6 Strategies for a Truly Wealthy Life

By on May 12, 2015

By Seth Streeter
CEO and co-founder of Mission Wealth

Do you want to be happy or wealthy? Most people equate the two.

I know many people who, on paper, should be happy—really happy. They have the dream house, the sports car; they relax at the best country clubs and vacation at exotic locales. Yet many are plagued with a nagging sense of wondering: Is this as good as it gets?

Don’t get me wrong: money can be a powerful tool in creating the life you want. And yet, even having millions sitting in your portfolio won’t bring you true happiness.

A Truly Wealthy Life is About Quality of Life

As a “quality of life” consultant—for financial well-being—I’ve worked with many individuals whom have achieved what they set out to accomplish: success with work, financial security and a privileged lifestyle. Isn’t this the American dream?

Nevertheless, many do not feel the satisfaction and passion they expected from these achievements.

For example: maintaining your success with work can require all of your time and energy, including what was once considered personal time, such as being on vacation. Clients have told us they can’t wait to retire and plan to celebrate by throwing their work phone in the ocean. Others, once retired, tell us they miss being the Big Cheese at the center of “important” activity.

And, of course, what about happiness socially and at home? It is never guaranteed. Many consumed by their work report difficulty with their relationships, stating they “go through the motions with limited spark,” and that they yearn for connection, for feeling appreciated. Also, no amount of love we feel for our children can prevent the worry and angst that comes with parenthood.

Pursuing the American Dream May Not Equal Pursuit of Happiness

Indeed, the pursuit of the “American dream” does not necessarily equate the pursuit of happiness. Many of us at some point realize that acquiring possessions and climbing the totem pole hasn’t fulfilled us the way we thought it would. It is at such points that the dissatisfied among us seek guidance and inspiration.

The good news is that anyone—anyone—can have greater joy in life.

How? I collaborated with a different type of “quality-of-life” consultant—Elizabeth Lombardo, who coaches for emotional well-being and is the author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life you Love —to identify distinct ways people can gradually add more happiness to their lives. These are the top six tips we offer our clients:

  1. Focus on your values and strengths. We all have characteristics and skills that just feel good to use, so find new ways to use them. Operating in our areas of strength allows our natural talent to shine through—requiring minimal effort while providing maximum joy. Take for example this success story: The CEO of a multimillion-dollar company came to realize that creativity was important to him. He chose to combine this interest with his love for cars—a topic completely unrelated to his work—and started a blog focusing on antique automobiles. The result? He loved writing about his passion every day, and always looked forward to the next day. This gave him renewed energy at home and at the office—and even improved his writing skills in the bargain.
  2. Develop your sense of purpose. Identify areas that light your enthusiasm. How? Once you’ve named your strengths, consider: What work projects engage you so much time just whizzes by? Which people inspire you, and what is it about them you find so inspiring? Find your calling—and prioritize it over any commitments that deplete rather than refuel your energy.
  3. Cultivate personal relationships. Don’t wait until the kids go to college or when things at work calm down; cultivate your personal relationships now. Many studies examining happiness have found that the quality of an individual’s relationships—friends and family—is a key predictor to happiness—much more than what financial indicators predict.
  4. Address your stress and health overall. Beware of thinking you can continue to withstand high stress or poor health; both can crush well-being—as well as shorten your lifespan. It is vital to maintain optimal health throughout your life, and optimal health must involve reducing stress. This can be approached from several angles, ranging from minor stress management techniques to more major changes in lifestyle and responsibilities. And issues from your past can hinder your future, as our clients know all too well. True, you can’t change the past. But you can alter how previous events continue to affect you – whether you want to admit it or not. Taking care of your physical health will also bring you greater happiness. Your diet, alcohol and tobacco intake, exercise habits, and commitment to proper sleep all greatly affect your sense of well-being—for good or for ill.
  5. Give back in meaningful ways. In his 2011 book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Martin Seligman cites that having meaning in one’s life is essential to well-being. As such, contributing to a cause bigger than yourself can significantly boost happiness. This could be as brief as holding the door open for another or as in-depth as rolling up your sleeves to help out a community. And who knows—your personal relationships might get a boost as well.
  6. Be better than perfect. This doesn’t mean overhaul your entire life; I’m not suggesting you quit your job and join the Peace Corps. Rather, I am suggesting you take 30 seconds to text your loved one, one minute to focus on what you are grateful for, five minutes to meditate or 10 minutes to go for a walk outside. Have one glass of wine, rather than the entire bottle. Go to bed even 30 minutes earlier. Small steps like these can boost happiness immensely—and create a ripple effect for changes down the road.

So, if you’ve ever wondered if there isn’t something more out there for you—more satisfaction, more passion—I’m here to tell you there is: only it’s not out there; it’s in you. The good news is that we can build happier lives for ourselves gradually, working at one small change at a time. Just taking a step back to consider if our life path is a path of happiness can be the most powerful step for positive change, affording us the opportunity to increase the wealth in our souls as well as in our bank accounts. And the best news is: the more happiness you spend, the more you have.

Seth Streeter YPOSeth Streeter, MS, CFP®, CEA®, CDFATM, is CEO and co-founder of Mission Wealth. He is global chair of YPO’s Financial Services Network.


About Seth Streeter

Seth Streeter is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mission Wealth, a leading wealth management company that specializes in comprehensive financial planning and investment advisory services for high-net-worth clients across the country. Mr. Streeter leads an experienced team of advisors who help empower clients to achieve their financial dreams via the company’s noted high-touch service approach. Mr. Streeter has over 23 years of experience in the financial industry. He obtained a Masters of Science in Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning as well as his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), Certified Estate Advisor (CEA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™) designations. Mr. Streeter graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Sociology. He is global chair of YPO’s Financial Services Network.