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A financial crisis causes us to reevaluate every aspect of our lives. Many people have discovered that they have been so busy accumulating “stuff” to keep up with the Jones’ (not Jeannette and Gregg), that when this is no longer possible, the emptiness in their lives becomes apparent.

For the past 19 years I have gotten a first-hand look at how people deal with the financial matters. The most important lesson I have learned is that money and happiness do not go hand- in-hand. Many times it’s the people who spend the most that never seem to achieve the degree of satisfaction they seek, and those who focus on what they have, and not what they lack, are truly rich.

No one likes to lose money or experience an economic downturn, but if this causes us to look inward for our wealth, many of us will find we are already rich. For those who do not, look for other ways in which you can prosper such as reconnecting with family or friends and volunteering to help others less fortunate than yourself. The rewards will last through all cycles of the economy.

By Chris Carleton, CFP®