My tag line, “Bring your TRUTH into FOCUS, then FOCUS and watch your vision become TRUTH,” came to me in the form of good old-fashioned hard work followed by a moment of inspiration. I inner_truthspent two years, many hours of meditation, and many ups and downs in personal relationships and with myself, as I attempted to gain clarity on my inner truth. During the process, it became clear to me that we are all on this journey of life, doing the best we can with what we have. Many wise people have crossed my path and influenced my life in positive ways. My passion began to grow as I searched for my own voice, my own world view, my own contribution. A burning desire to share certain insights with those who seek out insight began.

Despite having met basic needs such as food, clean water, and shelter, many individuals in the Western world struggle to find happiness. We have more wealth than ever before, yet oftenSatellite_Image_Western_World we are frustrated by our unmet desire for material things. The messages that we typically receive from popular media—television, radio, Internet—and other components of modern culture create challenges that make it difficult to find peace in the land of opportunity. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, outside the boundaries of our culture, without TV or radio, only to return to the United States in high school and experience culture shock. I have always had a fascination with culture and people and am continually interested in understanding the varied hopes of individuals.

Health, happiness, and wealth are some of the key aspirations of human beings.

As a certified financial planner (CFP) with a graduate degree in wellness management, and 15 years’ experience as a personal financial advisor and partner in a wealth management company, I realized I must know something about these topics. Although these themes have been written about extensively, I knew that my international upbringing and professional background had given me a rich perspective through which to share insights and add value for individuals with interest in these topics.

The “Why”

After contemplating these topics for several years, I experienced a catalytic moment in the summer of 2013 when I met a friend of Indian heritage. He had grown up in India but studied and became a cardiologist in the U.S., a master in his field. He decided that he would move back to New Delhi, India, and work in the hospitals there. He wouldn’t make as much money, but he hoped to give back to his place of birth. After living in New Delhi for eight months, he decided to return to the United States. When I asked him why, I was shocked by his response.

He shared that India was in the midst of an economicleelapalace_newdelhi boom. He observed that the masses had embraced lavish lifestyles with magnificent homes, fancy cars, and wasteful spending of their wealth on luxury items and appearances. Many of these individuals were the first generation in their families to go to college, to have well-paying jobs, and to ever have money. And yet what were they doing? Getting lost in the world of materialism, even going into debt on the hope and prayer that the money would flow at a never-ending pace.

This surgeon had seen wealthy people in the United States with many material things and who similarly spent a lot of time, energy, and money keeping those material things in good order, and maintaining their social status. My friend, on the other hand, had worked very hard to position himself with a good career that would allow him financial freedom and had worked diligently to create a minimalist lifestyle.

Research shows emerging countries such as India and Brazil have an emerging middle class with serious financial problems.

Research shows emerging countries such as India and Brazil have an emerging middle class with serious financial problems.

Through the 20th century we saw an incredible economic boom in the United States from which was born a very well to do middle class. Some families have been able to develop a sense of happiness and wisdom as it relates to their financial situation, but many have not. The collective wisdom about money is slow to build because it iMultigenerational_Familys rare for people to talk openly about money outside their close family. So due to the privacy surrounding money, this wisdom is held secret.

With the recent economic downturn, I do feel that in the United States there is a reemerging focus on the link between money and happiness. People may not know exactly what they need to do or how they need to think to improve their relationship with money, but they do know that this is an important topic in the overall pursuit of happiness. And not only is there a need in this country for this wisdom; as mentioned above there are millions of emerging middle class repeating the same patterns.

I hope these stories and the principles outlined in the stories enhance your journey towards health, happiness and wealth. If these principles and this wisdom add value to your life, please share it with others. It has taken the country more than a century to develop a solid population of wealthy families and we are all just coming up for air, asking the right questions about money Journeyand happiness. It would be sad to see billions of people around the world spend decades with imbalanced views involving money and happiness. This blog is intended to help you find more peace and happiness in your life as you use your good financial standing to your advantage. Enjoy the journey.

Ben Russell