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Investing Money In Happiness

It turns out money can buy happiness, after all—sometimes.

Having a good income and the security of money invested for the future don’t insure happiness, of course. They do, however, give us a foundation that can make it easier to find happiness. Part of the secret to using money to foster happiness is knowing what to spend it on.

Spending money to lift your mood—the whole “retail therapy” idea—does not lead to happiness. It provides only a momentary sense of pleasure, which often in the long run fosters unhappiness.

Yet there are ways to spend money that do create happiness. Here, based in part on several posts about money and happiness by Dr. Jeremy Dean on his site Psyblog, are a few of them:

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The Investment Value of Delaying Social Security

In a column last fall, I made the point that waiting till full retirement age or even longer to file for Social Security benefits can be a wise investment. Now financial writer Michael Kitces, in his “Nerd’s Eye View” newsletter, makes the same point with a detailed analysis. His article is well worth reading, especially if you are considering early Social Security filing.

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Equal Inheritances Not Always Fair

In estate planning, “equal” isn’t necessarily the same as “fair”. I rarely see an estate plan that does not treat children equally. When I do see inequality, it’s usually because a parent is estranged from one child and leaves him or her nothing.

Dividing an estate into equal shares for each child might seem to be the obvious way to treat children fairly. However, that usually only works if you’ve treated them equally during your lifetime. If you have given more to one child during life, it’s usually smart to level the playing field at death.

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Rick and Sarah Sharpen Skills at Estes Park Retreat

Rick and Sarah just returned from the annual Nazrudin Project Retreat, held in blustery Estes Park last weekend. The Nazrudin Project, a leaderless think tank of top financial life planning practitioners, celebrated its 20th anniversary. The think tank is best known for spawning thought leaders influential in bringing together financial planning with psychology. One of their best known trademarks is their “Open architecture” meeting planning which reduces planning for a two-day event to two hours, versus 12 months for most national conferences!

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Why Rosier Economic Outlook Hasn’t Eased Money Anxiety

Two economic indicators suggest that the US economy is recovering from the recession. The housing market is almost back to 2006 levels in most areas of the country. We’ve also seen record highs for the Dow Jones stock index.

Yet, according to a recent survey by Money magazine, many people still feel anxious about their finances. They may be more optimistic about their own current circumstances, but still worry about their future or about the economy in general.

This continued anxiety despite a rosier economic outlook may not seem logical. When you take a closer look, however, it makes perfect sense.

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