What is the key ingredient for a fulfilling life? Harvard researchers spent 75 years studying the issue and found that – drum roll please – love matters. In fact, it’s all that matters, as any Hollywood romantic comedy will tell you. We need strong relationships in our lives to feel content and satisfied.
Still, there’s that other thing that feels like it could make us happy too – money. Most of us realize deep down that money can’t buy happiness, but it’s hard to shake the desire for a wee bit more. Take the feeling and strong pull of love to learn some valuable lessons about money matters and other life issues. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Learn how to share.
A successful and loving relationship requires sharing everything from meals to the bathroom sink. And even money. It’s hard to give up autonomy, but the result can be pure harmony, as long as you are both on the same page. In fact, couples sharing a bank account as opposed to keeping separate, individual accounts are happier than those who don’t.
2. Don’t measure returns.
Truly caring about another person means we give freely without expecting anything in return. In a healthy relationship, giving freely usually results in the partner also giving freely. The same concept holds true in business relationships. Give to your colleagues and business associates without expecting reciprocity (for example, recommendations, introductions, and assistance). This inevitably comes back around to you; your colleagues will often follow through and help you.
3. Persevere through the ups and downs.
All relationships have challenges. Occasional friction comes with the territory. The secret to success is to ride out the hard times, trusting that good ones will be around the corner. This same truth applies to your retirement savings plan. Don’t fret when one of your statements shows a decrease because of problems on the stock market. When you have years ahead of you before you retire, you are best off using a steady, levelheaded approach and ride through the changes you can’t control. By not making rash changes to your 401(k) plan, you are more likely to realize your savings goals in the long run.
4. Look past the surface.
A pretty face may grab your attention, but it takes time and many conversations to know whether someone is right for you. This is true in romantic relationships and the relationships that you make with employers. Do your due diligence before signing up for the paycheck by asking thoughtful questions during the interview process, seeing what former employees have said about the company online, and vet your new boss.
5, Give each other some space.
Personal space issues are a common source of conflict in relationships at one time or another. We all need our alone time every once in a while, and we want to keep some things for ourselves. Longtime spouses will respect their significant others’ need in this regard. But it’s often a hard concept in the work environment where everyone is together, day in and day out, using the same equipment and all vying for the boss’s attention. Businesses that give their employees a level of freedom are rewarded with empowered, confident teams. It’s worth exploring and offering ideas for how your workplace can be improved so that everyone works well together.
6, Learn to split the workload.
Dealing with the household chore list ranks among the top three causes of marital strife. It can’t all be done well by just one person, and resentment easily creeps up when someone isn’t doing their fair share. Similarly, you can’t expect any one service provider to meet all your financial needs. It’s a smarter tactic to diversify your investments – including the firms you use to handle your finances – and look to a variety of sources for savings and deals.