Home Education Kimberly Palmer: 5 Ways to Feel Richer (Even If You’re Not Richer)

Kimberly Palmer: 5 Ways to Feel Richer (Even If You’re Not Richer)


Financial experts share their tips on how to feel richer today, given the current level of financial uncertainty and stress. Here are their top suggestions.

In a way, feeling “rich” isn’t just about how many zeros you have in your bank account, but more about knowing how to use them to get what you want out of life.

For author and certified financial planner Tom Corley, the sense of wealth comes from having an Irish pub-style building in his New Jersey backyard that allows him to invite friends over for drinks outdoors. For Liz Jeandreau, founder of the website Chief Mom Officer, that feeling comes from free, fun activities like visiting local state parks in her home state of Connecticut. And financial advisor Andy Wren of Raleigh, North Carolina, gets that feeling when he gets in his van and goes on a road trip.

“Wealth comes from small, tangible financial goals that you work toward,” says Megan McCoy, assistant professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University. Those goals could be paying off student loan debt, buying a house, or something unique like a building in Corley’s backyard.

We asked financial experts to share their tips on how to feel richer today, given the current level of financial uncertainty and stress. Here are their top suggestions:


Jeandreau knows that cars are not important to her, but time with her family is important. So, instead of spending money on a new car, she invests in family activities. She stretches her budget for them, too, by taking advantage of free museum passes, local libraries and free state parks.

“It’s all about finding fun activities that don’t cost a lot of money but bring a lot of joy and happiness,” she says. Indulging in such adventures makes her feel richer, even if they are not expensive.

Corley, author of Wealthy Habits, calls this strategy “value-based spending.” He encourages people to think about the things that are really important to them, such as traveling or spending time with friends and family, and to focus on spending money on those areas rather than on material goods that may not bring as much. of joy


This joy-focused approach can also help deal with feelings of financial envy. “If you don’t have value-based spending, you can fall victim to comparing yourself to others and ruining your lifestyle,” warns Corley, as expenses rise along with income.

McCoy says that if we’re constantly comparing ourselves to our wealthier neighbors or Instagram influencers, it’s easy to become dissatisfied. “We need healthy comparisons. Is there anyone else you can compare yourself to, like your past self or your aunt who worked so hard and got her dream pension?”

Gendreau suggests hiding posts on social networks from people who cause feelings of jealousy or putting your opinion in front of them. “If I see something that looks like a lot of fun in a fancy place that’s out of my budget, I might think, ‘Can I do something similar for less?’ Do I have to go to a fancy beach place or can I go somewhere closer?’ I don’t need to go to the Caribbean to have fun on the beach.’


“You’re going to make mistakes,” says Heath Karelak, a financial advisor and coach in Prince George’s County, Maryland. To move past them, he says, it’s important to forgive yourself and build a financial cushion. When he started working, he gave himself what he called the “1-2-3-4-5” challenge: he saved $123.45 from each paycheck.

“Watching your money accumulate is a major way to double down on resilience,” he says. Then, when you are faced with a sudden unexpected expense, you have a financial cushion to protect yourself that gives you a sense of “wealth” or comfort.

“People have a lot more peace of mind when they have emergency savings so they know they can pay any bills they need each month,” Wren says. She says that even spending for one or two months can provide that elusive feeling of financial well-being.


“If you’re not tracking where your money is going, you’re going to feel financially insecure because you’re constantly wondering, ‘Where is my money going?'” says Jeandreau. She suggests using a budget to track your spending, especially with the current rate of inflation.

Debt can keep people from realizing their dreams, Karelak says, because instead of investing money into starting a new business or taking a vacation, you should be putting that money toward paying down debt. “If it’s not a dream killer, it’s a dream delayer,” he says. Using an online calculator to create a debt repayment plan can help.


When McCoy finally paid off her six-figure student loan debt, she celebrated her first paycheck without cash withdrawals. But she says she would feel even better about celebrating her progress along the way.

“I had only one moment of happiness, which quickly disappeared. If I could do it over again, I would celebrate every $10,000 I paid out – then I could celebrate 10 times over.”

LINK on the topic:

NerdWallet: 50/30/20 Budget Calculator


This column was provided to The Associated Press by personal finance website NerdWallet. The content is for educational and informational purposes and does not constitute investment advice.

Kimberly Palmer is a NerdWallet personal finance expert and author of Smart Mom, Rich Mom. Email: kpalmer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @KimberlyPalmer.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.

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