Money can be an influential tool at times.

I learned the power and the utility of money in college, about as far away from the university and campus as you can imagine. We were on a road trip in the Rocky Mountains and our car had broken down. Adding to the pressure, we were expected to meet friends that evening for a weekend away.

What I learned was that having money gave us options. The option to get the car fixed, the option to obtain transportation to our expected location while the car was being worked on. Just having money gave us options — more options than if we did not have the money to begin with.

Money; however, did not determine our contentment with being stranded.  Money did not affect how we perceived our predicament.

Money enables us to have options in life, but no amount of money will tell us how we enjoy ourselves.

It is this realization that 20-some years later, I reflect on the conversations I have had with clients and realize that as advisors, our focus is on taking the dollars out of money and putting wealth to work for what is significant in the client’s eyes.

Let me tell you, the money that you need to enjoy your retirement is significantly less than what you may expect.

More Money Does Not Purchase Happiness

Money can help you do some powerful things in your lifetime, but no amount in any account will create peace of mind.

Assurance that everything is all right comes from discovering what it is that you truly enjoy. When we reflect on the meaning we want our life to hold – what our accomplishments are, who we want to become, the mark we wish to share with others – we tend to find greater significance in the “$” we hold in an account.

And yet the $ amount tends to become the barometer of one’s success or significance.

True wealth lies not in the value of an investment account. This value can be used as a tool, and it can be put to great use in helping your accomplishment, but it is merely just a tool.

Money can only take us so far. If it is peace of mind you seek, then dig deep and think about what truly makes you smile, what enables you to laugh, and what inspires you.

Time Is Invaluable

Money has never had the power to address the core problem. It may have helped me fix a car and get on my way years ago, but it did not determine how successful that weekend was or how much fun I had with friends.

According to, 25% of North American adults are battling depression. With that percentage in mind, acquiring a sense of fulfillment can seem burdensome. No matter how much or how little you have, money unfortunately cannot solve these issues.

As Mitch Anthony, author of The New Retire-Mentality states, “figure out what other things bring you pleasure and spend time on them in lieu of working.”

Instead of focusing on monetary spending, concern yourself with how to spend your time; using the freedom that wealth affords you. This could mean spending time with relatives, doing volunteer work or merely pursuing that challenge of running a triathlon or crafting something from wood. Learn to enjoy the most mundane of tasks.

When we think about what makes us smile, laugh and enjoy each day, it is seldom the dollar value in a bank account.