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Study Shows Financial Discipline Brings Happiness

Study Shows Financial Discipline Brings Happiness

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company recently released the results of a study correlating financial planning and happiness. Researchers asked the participants to describe how disciplined they are in planning their finances. They also asked them to identify how financially secure they feel and how happy they expect to be in retirement. The results were quite revealing.

Just over 50 percent of the participants considered themselves highly disciplined (with exact goals and a road map to meet them) or disciplined (with goals that change along the way). Among them, nearly 75 percent felt, “very financially secure.” Ninety-one percent expected to be happy in retirement.

On the other hand, 46 percent of the participants identified themselves as informal planners (with goals but no real plans to achieve them) or non-planners (without goals or plans). Among them, only 17 percent were able to say they felt “very financially secure.” And only 63 percent expected to be happy in retirement.

These results certainly seem to indicate that discipline—complete with goals and careful planning—increases financial security as well as future happiness. Here are a few other ways you can improve your money morale—whether you’re just out of college or nearing retirement.

Know where your money goes

Whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck or have plenty of disposable income but no idea where it all goes, tracking your money is a simple way to improve your financial happiness. There are many ways to do this. You can save receipts, track expenditures in a notebook, or route all your transactions through a single checking account and use your bank’s online software.

Make saving a habit

While financial planners have different opinions on how much anyone should save (especially if they’re moving towards retirement), putting aside as little as 5 percent on a monthly basis is enough to make you feel happier about your financial situation.

Pay your bills as soon as you get them

If you hate watching huge sums of money leave your checking account whenever you sit down to pay your bills, try paying each one as it comes in rather than settling them all at once. Bonus: if a bill is larger than expected, you can adjust the rest of your spending accordingly rather than finding yourself over budget at the end of the month.

Share your wealth

When you do something nice for someone else, it provides a serious boost to your mood. Find a cause you believe in and donate a small sum each month. If you’re short on disposable cash, you can always give back in other ways—such as a donation of your time.

Communicate with your partner

Money is one of the most common causes of arguments among spouses. The best way to eliminate these disagreements is to make spending and borrowing a joint decision—especially when credit card debt is involved.

Would you like to become one of the “highly disciplined” and enjoy greater financial security and happiness every day? Contact a financial planner for assistance creating a savings and investment plan. Or, if you’re already planning, ask for a review of your progress to ensure you’re on track to achieving your goals.