How to Buy Happiness

Leverage Your Finances (However Great or Small) for Maximum Life Satisfaction
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  • Lectures 29
  • Length 4.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 11/2015 English

Course Description

Think you can't buy happiness? Nonsense! If we can create misery by mismanaging money (and we all know that we can), then you can certainly enhance your life satisfaction by using money to create a better life for yourself. Learn how temptation and impulse often lead us astray, and how to use your own life history as a guide for the future. Implement concrete strategies to get out of debt, grow your disposable income, and create a cushion of life-enhancing savings. Then use these to make purchases that really count toward the enhancement of your mood and your life. Whatever your income level, you can create change that reduces your stress level, gives you more breathing room, and transports you toward your highest aspirations.

In order to buy happiness, though, you actually have to BUY HAPPINESS. You can't just spend a lot of money and expect to get happiness as a bonus, like a toy at the bottom of a cereal box. Join us on this journey and you will comb through your expenses, your bills, your debts, and your own past to develop a personalized plan for a better life. Along the way you'll work through a series of exercises in the accompanying 58-page workbook (included with the course).

One of your instructor's paths to happiness is providing courses that are worth far more in terms of life satisfaction than people pay. So please remember this site's guarantee: If within 30 days you think the course isn't worth what you've spent, you can get a complete refund - no questions asked. So get out your financial records, sharpen up your pencil, and let's get started!

What are the requirements?

  • This course will work best for those with a commitment to working on self-assessment exercises and applying change in their own lives.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Identify your personal financial map to happiness - where it works, and where it doesn't.
  • Use experience and aspiration, rather than temptation, as a guide to spending.
  • Inventory debts and plan the route to financial freedom.
  • Convert expenses from dollar costs to time costs, and use these to guide future purchasing.
  • Calculate your own disposable income, then give yourself a raise without actually earning any more money.
  • Use the SMART rules to achieve your life goals.
  • Develop a freedom-producing savings plan.
  • Direct your spending to the targets that actually enhance your life satisfaction.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is best for adults with a current income stream who wish to use this to maximize life satisfaction and the attainment of personal goals.
  • The course MAY be useful for late teens or early adults on the cusp of financial self-sufficiency.
  • The course is appropriate for people at all income and debt levels, but may be of less value for those facing imminent bankruptcy.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Happiness Swings Both Ways

We hear people say "Money can't buy happiness" so often that it has become a cliche. And it is absolutely true that having money is no guarantee of happiness. But ask those same people if but if it is possible to REDUCE your life satisfaction by the way you handle money, and they will say that you can. In this lecture we transform happiness from a mood state to a continuum of life satisfaction. You will rate your own current life satisfaction, then re-rate yourself regularly as you go through the course and make changes in the way you handle money.

62 pages

Your course includes this workbook designed to help you apply the principles in the lectures to your own life. Download it and consider printing it out so that you can work alongside the lectures. If you put the ideas from this course into practice, you should see a strong shift in your life satisfaction scores.


Human emotions are a behavioural guidance system. All of them are useful, but sometimes the calm and cheerful ones are under-represented. In this lecture we offer a definition of happiness and consider which of the many forms of happiness we are most interested in enhancing. We look at emotions in three times: Before, During, and After an event, and start our quest for the most lasting satisfaction. We also point out that this course isn't about how to make MORE money, it's about how to make the best use of the money you already have in order to enhance your life.


Here we look at the research examining the correlation between income and life satisfaction. Although people with more money are generally somewhat happier, the relationship isn't as strong as you might think. Extreme wealth, it turns out, is no guarantee of happiness. But within each income level, some people are happier than others - and much of this has to do with the WAY they use money. Here we give one of the most important concepts of the course: In order to buy happiness, you have to buy happiness. (Profound, right?) Although it doesn't sound like much, it encapsulates many of the key concepts to come.


