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Behavioral Finance

The Happiness Fund

America’s recent graduates are fresh out of college and wide-eyed with aspirations of world domination. Yet, in an uncertain economy, “success” is an ever-evolving concept.

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: July 20, 2011

The New York Times studied key words in a sample of commencement speeches. The words “world” and “love” showed up far more often than “money” and “success”.

So … money is no longer the measure of success, but can it fund happiness?

Here are some tips for new graduates on the cusp of their careers:


Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant”. A cumbersome debt ties you to a job you hate or a cheap apartment with crazy roommates. Spend within your means, rid yourself of personal loans and debts, and life is yours for the choosing (just ask Dave Ramsey). Money buys choice, which creates happiness.


Research shows a direct connection between financial and couple stability. Monetary losses or disagreements in managing finances can increase the likelihood of divorce. Plan for the future, budget realistically, and savor the happy honeymoon period for longer.

Future was founded on the premise that investing should be simple, yet smarter than a savings plan. Aim to invest 10-20% from every paycheck into your Betterment account. Achieve a better return on your savings without having to understand the complicated stock market. Then? Spend more time on life’s pleasures.


On a global scale, it’s likely you’re among the world’s wealthiest. Donate to an organization like Whole Planet Foundation that provides grants to microfinance institutions around the world. They in turn, offer micro-enterprise loan programs to the self-employed poor. Even a small donation can make a greater change than you think (and you’ll gain perspective on your problems).


Life is for living! Even if (like most people) you spend the rest of your money, you’ve already taken care of your freedom, future, and hopefully you feel fulfilled. Now it’s time to have fun!

How has money helped you fund happiness?

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