Featured Blog: This Year, Make an Investment in Your Friendships

Written by Carl Richards

For the last 15 years, Carl Richards has been writing and drawing about the relationship between emotion and money to help make investing easier for the average investor. His first book, “Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things With Money,” was published by Penguin/Portfolio in January 2012. Carl is the director of investor education at BAM Advisor Services. His sketches can be found at behaviorgap.com, and he also contributes to the New York Times Bucks Blog and Morningstar Advisor. You can now buy – “The Behavior Gap” by Carl Richards on AMAZON.

September 6, 2018

Over a year ago my I moved to New Zealand with my family. It has been amazing in so many ways, but I do have to admit to being lonely sometimes.

I miss my friends. I miss the friends who have celebrated with me during moments of great joy and have mourned with me when times were tough.

There is a sense of connection that comes from sharing one another’s burdens that is impossible to replicate with a “like” or a tweet. Deep friendship requires an investment of time and energy, and that seems harder now that there are so many shallow, counterfeit versions of friendship that give us the false sense of being connected but lack any depth.

To address this feeling, I’ve decided to invest in friendship and human connection this year. And it feels contrived. Who needs a plan for friendship?!

But the reality is that these investments won’t happen without me being purposeful about it. So I’ve started by scheduling time to connect with old friends and then more time to develop friendships with people who I want to know better. In some cases, it’s a monthly video chat, while in others it’s just a little note to remind myself to call someone out of the blue.

Brad Feld, a partner at the venture capital firm Foundry Group, has been scheduling an annual trip with his father for years. They pick a place, schedule a weekend and go. There’s not a ton on the agenda. They take walks, take naps and eat chocolate ice cream twice a day, since that is his father’s favorite food. Now, he takes time away from investing in companies to take an annual trip with his three oldest male friends too.

Part of the reason I find these kinds of investments in real connection so enticing is that I can measure the returns they’ve paid for me in the past. They quite literally make my life richer, and I’ve noticed a deeper sense of well-being when I have invested more than usual. One additional unexpected payoff: I seem to do higher quality work when I connect more with interesting people. I think they inspire me to do better and be better.
Have you been purposeful about investing in real friendships? Proactive about establishing deeper human connections? I’d like to hear about that. Send me an email: [email protected].

The above blog is by Carl Richards originally published in The New York Times’ Blog.

About the Author: Carl Richards, a certified financial planner, is the author of “The Behavior Gap” and “The One-Page Financial Plan.” His sketches and essays appear weekly in the New York Times.

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