations were centered around becoming wealthy or achieving a certain look. Intrinsic aspirations were centered around growing as an individual, helping others improve their lives, and contributing to their community.

Over time, they tracked their progress. They found that those with purpose aspirations reported much higher levels of satisfaction and self-esteem about their lives. In fact, they also reported lower levels of anxiety and depression. On the other hand, those with profit aspirations weren’t any happier than when they were at university. These students also exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression.

In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink interviewed the authors of this study, and here’s what they had to say:

“The typical notion is this: You value something. You attain it. Then you’re better off as a function of it. But what we find is that there are certain things that if you value and if you attain them, you’re worse off as a result of it, not better off.”

Failing to understand this conundrum — that satisfaction depends not merely on having goals, but on having the right goals — can lead sensible people down self-destructive paths. If people chase profit goals, reach those goals, and still don’t feel any better about their lives, one response is to increase the size and scope of the goals — to seek more money or greater outside validation. And that can “drive them down a road of further unhappiness thinking it’s the road to happiness.”

Different people want different things. For some, it’s about giving their children an education they never had, or giving back to a community who may not be as fortunate. For others, it’s about building a home where they can spend quality, uninterrupted time with their loved ones. Ask yourself why? Why do we direct funds and or our time towards investments that don’t generate a financial return?

Our long experience in wealth management has consistently shown that our clients don’t view the accumulation of money as the end game. They see it as a means to an end, a way of achieving their desired lifestyle.

Your core values about money essentially affect many of the decisions you make in life. So, conversely, when you understand and are clear on what you want to do with your life, the right financial choices and decisions for you personally will become much clearer.

Life is about more than money.