What’s Your Financial Life Satisfaction?

Financial life satisfaction is not often described, defined, or discussed in the financial world. Underpinning financial decisions is the assumption that the more you have or the more you make, the happier you are. 

Yet over the last 30 years, studies of the ties between money and happiness have demonstrated that, after a certain income or amount, satisfaction with life in general rises much more slowly. In other words, once we have “enough,” we struggle to find meaning from money alone. 

It’s Not About the Amount 

Further, satisfaction with one’s financial life has less to do with the amount of money one has or makes, and more to do with our sense of financial self-efficacy. That is, the amount is but one component of a more complex mix of our perception of how we handle many aspects of our financial life. 

Think of how satisfied you might be in other areas of your life: family relationships; romantic relationships; career progression; personal maturity; or physical health. Your feeling of self-efficacy depends on a host of factors in each of these areas. 

Feeling Better Leads to Doing Better 

Have you ever decided to make a conscious improvement in an area of your life? Take, for example, exercise. Perhaps you decided at some point to feel better about your exercise. Experts advise taking small steps. One example would be to change a physical habit, such as taking a walk instead of sitting on the couch after dinner. 

Many people find that, once they make an improvement in a positive direction, they experience increased self-efficacy. “Look at me, I can do this. And it makes me feel so much better!” Once we get that feeling of doing something good for ourselves, we often (although not always) want to do it again. Feeling better about ourselves can lead to doing better.

What Factors into Financial Life Satisfaction? 

It’s no different with your financial life. Perhaps you want to understand retirement finance better. Or you want to spend some time figuring out whether you’re “on track.” Small steps can lead to increased financial life satisfaction. 

If you find you’re wondering why you don’t have more satisfaction with your financial life, download the Financial Life Checkup:


For other resources to increase your financial life satisfaction, see the Resources and Courses pages at our website, www.hollydonaldson.com, or subscribe to the award-winning monthly e-letter, “The View From the Porch,” at https://bit.ly/3t2uwfn.

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, CFP® runs an hourly and fee-for-service financial planning practice virtually from her Tampa Bay, Florida office. She also works with clients throughout the U.S. (except Texas) interested in retirement and tax planning advice without product sales or investment management. Holly is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch."

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