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This week: Habits of financially happy people, marriage manifestos, health care sharing ministries, the best Christmas present ever, and the relationship of money and happiness.

1. Can Money Buy Happiness?

[Cash Cow Couple] “Money can get you out of debt, into a nice home, and on your dream vacation. It can change your status, improve your social life, transform your appearance. Money can buy you freedom from the job you hate and change almost any undesirable situation. So to say money can’t buy happiness is silly.”

I’ve always believed in the wisdom of the old expression “Money can’t buy happiness,” so this headline caught my eye.

The article presents a thoughtful look at just what happiness really is, the part money plays in achieving it and how to squeeze more happiness from life. After reading it, I still believe in the expression, but I think from now on I’ll say, “Money alone can’t buy happiness.” Read this post and see what you think. Then read an article I wrote years ago called “The 10 Commandments of Wealth and Happiness.”

2. The Best Christmas Gift Ever

[Frugal Fringe] “Back in the summer of 1982 my brother and I tried to see the movie ‘Poltergeist.’ This Steven Spielberg release had been out for only a week and was already a blockbuster. We couldn’t get in because the lines were so long. But another Spielberg movie was being released for the first time that day: ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.’

This is a charming story about the best possible type of gift, one created by the giver and offered from the heart. Which would you rather have: an 8-year-old’s rendition of an ET movie poster or some anonymous gift card? Food for thought for next year. Check out this one.

3. Why We’re Joining a Health Care Sharing Ministry

[Club Thrifty] “Starting Jan. 1, we’ll be without traditional health insurance for the first time in our lives. As someone who has paid health insurance premiums faithfully for my entire adult life, it feels really, really weird saying that. But the fact is, when we shopped around for health insurance this year, we discovered that health care sharing ministries simply offered the best value out there.”

This is another story we’ve done before: See “Health Care Without Insurance – Medi-Share. Both this story and ours explain alternatives to traditional health insurance offered by religious organizations. Essentially, you pay money monthly, it’s pooled with money others pay and is then available to help whatever members need it. It’s basically risk sharing without the insurance company. Members of recognized health care sharing ministries are among those exempt from the federal penalty imposed on people who don’t buy health insurance, according to HealthCare.gov.

Intrigued? Read both articles and see what you think.

4. Why a Marriage Manifesto Is Better Than a Prenuptial Agreement

[Escaping Dodge] “My definition of a marriage manifesto is a document that acts as a road map in the relationship. It puts in writing the non-negotiable needs of each person so that there is no question about what success looks like. It defines the dangers to avoid and clearly spells out the consequences for violating the trust of the other person. It covers how each person behaves in the relationship. It’s an agreement of the heart, mind and spirit.”

I can say from personal experience, as well as stories we’ve done, that prenups are an uncomfortable road to travel, so I was interested in how a marriage manifesto — whatever that is — would be different. Turns out that it’s not a legal document, but a statement of what you expect, both emotionally and financially, from a relationship. Would it work for you? Read the post and find out. But even if you have a prenup, it probably wouldn’t hurt.

5. 10 Habits of Financially Happy People

[Wise Bread] “… some people have discovered how to be financially happy. What’s their secret? It really isn’t a mystery. In most cases, it’s all about adopting smarter financial habits — something anyone can learn.”

So what habits can you pick up in the new year to make you financially happy? This list includes goal setting, sticking to a budget, maintaining good credit, planning for the unexpected and being well-informed. Check the post for more, then come back to Money Talks News when you realize these are exactly the types of behaviors we help you achieve.

Who do you like?

We’re always on the hunt for talented personal finance writers and interesting sites and authors. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know below or on our Facebook page! You can also talk to us about anything you’d like simply by hitting “reply” to your daily email update. (Not subscribed? Fix that right now!)

Stacy Johnson

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I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


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