What if you weren't interested in happiness? What if you wanted to be miserable instead? Is there anything you could do with money that might bring that about? It sounds like a foolish quest, but we ask you to embark upon it for just 5 minutes. In doing so, many people realize that they are ALREADY influencing their happiness with money - but in the wrong direction.

Section 2: Purchasing the Future: Why do we Buy?

Every time you spend money, you have a goal in mind. Behind that goal is another, and another, and another. Most of these chains lead eventually to happiness. In this lecture you learn how to discover your own Maps to Happiness and bring them into awareness. Once you have done so, you can examine them to see if they are accurate or not. We look at how inaccurate maps get adopted, and why we often arrive at misery when we thought we were aiming for happiness.


Most of your behaviour ultimately has the goal of enhancing your satisfaction, but often things don't work out. Why not? In this lecture we look at research into how humans predict their future happiness, and we point out a dusty, unused strategy that's been lurking in the background all your life. The best predictor of the future is the past. We lead you on a quest to identify past expenditures, your predictions at the time about how much happiness would ensue, and the amount that actually did appear. It turns out you have collected a vast amount of data that can help you - except you may never have analyzed it! Time to take a look.


Enough, already, with the past. Let's look forward. How can you decide where to spend money in the future? We look at the roles of temptation and experience and suggest a bias for the latter. We offer three exercises and harangue you to do at least one of them: The Thematic Past, Happiness Accounting, or the House Fire Challenge. These will help guide your upcoming expenditures.

Section 3: The Price of Slavery

Debt is one of the best ways of REDUCING your freedom and happiness. In this lecture you are asked to do the LEAST appealing of this course's exercises: An inventory of your own debts. We look at household debt levels internationally, and examine the costs of interest - essentially money you pay for which you get nothing in return. We consider how debt becomes more important than your own life, by limiting your options. And we examine the effect of debt on happiness.


If happiness is the experience of buoyancy, debt is ballast dragging you down. We introduce a difficult idea in this lecture: Money can bring freedom, but it does so without actually costing anything. You get the freedom, and you still have the money.


Okay, so it would be lovely not to have any debt, or to have less than you may have now. Great. But how do we do this? In this lecture you go back to your debt inventory and give each item one of four ratings, depending on how crucial it is to pay down. We consider a sequence to begin getting rid of the sandbags one by one, and discuss a problem with getting rid of one of the nastiest: credit card debt.

Section 4: A Dose of Reality: Income Versus DISPOSABLE Income

Meet Andre: a welder making a good mid-range income. We point out that his pay and his disposable income are two very different things, and that thinking about his overall income when buying things can lead him into trouble. We identify his baseline costs - essentially his "overhead" - and figure out how much disposable income he actually earns in an hour. And by the way, he hates me for it.


Now it's time for you to hate me too. We go through an exercise designed to identify where your own money goes - with special emphasis on your "overhead." For this you need to look at your own bills, so have them nearby! Then we convert the money left over to an hourly disposable income.


When you buy things you usually look at the price, and this is given as a currency figure. In this lecture we give you an assignment to carry out for one week: Convert all prices to time spent earning disposable income. You won't like this, but hey: Change is hard, and worth it.

Section 5: How to Give Yourself a Raise

Welcome Andre back as he learns how to increase his disposable income without actually getting a raise from his boss. Small changes, it turns out, can lead to substantial increases in disposable income - which is what we usually focus on when we feel rich or poor. Spoiler alert: The title of this talk is a bit misleading. We consider strategies that to increase his spending money by anywhere from 10% to 280%.


Aaaand, it's back to you. We go through the exercise Andre just did using your own income and expense calculations, looking for easy changes that will pay off in substantial increases in your disposable income. You will calculate how much you will save in currency figures, then convert these into a percentage raise that you can give yourself.

