Word-Of-the-Week #767: Meaningful

April 18, 2019 by  

Meaningful – something that is important or has value to you.

When was the last time you did something that was truly meaningful to you? What are your fondest memories? Have you put off doing something because you didn’t want to spend the money?

This is the second half by Liz Weston on “How to know when it’s OK to spend” . To recap she wrote, “Some people are much better savers than spenders. That can become a problem.

PERMISSION TO START SPENDING

Switching from saving to spending can be hard for some people when they reach retirement age. These reluctant spenders won’t be able to change overnight.

“It’s a transition, and transitions often are rougher than anticipated and take longer than anticipated,” says neuropsychologist Moira Somers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, author of “Advice That Sticks. ”

Plus, many retirees who have trouble spending are worried their savings won’t last. Financial planners typically run computer-assisted simulations to show clients the probabilities that their portfolios will last through various markets at given levels of spending. Even then, some people have trouble turning on the tap.

“For some, it is so severe that we refer to them as financial anorexics,” says CFP John Gugle, chief investment officer of Alpha Financial Advisors in Charlotte, North Carolina. “They literally are convinced that they will run out of money despite our efforts to show them that it is virtually impossible.”

Others are able to start spending once they focus on what’s most important to them, planners say.

AN ANTIDOTE TO FEAR OF SPENDING

“One specific thing we suggest people do is to invest in memories, meaning do things like take your kids and grandkids on vacations that will be meaningful for you and they will remember all their lives,” says CFP John M. Scherer , founder of Trinity Financial Planning in Middleton, Wisconsin.

CFP Dana Anspach, founder and CEO of Sensible Money in Scottsdale, Arizona, has successfully encouraged clients to take trips, hire house cleaners, splurge on their dream cars and buy special-occasion jewelry after she could demonstrate the purchases wouldn’t endanger their financial plans. She also discusses the value of helping others while you’re alive to see the results of your generosity.

“In most cases, this feels far more rewarding than having family wait for you to pass and leaving them a pile of money,” Anspach says.

Then I found more on this from Travel & Leisure that says, “You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of practicing gratitude—how it can boost your mood, help you treat others better, improve physical health, and keep stress and fear at bay. Now, here’s a little trick for how to automatically infuse more gratitude into your life: Spend more money on experiences, and less on material objects.

“Think about how you feel when you come home from buying something new,” Thomas Gilovich, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Cornell University and co-author a new study on gratitude, said in a press release. “You might say, ‘this new couch is cool,’ but you’re less likely to say ‘I’m so grateful for that set of shelves.’” 

“But when you come home from a vacation, you are likely to say, ‘I feel so blessed I got to go,’” he continued. “People say positive things about the stuff they bought, but they don’t usually express gratitude for it—or they don’t express it as often as they do for their experiences.”

Gilovich’s new study shows that people not only express more gratitude about events and experiences than they do about objects; it also found that this kind of gratitude results in more generous behavior toward others. 

“People tend to be more inspired to comment on their feelings of gratitude when they reflect on the trips they took, the venues they visited, or the meals they ate than when they reflect on the gadgets, furniture, or clothes they bought,” the authors wrote in the journal Emotion. 

I have to agree with all of this. The two biggest investments we’ve made are for our house and traveling the world. I LOVE both and I am truly grateful everyday that I get to live where I do and have gotten to see all the things I have!

This week is all about meaningful. Have you focused on what is most important to you? How would it make you feel to spend more money on experiences, and less on material objects? Plus get the benefits of gratitude and exhibit more generous behavior toward others?

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