Financial planners are notorious for preaching the value of solely traditional investments—but investing should also include non-traditional options like education, health and family time. “These are areas you need to invest in as well, perhaps at the expense of financial independence,” says Toronto fee-only planner Jason Heath. “After all, what’s the sense of busting your tail to retire at 50 if you’re unhealthy and unhappy?” he asks. “In particular for those with young children, remember: they’re only young for so long.”
Investing in a family vacation, taking time off, or cutting out of work early—these are all good reasons to give up financial investments in exchange for experiences that create great memories with family and friends. In fact, psychologists have demonstrated that even stressful experiences (ever taken an international flight with a four-year-old?) ultimately deliver more long-term happiness than material objects, when we reflect on them. At some point in our investing lives, all of us will inevitably come to lament a poor financial decision—but buyer’s remorse rarely happens when you spend money on a one-of-a-kind experience.
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