For most of our lives many of us have heard the old adage “Money can’t buy happiness.” And we can all think of numerous examples of individuals where this certainly seems to be true – whether among the powerful and famous, or within our own family or group of friends. But is that really true? Research over the last few decades suggests “NO!” In fact, many studies show that in one sense money can buy happiness. But it’s not the amount of money we have, but rather how we SPEND our money that can indeed increase our happiness – although perhaps not in the way Madison Avenue or Amazon Prime would like us to think. First, let’s address the skeptics among you who feel sure that if you simply had MORE money you would indeed be happier. Statistics show that certainly isn’t true, since 70% of all lottery winners or those with a sudden financial windfall end up bankrupt within a few years.1 Carl Jung, famous psychologist, said in fact that the keys to happiness were five things.
Atlanta Financial Blog
Only You Can Define “Financial Freedom”
John Adams and the founding fathers specifically recommended “illuminations” to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s birth. The official decree calling for fireworks on July 4th was written even before the country was officially formed. Even though fireworks are almost exclusively reserved for these patriotic celebrations, we think you deserve some fireworks of your own – to mark your progress on the path to financial freedom.
But before we can light the fuses, we need to know how you define this elusive state of expected being. Some people think financial freedom is just beyond where they are now, while others see it as light years away.
Many people associate achieving financial freedom with a specific numerical value. So much so that one international financial services company spent millions of dollars to orchestrate a global advertising campaign asking a seemingly simple question, “What is Your Retirement Number?” While the question may seem easy to answer on its face, there is no one answer. In fact, there are literally millions of answers, each of which is complex and highly personal to the person who claims it.
When we asked some of our clients how they defined the term, their answers were diverse and sometimes surprising. The word, “enough,” was peppered through those conversations. However, one person’s “enough” won’t likely satisfy the next person and may well be excessive for a third. That’s where confusion begins to complicate the discussion.
This list features just a few of the answers heard about the highly personal definition of financial freedom:
- Being free from debt.
- Living comfortably off your income.
- Seeing your children graduate from the colleges and universities of their choice.
- Being able to stop working and follow your passions without needing a paycheck.
- Choosing to change jobs with confidence.
- Funding your own business.
- Relocating to a favorite destination.
- Having enough money to thrive without further income.
At Atlanta Financial, we think all these answers legitimately represent financial freedom to many of our clients. But we think a different question needs to be asked: “What do you want your assets to do for you?” Hidden in that answer are the specifics of how you personally describe what it means to be financially free and how we can help you get there.
For many, financial freedom comes down to living the life of their choosing without worrying about money and “what ifs.” If you share our belief that understanding what you want from your assets is more important than any one single number, why not take the time this July to reflect on your progress to financial freedom as you define it?
No matter where you are on that path, you can count on Atlanta Financial to honor and illuminate your dreams with action. We look forward to working with you to Make Life’s Journey Richer.
 How Fireworks Became a Fourth of July Tradition. (2016). Time. Available online from http://time.com/4828701/first-fireworks-history-july-4th/
 Hamm. T. (2010). What Does “Financial Independence” Really Mean? Available online from https://www.thesimpledollar.com/what-does-financial-independence-really-mean/
“How did the new tax bill affect me?” was the question on everyone’s minds this tax season, and for good reason. Even though this was touted as the greatest simplification of the tax code in my lifetime, I didn’t notice any reduction in time spent preparing returns. Those of you who reviewed your returns in detail noticed that the schedules look drastically different although contain all the same information. The short answer for many is that it didn’t materially change your overall tax liability. The outliers fell into one of a few buckets…
No one enjoys thinking about what will happen after they’re gone, but we all want our families to be well cared for. Many people set up trusts to provide for their loved ones, but the trust is only as good as its trustee.Choosing a trustee is one of the more difficult decisions in creating your estate plan. Some attorneys suggest choosing several trustees to promote checks and balances, but sometimes choosing just one trustee can be difficult in light of family relationships and other factors. Choosing a trustee is a very personal and complex decision, but there are some basic guidelines one should consider.
It is that time of year again where school years are coming to a close and many parents are gearing up for a bitter-sweet high school graduation or are celebrating their child being one year closer to a hard-earned college diploma. Whatever the case may be, it is hard to deny the heavy lift education costs can be. You may not be able to shrink the bottom-line cost of attendance any further, and you surely can’t impact how fast many costs are going up, but, you can reduce the weight this line-item carries within your financial plan by remembering these 5 things: