I came up with a brainstorm in my usual place (the shower) one morning. I had been thinking about the cash flow work I do with my clients and how it almost always initiates a discussion about what they want more of in life. It usually goes like this: We review the fixed or essential expenses like mortgage, property taxes, utilities, insurance premiums and then we talk about their discretionary expenditures: things like entertainment, dining out, travel, and hobbies. Many times my clients are frustrated because they want more of these pleasurable activities and things in their lives but don’t know whether they can afford them. Or, in the case of couples, one party wants more of something and the other doesn’t!
This dilemma is one of the key reasons that many seek out a financial advisor. In my experience people want a financial plan for three reasons:
- To track progress towards short-term financial goals, i.e. college education for children or buying a home.
- To ensure that there will be enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
- To find out whether they can afford more pleasure in their lives enjoying the things and experiences they love.
Back to the brainstorm: This is why I decided to write The Happiness Spreadsheet– it’s an ebook and a workbook. It leads the reader through the work of creating a spending plan for their discretionary dollars that I call The Happiness Spreadsheet. Why would a spreadsheet (of all things) help to make someone happier? Because in order to figure out what you most want and what you can afford, both sides of the brain-the right/emotional side and the left/analytical side need to be engaged to come up with the answers. Because there are dollars involved, it means trade-offs, and by putting the numbers down on paper, it is easier to see what trade-offs need to be made in order to fulfill your dreams.
If this idea sounds intriguing to you, there are several ways you can learn how to create your own Happiness Spreadsheet. One, you can buy the ebook on Amazon here. It’s only $3.99. Or, you can sign up for a Happiness Spreadsheet workshop. The first one is April 28, and at the moment is full, but you can sign up on the waitlist. Those who don’t get into the first class will be emailed about the next class. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore other ways we can work together.
If you do buy the ebook, please be sure and give me feedback on your experience!
More resources for your Happiness quest:
From the Money Crush blog: Why Budgeting Isn’t Just About The Number
From Oprah: Five Things Happy People Do
From Brain Pickings: How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love