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Financial Happiness – Does Money Make You Happier?


Is there something that we’re afraid of talking about?

YES. We’re all afraid to talk about money.

We were taught and trained to be polite when talking about personal finances. Most of us feel awkward when we’re approached by someone to talk about it, and tend to be alert and sensitive when asked about our personal finances.

This taboo in treating money as a touchy subject hinders people from learning about it.

Despite this, many young people nowadays turn to social media to learn about making money, growing money and many other money-related issues.

There is nothing wrong with this, only the potential consequences of your actions thereafter. Most of these money questions on social media lead you to take some form of action.

As a result, you might have SKIPPED and MISSED the opportunity to understand your relationship with money and your purpose of money.

To gain a different perspective, you should ask the following questions:

  1. What does money mean to you?
  2. Does money make you happier?
  3. What have you done to grow your happiness by leveraging on money?

What is Financial Happiness and Why is it Important?

Finnian Kelly, the financial happiness expert, defines Financial Happiness as a philosophy and a practice that guides you into an intentional relationship with money.

With this intentional relationship, you can unlock the financial confidence to enjoy your life NOW while also feeling excited about your big vision and plans for your future. 

Managing money can be simple. Most of the time we merely focus on how we earn it, save it, invest it, and protect it. Nevertheless, the underlying purpose – happiness, is in actual fact the ultimate factor that motivates and drives us to work better in these areas.

In life, we spend money and put in time and effort to pursue happiness. According to psychologists David Myers and Ed Diener, there is a scientific correlation between money and happiness.

From a data-driven perspective, money can buy happiness, but only up to a certain point. In reinforcing this, happiness economics studies in various countries by leading economists also led to similar conclusions.

This perspective is compatible with what was suggested by Tal Ben-Shahar, professor of the most popular course at Harvard, “How to Be Happier” who describes happiness as the ultimate currency. With the progress of the times, Financial Happiness is becoming a trend.

Principles to achieve Financial Happiness

Good information alone will not drive you towards Financial Happiness; you need to take action. Here are a few general principles to practice towards this goal:

1. Focus on habits that increase your financial happiness

  • Keep your eyes on small expenses – building good spending habits are important but it is more practical to increase your awareness on small expenses incurred, for example the supposedly RM1 unlimited premium music subscription fees. Small leaks will sink a great ship, so stay alert on small purchases that can eventually help you save a big sum of money.
  • Grow your personal capital – resources such as time, energy, talent, network and money represent your personal capital that are vital in your wealth building process. Most of the time, you’ll start by trading time and energy for money. With time and better exposure, you’ll probably have more options. Your wealth creation journey can be easier if you can identify important and meaningful resources to grow and sustain yourself from an early age. So take action now to develop your blueprint to build, expand and manage your personal capital required for long term wealth building.
  • Connect with your inner self – a profound body-mind interconnection is crucial. Maintaining physical and mental health will enhance your abilities and strengths. Once your relationship with your inner self improves, your relationships with nature and people around you will strengthen as well. 

2. A happy present leads to a happy future

Dwelling on the past will affect your achievements in the present and failing to concentrate your efforts on the now might affect your future happiness. To have a balanced orientation in life, you must embrace your past, present and future. 

  • Don’t underestimate what you can do TODAY – big things have small beginnings. You must discipline yourself to focus on practicing the habits mentioned above. Your persistence will determine your future.
  • Don’t be too optimistic about the future – many only start thinking about financial planning at a later age and are optimistic that the future will bring a better job or better income. However, no one has a crystal ball to see what the future holds. As such, you should take action now and do the best you can, and select the best options available to you right now.

3. Establish “financial goals” as a positive strategy  

Never be afraid to speak out about what you want – all of us know what we actually like and dislike; what we want and don’t want.

The reason less people speak about it is because many are scared of knowing what is needed of them to fulfil their wants. It’s always good to establish specific “financial goals” and use them as your yardstick for future success.

4. Stay curious, stay simple

Curiosity and simplicity are the keys to happiness. Curiosity allows us to explore new opportunities while simplicity keeps our thinking process grounded. People prefer simplicity and are always looking for easier ways to achieve what they want.

The simplest way to practice this is to always stay alert to new information, find out more by asking appropriate questions and make simple decisions as we go along the way. Connecting curiosity and simplicity in your financial matters will lead you to more possibilities and an easier route to achieve Financial Happiness.

5. Balancing egoism and altruism

Proper discovery about yourself and your own values will empower you to continue to create value for others while not sacrificing your own position.

Uphold the principle that the more money you create and accumulate, the more you will be able to benefit others. This will streamline your decision-making process and add more value to those around you.  

So, if your peers are searching for ways to grow wealth or are seemingly successful, don’t jump to the conclusion that they’re doing better.

All of us deserve a unique financial journey. So does money make you happier? Ultimately, your small steps today will lead you closer to the Financial Happiness that you dream of.

P/S: For easier practice, you might want to start practising from top to bottom and you will realise the importance that these principles should rank bottom to top once you successfully adopt it!

About the Author

Jess Hon is a Licensed Financial Planner and would like to help millennials take control of their own finances and achieve financial happiness. She can be contacted at

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