Does Money Make You Happy?

Jeff Karp |

Does Money Make You Happy?

Jeffrey R. Karp, CLU, ChFC, CASL®

Money has never made a person happy, nor will it as there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness.  The more of it one has the more one wants.”

-Ben Franklin


I sometimes wonder how we ever survived without a 24/7 news cycle and non-stop analysis of the financial markets.  There is little time to absorb or understand one news event before another headline grabber appears.  I believe that sometimes it is better to know just a little bit less and maybe just a little less often.

One of the Karp family methods to combat life’s hectic nature is our Sunday morning “coffee with newspaper” (and other accumulated reading to catch up on) tradition.  We are able to take one step back from the 24/7 news hype of the week and discuss if or how any of the information might affect our plans going forward.

The turmoil in financial markets during 2016 could easily have caused emotional and reactionary changes to a person’s investment strategy, but would that have been the best decision?  From my reading this past weekend, I feel compelled to share a few themes that we, at Karp Financial Strategies, believe can make a difference in building long term wealth.

Investing is more about what you keep than what you make – It seems obvious, but the emotion of greed can turn hard earned cash into big losses.  Creating higher risk, in the name of potential returns, can have negative effects on overall wealth.  Sometimes, not losing money is a better investment strategy than trying to make money.  As an example:  start with $1000 and lose 10%, you are left with $900; then make 10% back.  Are you back to even?  Nope, you are only at $990.  Consider that there may be market cycles where it pays to be cautious.

In a perfect world every investor gets “all of the upside of investing in the stock market, with none of the downside” – Who lives in a perfect world?  At some point, every investor should decide if they are a “volatility” investor or a “stability & consistency” investor.  Each strategy has its pros and cons, but objective, self-assessment can be hard.  Financial advisors who have the skills to customize portfolio design with their clients’ investment suitability tend to provide a higher value.

Cash is an asset class, just like stocks and bonds – Many institutional money managers will only deploy cash when there are sound reasons to put their money to work.  Whether based on broad economic trends, sector momentum or particular company analytics, there is a systematic approach that accompanies the decision to invest.  Many investors view excess cash as if it is burning a hole in their pocket.  There are times when even long-term investors should exhibit patience when moving cash into investments.   Buy low and sell high are the basic tenets of investing, not buy now no matter what.

As you travel down the path to financial independence, remember to balance ideas about financial wealth with ideas about what is “true” wealth.  Information is the commodity of the 21st century, but it is the use of this mass of information that can make the difference.

What is the ultimate goal for your investment strategy?  Assuming that the goal is to grow your wealth, how do you know when enough is enough?  Do you have a process to combat the emotional roller coaster that the 24/7 news cycle can cause?


Please contact Jeff Karp at Karp Financial Strategies to assist in helping you answer the money question and assist with your life purpose at 704-658-1929 or visit


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.  Karp Financial Strategies and LPL Financial are not affiliated.  Securities and Advisory Services provided through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA, SIPC.