Time to encourage gratitude one last time

December 17, 2014

Thank you!

I can’t think of a better way to start this second last column of the year.  Thank you for letting me into your home through the newspaper, and now the Winnipeg Free Press website, for over 21 years.

It has been a great run, and given me the opportunity to learn so much, and to hear from so many great readers.

Today’s article on gratitude is especially poignant for me, as may be my last.  I am retiring from the weekly challenge of producing a fresh piece of wisdom every seven days, to devote more time to family and clients, and to just smelling the many roses with which I have been blessed.

In 2015, expect Dollars and Sense to come your way once a month, instead.

Gratitude has long been the theme of my year end articles, as you know, and these are the most satisfying for me to write each year.  I have so much to be grateful for, as most of us do, and there is tremendous power in regularly reminding oneself of that.

(In fact, I now have a video on You Tube titled “Be Grateful – It’s Free and Priceless.”  Please check it out, along with the other video pearls of wisdom I have left you with.)

Readers have also told me this gratitude column is their favourite, as well.  I’m grateful for all of the wonderful comments that have come my way over the years.

You see, my contention is that by being intentionally and consciously thankful for everything you have, and actually writing down your many blessings on a regular basis, you will become more personally and financially successful.  

Listing your successes and accomplishments gives you more confidence. That confidence and perspective allow you to make better decisions, about your money and your life.

Reminding yourself of the wonderful positive traits of your partner, family members or co-workers can have obvious power, and lead to great choices. Celebrating financial successes and duplicating those can help you be a better planner and investor.

I hope you will take this to heart and give it a try.  Start just by writing down ten things for which you are grateful. Feel how it changes your outlook.  Expand the list whenever you are inclined, and return to that list every time you need a little internal motivation or mood improvement.

At this time of year, when so many of us are caught up in the rat race of trying to find the perfect gift, feeling the financial pressure of the season and getting frazzled by all the things you need to do to “get ready” for Christmas, taking a few minutes to tell someone what you appreciate about them might be the greatest gift you can give.

In a week, I will be back with a more familiar Dollars and Sense - our last, alas - focusing again on money and specific steps to reach your financial and life goals in 2015.

In the meantime, though, with your extra days off next week, do me a favour.

Take some time over the holidays and ponder what’s most important to you. Celebrate what you have and what you have accomplished.  Think about what is truly important to you going forward.

And before the holidays, can you take on some of the chores and responsibilities from someone you love, that will allow her to have some time to relax?  You know what I mean - there is usually one person in the family on whose shoulders most of the preparation and work falls. Do what you can proactively to help.

Also think about how can you connect with family and re-connect with other people who matter to you.  I hope you have an opportunity, like we do, to attend a 35th annual epic 14-plus hour Boxing Day party on Ferndale.  If not, start your own such tradition.

To all who celebrate Christmas, have a very merry one.  To those who don’t, enjoy the days off afforded by this annual pagan ritual, forgive us our trespasses in the malls and enjoy the fruits of the Boxing Day sales.

Happy Chanukah, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weinachten, Merry Christmas.

Have a truly joyous holiday and a very Happy New Year!    

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Dollars and Sense is meant as an introduction to this topic and should not in any way be construed as a replacement for personalized professional advice.

Please consult legal, tax and investment experts for advice on your unique situation.


David Christianson, BA, CFP, R.F.P., TEP, CIMis a financial planner and advisor with Christianson Wealth Advisors, a Vice President with National Bank Financial Wealth Management, and author of the book Managing the Bull, A No-Nonsense Guide to Personal Finance.