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Over the weekend my husband and I traveled to northern Indiana to attend the dedication of a new performing arts center at Trine University.  We were impressed by the university’s strong academic programs, particularly its engineering and business schools, but were most impressed by the loyalty and support of its alumni.

The arts center was made possible by the financial contribution and support of one of our clients.  He’s a wonderful example of what you can accomplish in this country.  After attending the university on a financial scholarship, he graduated with an accounting degree and worked for several large corporations before buying a small business and growing it into a successful company.  He came from modest means, and worked hard to get where he is today.  Now he uses his time and financial resources to help people and organizations that help others.

During the dedication ceremony and the festivities that followed, it was clear he enjoys helping the school that gave him his start in life.  You might even say it gives him a sense of purpose.

Not all of us can fund a concert hall, but we can use our time and money purposefully.

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can make you happier when it’s doing something that supports your personal needs, wants and wishes.   Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to decide exactly what those needs, wants and wishes are.  We spend time doing things we’ve always done out of habit, and spend money on things that grab our attention or feel like a good idea in the moment.

As a result, we look back on the year and ask ourselves, ‘Where did all the time go?’  ‘How did we spend so much money – we don’t live an extravagant life!’  Because much of our time and money isn’t spent on things that resonate with our needs, wants and wishes, it isn’t purposeful and doesn’t stay with us.

We help our clients decide what’s important to them, and determine what gives them meaning and purpose, by taking them through a Discovery Meeting.  In this meeting, we talk about values and beliefs and the people and things that are important to them.   Sometimes it’s the university that helped give them their start.  For others its making sure a legacy created by a grandfather is preserved so the family story lives on; or finally building the dream house they’ve always wanted.   There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to our own needs, wants and wishes.

Taking the time to discover what’s important to us – what gives us purpose – allows us to live a much more rewarding life.  We make better choices with our time and money, and can look back over the year gone by knowing our time and money was spent on the things that hold meaning for us.