Section 6: How to Change Your Life

This course is all about personal change, and we have made some concrete steps toward an improvement in life satisfaction. But change can be difficult, so it's useful to have an effective goal setting strategy to use. In this lecture we discuss the idea of Ultimate Goals - the big projects and aims that you have for your life. You will identify 3 Ultimate Goals for your own life, and learn how to find more.


Goal setting is all about the distinction between Ultimate Goals and Immediate Goals. Here we examine the characteristics of a good Immediate Goal using the SMART rules - 5 tests of a good goal. Then we push on with other guidelines for effective goal setting, and apply the ideas for plans of your own, including goals you have identified in this course.

Section 7: Buying Happiness Without Buying Anything

Nope, you don't get a description for this lecture. Partly because I want it to be a surprise, and partly because you'll hate the answer if you read it here. You may still hate it when I talk about it in the lecture itself.


Maybe you are taking this course in part because you feel ashamed - you have never been able to write up and then live on a budget. No problem. Budgets simply do not work for most people. And if you want to save money for bigger life goals, budgeting is not the way to do it. Instead, use another strategy: Paying yourself first. Here's how.


It's often said that the one thing even the richest person cannot buy is more time. But this is wrong. You CAN, and should! In this lecture we consider the benefits of buying your own freedom.

Section 8: Buying Happiness With Real Money

When you hate a chore, it's tempting to skimp when you buy the tools for it. In this lecture we consider the kinds of things you least like to do, and the value of sometimes spending a little more to make them less unpleasant. Less misery, after all, is more happiness.


Here's the lecture you might expect our entire course to be all about. We consider the nature of luxury: How do we define it? Is it an object, an experience, or a feeling? We give examples of real luxuries that people have identified in the past, and point out some of the prime characteristics of luxury: Expense, rarity, and intermittency. We also consider the enemy of luxury - habituation - and provide a strategy for avoiding it.

Section 9: Non Material Purchases: How to Spend Money with No Object

We've covered a lot of ground in this course, and a big part of it has been escaping from debt and creating freedom by having a cushion of cash. But where do you start? In this lecture we lay out the five-step path to financial freedom, to help you get your head above water - and then the rest of your body too!


Divide all of your expenditures into two categories: Experiences and Objects. Which has the greater effect on your long-term happiness? Learn the rationale for prioritizing experience, and how to buy objects that enhance experience and the quality of your life.


Charity can seem like a way of buying other people's happiness, not our own. But few things can bring a sense of personal satisfaction more than having a significant role in the world - and nothing makes you feel wealthier than giving some of your money away. We talk about the role of charity in your life, how to align this with your own values, how many charities to give to, and how to screen for the best options.


What if you could make purchases that benefit your life without weighing you down? Purchases that would sink beneath your skin and become a part of you (and no, we're not talking about tattoos)? One of the best ways of spending money is to create a more skilled, confident, and capable version of yourself.

Section 10: Check, Please!

If you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there. Time to look back over the work you have done in this course, then we have you look forward to a date five years in the future. Where do you want to be? We discuss the complicated dance between planning and chance, and the value of having a destination in mind. This lecture includes an exercise to help you envision the next years of your own path.


It's hard to make change, and it's hard to create a vision for the future. But you already live in the future you wondered about when you were a child. We consider the 100-door waiting room, and how many of those doors are unlocked. We dynamite the idea that you must know exactly where you are headed before you get started. Life is a sailing trip. It's time to take the wheel, and be captain of your own boat.

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Instructor Biography

Randy Paterson, Psychologist and author (Your Depression Map & others)

Randy Paterson is a psychologist and author in Vancouver Canada. His most recent book is the popular How to be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use. He is the Director of Changeways Clinic and writes a blog called PsychologySalon. His work emphasizes the treatment of problems related to stress, anxiety, depression, and significant life change. His previous books include The Assertiveness Workbook, Private Practice Made Simple, and Your Depression Map, as well as a variety of resources and protocols for mental health practitioners. He conducts workshops on mental health issues for the public and for mental health professionals within Canada and internationally.

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