Recently, I had the privilege of listening to one of our younger members talk about his “financial philosophy”. I’ll call him “Jack”.

Jack is in his early 20s, works for a great company in a technical field and makes what I would say is a healthy income. Jack described his philosophy, in part, by how he invests in himself and in his happiness. Perhaps it is best summed up by how he described taking a loan out to buy a motorcycle, a move his father frowned upon, not out of fear for his son’s safety, but because his dad had a policy of “neither a borrower, nor a lender be.” Jack said, “A motorcycle is an investment in my mental and social well-being. It’s worth it to me to invest in the motorcycle now, even if I pay more in the end because I got a loan, because of the value I get from riding the bike with my friends and clearing my head when I need a break.” (emphasis mine)

While getting a loan to buy something you want may seem like the exact opposite of making an investment, I would suggest, it’s what you value and what your dreams and goals are that determine if you are making a smart investment, not whether you make or lose money as the only measure of success.

When I looked up the definition of “to invest” on Google, I got 706,000,000 matching results. Hundreds of pages of links all related to the stock market, investment and retirement planning. Making an investment seems to have become synonymous with stocks, bonds and complicated financial products that require, at the very least that you read the fine print, and at the most an advanced degree from Harvard. But, if you ask Jack, investing is about more than just money.

Of the many definitions of “to invest”, I liked this one best: “to use, give or devote (time, talent etc) as for a purpose or to achieve something.”  In the coming weeks, we’ll explore different ways that regular people, like you and me, can invest in our mental, social and financial well-being. We’ll talk about money, but we’ll also talk about making dreams a reality through seeing the world a bit differently.

I’d like to kick off this topic with a question for you: What do you do to invest in your happiness?