Weekend Reading: If it Makes You Happy

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading if it makes you happy spending Weekend reading if it makes you happy spending
Weekend Reading

How does spending money make you feel? For some, it’s painful. For others, it brings excitement. Regardless, the complex nature of spending is what makes money emotional and often challenging to discuss.


The gray area: In today’s society, spending is multifaceted. It’s judged, encouraged, tied to status and the cause of both happiness and anxiety. Further, the consequences of spending money depend on your vision for the future. Some favor immediate enjoyment (spenders), while others prioritize life’s uncertainties (savers). When you do spend, however, research suggests that spending on others, such as charity, can bring ultimate satisfaction when aligned with your passion.

Your spending philosophy: Ultimately, the concept of spending itself is neither good nor bad; it just is. Advertisements are responsible for enticing you to spend, while personal finance figures often promote saving. Planting yourself somewhere in the middle of both worlds is key. Turn off self-judgment and external judgment and focus on defining your vision. Estimate current and future costs to drive your spending behavior, and recognize the importance of evaluating your spending habits over time.

Your past – including your childhood, upbringing and memories of money – can directly impact your present and future feelings about spending. In order to change or improve your relationship with money, you first need to understand the root of your spending emotions.