In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought this month I would take a break from the details about the market, economy, GDP, etc., and instead focus on something completely different. The old saying is “money can’t buy happiness,” but I believe having your financial affairs in order can provide you with confidence during some difficult periods in life. Money itself isn’t going to make you happy but it can be a mechanism to allow you to do fun things with those you care about. Let me explain.
A few months ago, I had back surgery after dealing with severe nerve pain for months. It was so bad I couldn’t get comfortable standing, sitting or even lying down. As the day of surgery approached, it made me realize how much I took for granted just being pain free. There were several trips planned for the fall such as a Napa wine tour, fall weekend in the hill country and Christmas in the mountains. The thought of having to cancel those was depressing and made my heart sink. It was a sharp reminder of how valuable time is with my family and friends doing activities we enjoy with each other.
The week after surgery, while recovering at home, several close friends came to visit me, many driving up from Houston. I knew their calendars were full of work and family things, but they chose to take time out of their day to be with me. The physical presence of a friend brought me true happiness and joy. We talked about fun times together in the past and those still to come. It was truly uplifting and took my mind off the pain and recovery ahead of me.
Did money make me happy that day? Absolutely not. Did having a plan in place to protect those around me give me comfort before my surgery? Absolutely. The relationships and shared experiences truly are irreplaceable. We can’t predict the future but we can prepare for it. In the end, the happiest people I know have done a good job preparing for the future but more importantly, they have relationships around them and enjoy spending time together.