As you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, what is on your “Things for which to be Thankful” list? Maybe it is food on the table, a roof over your head, or family and friends who love and support you. Maybe it is the ability to shop in stores and dine out once again, or attend a football or soccer game, or play golf or pickleball. After Covid, just being able to hug my children and grandchildren feels like a gift!
In 2010, two psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, published a study that looked at the relationship of money to well-being. According to that study, a person’s happiness increases until their annual income reaches $75,000, and then it plateaus.
Really? I know some very happy people who live from paycheck to paycheck and others who are millionaires. What is their secret? It is their attitude – how they view life.
I recently took an airport shuttle that required a drive of one and a half hours. I got the last seat next to the driver, and she shared her story with me. At one point in her life, she lost everything dear to her – home, family, job. It took a while, but eventually, she realized that she needed help and searched until she found it.
It was not an easy road, but she now has a regular income, a relationship with her children, and friends that surround her. She beamed telling her story and loves her life. Every day she looks forward to a fresh cup of coffee, a chat with her roommate, the people she may meet on her route, and the ability to get them safely to their destination. What a lesson!
During my career as a financial planner, my clients were typically wealthy people. Some were very happy, and some were not. One couple in particular stands out when I think of happiness.
Their family owned a bank located in a large city. It would have been easy for them to focus on the things that they could buy, but they lived modestly and chose to use their wealth in ways that would benefit their community. All sorts of organizations were beneficiaries of their generosity.
As you can imagine, one of their goals was to continue to help others after they were gone, and their son was intent on following in their footsteps. I looked forward to every meeting with this couple because their joy was contagious.
To celebrate this Thanksgiving, I decided to pick three people who may not be high on anyone’s list and share my financial blessings with them.
The first person is a caregiver who is not able to leave his ward unless he pays for a “sitter.” I will pay for him to have a few extra hours of free time. If I lived closer, I would give the gift of my time or bring a meal or fresh produce.
I have both family and friends who are estranged from a child or children. As a very family centered event, Thanksgiving may be especially difficult for them. I will check with each and make sure they are not going to be alone unless that is their desire.
I will set another place, take them out for lunch another day, or bring them flowers or a gift to remind them they are loved. Even a note saying that you care would be welcome.
It is always appropriate to give to those in need and Thanksgiving is an especially good time. As you sit around a table with family and friends, share a meal, and give thanks for your blessings, big and small, let’s not forget those who have little or nothing to eat on this day.
Some of you volunteer at food banks or kitchens. Some choose to donate money or goods to them. This year I pledge to show extra compassion for those who stand at intersections and ask for money to feed themselves and their families. Yes, I am aware that some of those people are not truly needy, and some are fighting demons. Who am I to judge. I will give and send a prayer that good choices are made.
I truly hope that you have a wonderful and special way to give financial thanks this year and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
How will you celebrate Thanksgiving? What do you do to share your financial blessings? Can you think of a new way to share your blessings?