Love, Happiness and Money
March 20th, 2015
We’ve just come out of the season when millions of people buy roses, chocolates and romantic cards; make reservations at crowded restaurants with enhanced pricing; and see pictures of Cupid everywhere.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why Cupid?” or “What is the origin of Cupid?”
In ancient Greece, Cupid was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, who was the goddess of beauty, fertility and sexual love. To the Romans he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
For those in love, keep the romance alive throughout the year! However, it is vital to keep in mind that a solely romantic or “eros” type of love is important, but definitely not sufficient to create lasting flourishing relationships, happiness, or lead to having a proper understanding of the role of money in our lives.
Author C.S. Lewis, et al., have written about the following four types of love:
- Eros: passionate love, with sensual desire and longing; romance
- Philia (Philadelphia): friendship love; loyalty to friends, family, and community
- Storge: natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring
- Agape: unconditional love; freely given; deeper sense of true love
I trust as your read the above list of loves, it is self-evident the vital role each type can play in our lives. More specifically, there is a relationship between love and happiness.
The happiness research by Dr. Seligman, et al., have shown that eros cannot (and I would add, is not meant to), contribute to lasting happiness or flourishing relationships. In addition, survey research has suggested that there is no correlation to money and happiness once an individual has an annual income above approximately $75,000. It is important to note that the word “philanthropy” does not mean giving or donating money to others. It is defined as the “love of humanity.”
Given this important understanding of love, happiness and money, here are suggestions to enhance your relationships, contribute to lasting happy lives, and properly understand the role of money in our lives:
- Ensure that your important relationships are based on Philia, Storge, and/or Agape.
- Let your money serve your higher purpose and goals, and not the other way around.
- If you have children, be sure to model and communicate to them the prior two suggestions.
- Study the happiness research; there are other attributes that contribute to lasting happiness (e.g., practicing gratefulness and giving to others).
- If you have an estate plan, ensure that the attributes of lasting happiness are embedded into the terms pertaining to your intended wealth transfer and heirs.
- Integrate the proper understanding of love and lasting happiness into your Letter of Wishes to the trustees and guardians in your heirs’ lives.
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