Be Different: Help Clients Invest In Their Happiness (Really. It’s science.)


Money can buy happiness.

Really. It’s science.

Michael Norton, social science researcher and professor at Harvard Business school, shared fascinating research about the relationship between money and happiness at a TEDx conference in Cambridge.

Here’s what he found…

… but since it’s 11 minutes long, and some of us are “too busy” for that, we can cut to the chase – What’d he find?

Ultimately, Norton’s extensive sets of experiments came to this conclusion – People who spend money on OTHERS are notably happier than people who spend money on themselves. (But really, it’s a lot more involved and inspiring than that. If you can spare 11 minutes, I recommend watching the video above.)

What does this mean for your work with clients?

This is an awesome opportunity to deliver exceptional service. Share this video (via email, tweets, or in person) and offer to help clients invest in their happiness. Very rarely do advisors take time to think about smaller, more creative suggestions for how to help clients spend their money. Taking a moment to share research like this will help you delight clients and ‘wow’ your prospects.

For example, encourage folks to:

– Imagine their son/daughter as an 18-year-old senior in high school every time they put money into his/her college savings fund. Remind them they’re not just “Saving for their kids’ college”, because that can feel boring. Like a chore. Instead, reframe their thinking to acknowledge they’re using their money to help someone’s future.

– Use some of their disposable income to donate to charities they’re passionate about. Even if it’s only $20 per month, offer to help them to plan out their donations for the next 12 months and check in with them each quarter about the effect it has on their happiness.

– Invest in triple-bottom-line startup companies. For clients who use their wealth to invest in early-stage companies, share this video and ask if they’ve ever considered becoming involved with teams of startup do-gooders. Putting their money toward projects that are not only profitable, but charitable, could result in both financial gains and happiness gains.

– Be playful with giving away small amounts of their money on a regular basis. Most of the work you do as a financial advisor is long-term, responsible, planned out. If they’re interested in your proposal, you can mix it up. Work with your clients to map out 12 months of small gifts they’d enjoy giving to others. Everything counts – from a $15 scarf for their mother (as shared in the video), to a $600 iPad for their child’s 3rd grade classroom, to a $50 donation to the community food bank over Thanksgiving.

Be different. Share this video and offer to help clients invest in their happiness.

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Carolyn is Blueleaf’s in-house marketing guru. She writes on The Blueleaf Blog to make advisors’ lives easier, offering practice management and client engagement tips where and when they’re useful. Outside of the Blueleaf offices, she can be found running a 10k or cooking her famous chili. Chat LIVE with Carolyn on Twitter @BlueleafAdvisor!
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