How 17 Different Countries Define Meaningful Lives, Ep #207

How 17 Different Countries Define Meaningful Lives

What brought meaning to your life today? I got to wake up healthy kids. I got to drink coffee with my wife. I got a text from my 24-year-old living hundreds of miles away. I help my clients navigate retirement. All of these things bring meaning to my life.

Pew Research surveyed 17 different countries to find out what was meaningful to each of them. In this episode of Best in Wealth, I cover some of the results of this study and share why a meaningful life is an important piece of retirement planning. Check it out!

In this episode of Best in Wealth, I share how 17 countries define “meaningful lives” and why it matters for your retirement. Don’t miss it! #wealth #retirement #investing #PersonalFinance #FinancialPlanning #RetirementPlanning #WealthManagement Click To Tweet

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:07] What brings meaning to your everyday life?
  • [3:32] What makes your life meaningful
    [5:07] The four most important sources of meaning
  • [12:18] The other sources of meaning
  • [13:18] Faith, religion, and spirituality
  • [14:24] Under 30 vs. 65 plus
  • [16:58] Why this exercise is so important

What makes life meaningful?

At Fortress Planning Group, we focus on the cornerstones in our lives. If you can figure out those cornerstones, you can build a plan around each of them to build abundance. But most clients do not know how to answer “What brings meaning to your life?”

What do you want to accomplish before you die? When do you want to retire? How do you want your retirement to look? How are you going to address healthcare? What about being snowbirds for part of the year?

Many people have not thought through how they want to live in retirement. And if I ask them what makes life meaningful, I might get a blank stare. That’s why you need to think about what brings your life meaning now and if that will change in retirement.

Family is the #1 source of meaning and fulfillment

The countries surveyed were the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, Belgium, France, South Korea, Sweden, and Japan.

By far, the #1 thing that brought meaning to people’s lives was their family. Family was the #1 choice in 14 of the 17 countries. People highlighted their relationships with parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren and quality time with them. They are proud of the accomplishments of their relatives. Family makes their lives fulfilling.

For most people, family is the #1 source of fulfillment in their lives. Why does this matter when you’re about to retire? Learn more in this episode of Best in Wealth! #wealth #retirement #investing #PersonalFinance #FinancialPlanning… Click To Tweet

People find fulfillment in their occupations

The second source of fulfillment was one’s occupation/career. Think about that for a second. Does your occupation bring meaning to your life? Some say, “yes.” Others do not find meaning in their occupation at all. Before I started fortress and I was in sales, I did not find it meaningful.

Maybe occupation is at the top for you, but maybe it is not. Maybe you are just working for a paycheck so you can create abundance in other cornerstones of your life. But if you want your career to be meaningful, figure out how to make that transition.

Source of meaning #3: Material well-being

What is material well-being? It includes satisfaction with a range of economic concerns, such as the government’s handling of the economy, taxes, the cost of necessities, household income, pay, financial security, etc. That was the #1 source of meaning in South Korea. It was #2 for numerous other countries. It was #3 for the United States.

What else was important in these 17 countries?

  • Family and friends
  • Physical and mental health
  • Society and institutions
  • Freedom and independence
  • Hobbies and recreation
  • Education and learning
  • Nature and the outdoors
  • Romantic partner
  • Travel and new experience
  • Retirement
  • Spirituality
  • Faith and religion
  • Pets

Faith, religion, and spirituality

Outside of the United States, religion is never one of the top 10 sources of meaning cited. In the United States, religion is #5. I thought that was surprising. And only 15% of people in the United States mentioned religion and/or God as a source of meaning.

What else was fascinating about this study? How can it be applied to our lives? Why is finding meaningful things in your life so important? Listen to the whole episode to learn more!

Only 15% of people in the United States mentioned religion and/or God as a source of meaning in their lives. What is the #1 source of meaning? How does it apply to RetirementPlanning? Find out in this episode of Best in Wealth! #wealth… Click To Tweet

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Podcast Disclaimer:

The Best In Wealth Podcast is hosted by Scott Wellens. Scott Wellens is the principal at Fortress Planning Group. Fortress Planning Group is a registered investment advisory firm regulated by the Securities Act of Wisconsin in accordance and compliance with securities laws and regulations. Fortress Planning Group does not render or offer to render personalized investment or tax advice through the Best In Wealth Podcast. The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, tax, investment or legal advice.

About the author, Scott Wellens

Scott Wellens, CFP® is an investment advisor and founder of Fortress Planning Group. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Scott quickly ascended to become a Vice President of North American Sales at a major regional provider of telecommunications infrastructure. While financially successful in this role, Scott searched for ways to pursue his passion related to financial literacy and providing financial freedom for both his own family and others. During his search, Scott became curious about the significant gap he found in the financial services sector: he was unable to find a comprehensive financial planner that maintained a family stewardship lens without being attached to financial products. Scott decided to fill that gap by creating his own planning firm that maintains a strong passion for comprehensive, unbiased wealth planning that is genuinely client-centered.

Scott resides in Menomonee Falls, WI with his family. He is the father of three active and independent daughters who keep him on his toes. Scott is an active community member, serving on the Hamilton Education Foundation Board, serves as a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace facilitator and leads the All Pro Dad’s group at their local elementary school. Scott enjoys spending his free time visiting state parks with his family, reading, and watching the Milwaukee Bucks and the Green Bay Packers win ball games.

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