By Tom Sedoric and Casey Snyder

Among the many lessons in his remarkable 2020 book “The Psychology of Money,” Morgan Housel nails the one about our relationship with money. It is a lesson that should be shared far and wide.

“People want to become wealthier to make them happier. Happiness is a complicated subject because everyone’s different. But if there’s a common denominator in happiness – a universal fuel of joy – it’s that people want control of their lives. The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless. It is the highest dividend that money pays,” Housel wrote.

You will note that Housel said nothing about money buying happiness and, in fact, he advocates messages that you won’t see on the firehose of cognitive-dissonant information found on the 24/7 financial networks. The messages conveyed that building wealth requires a set of personal skills (humility, determination, delayed gratification, the discipline of saving, taking care of oneself) have little to do with the ability to decipher spreadsheets or the latest investment tips.

We agree wholeheartedly. While we excel at doing the nuts and bolts work of managing the balance sheets and myriad risks for our clients, reducing our efforts to emotionless financial spreadsheets is not in our DNA. Our other goal as fiduciaries is to assist those clients who want to achieve a more fulfilling life before and during their journey into retirement. We are privileged to witness the struggles, opportunities, and successes as our clients strive for an optimum financial outcome. We are not diminishing the importance of money, but we believe that achieving and retaining strong mental and physical health can be even more important than the balance in one’s checkbook.

It doesn’t take much insight to realize we live in a convoluted and seemingly boundaryless era. We are inundated with information – and misinformation – from early morning to our last thoughts before trying to get a good night’s sleep. It can be difficult to sort through life’s priorities while keeping engaged in family, work, and one’s long-term financial satisfaction.

Some of this prioritizing boils down to time management. Given how busy our daily lives seem to be, who has time to spend thinking about one’s legacy and reflect upon what it is that is going to give me purpose? We have regular conversations with clients about their lives, especially regarding any job or career changes and the significance of those changes beyond the dollars and cents calculations. It is quite healthy in fact to actively seek out different experiences and opportunities that are relevant to their lives.

The ongoing circumstances emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic have led to a series of rapid, even radical, paradigm shifts.

One of the main paradigm shifts is happening in real-time. The pandemic likely accelerated workplace trends such as the “Great Resignation,” in which 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August.

According to an October CNBC story (based on a Morning Consult survey for Prudential), the reasons included:

  • Burnout due to the pandemic
  • Searching for more purpose and meaning in their jobs
  • A higher paycheck
  • More want to work remotely at least part of the time

Millennials, who now make up most of the American workforce, are a major part of the 46 percent of those surveyed who are looking for or considering a new job. We don’t know how long this shakeup will continue, but it could have a major impact on what we call “work,” whether it be for better wages, more job fulfillment, a healthier life-work balance, or a combination of them all.

As part of our job fulfillment, we want to explore more about what is happening Beyond Your Balance Sheet and how various subjects contribute and/or detract from your success, fulfillment, and overall happiness. To do this, we are sponsoring a series of podcast conversations with a wide range of regional notables – or those who should be notable – hosted by Laura Knoy, the former longtime host of “The Exchange” on New Hampshire Public Radio. We hope to foster meaningful conversation and enlightenment. We invite everyone to listen in because, in part, conversations about the complexities of today can lead to tomorrow’s wisdom.


Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of any of the entities mentioned above. This material is being provided for information purposes only. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person’s situation. Raymond James and its advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Investing involves risk, and you may incur a profit or a loss regardless of the strategy selected. No investment strategy can guarantee your objectives will be met. The projections or other information generated by investment planning software regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time.