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Is it possible to increase your net worth through optimism and hope? Last week, I was listening to this episode of the Australian All in the Mind podcast featuring American positive psychologist Martin Seligman, speaking on the power of positive psychology and optimism in changing our outcomes.
One of the reasons I was drawn to this podcast was because Seligman is an academician. He’s interested in quantifiable research in neuroscience that psychologists can use to improve people’s outcomes, that is, their happiness levels. Seligman is the Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and is widely known as the founder of positive psychology (here’s a TED talk he did from 2004).
In the podcast, Seligman shares how early on in his career, he realized that his colleagues were focused on the alleviation of misery and suffering, but he was interested in how to increase happiness: “I said, look, when you lie in bed at night you are generally not thinking about how to go from -8 to -5, you’re thinking about how to go from +3 to +6 in life. Psychologists have never worked on this, we’ve never worked on happiness, well-being, the stuff that is above zero.”
It became his mission to figure out how to teach optimism. Continue reading “Can Optimism and Hope Increase Your Wealth?”
Happy July Fourth to my US readers! The ThreeYears have just settled in to our new house in North Carolina (ok, “settled in” might be a bit of a stretch. We are navigating through a sea of boxes and questioning why moving into a smaller house was a good idea all while not being able to find anything!).
I wrote this post several days ago and thought it was a good read for Independence Day. Because as we all know, financial freedom is an incredible type of freedom.
Today is Friday. We’re officially 100% debt free, as of 9am this morning.
We just sold our house in New Hampshire and we can enjoy three days of being completely debt free before we purchase our new house in North Carolina.
Going forward, our mortgage is the only debt we’ll have. And that feels really good.
Continue reading “Freedom from Payments”
There’s a big debate in the personal finance community over whether it’s best to pay off your debt, or keep low interest debt (like a mortgage) and invest more.
After all, with low interest rates, you can likely earn more over time investing more of your money in the stock market and keeping low interest debt around. However, while the math may support keeping debt around, it certainly doesn’t account for the behavioral economics side of things. After all, as smart and logical as we’d like to think we all are, it’s all too easy to prefer a new car or vacation over disciplined investing, especially if a partner is pushing for those things.
And what about the feeling of being debt free? Being indebted to no one? If you carry a mortgage, you have that debt burden (and responsibility) over your head. Continue reading “Pay Off Debt or Invest?”
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that household debt, including mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt, has risen all over the world. Shockingly, Switzerland leads the pack, with household debt at 127.5% of Gross Domestic Product (that means, for every $100,000 of GDP a household produces, they hold $127,500 in debt!).
The average citizen in Switzerland, which has traditionally been an extremely wealthy country, has substantial assets underpinning this debt, or at least four times more assets than the average American.
Even so, Switzerland, as well as nine other economies including Canada, Finland, and Australia, have debt levels that are high and rising quickly, at a pace that mirrors that of the US right before the housing bubble. Continue reading “The State of Your Economy”