Money Matters

I feel uncomfortable about having money when people in the world are suffering. And I feel bad about having more money than my friends. What should I do?

Read Brent Kessel's response:

In my view, money is a store of life energy; it's neither good nor bad, but neutral. Money can perpetuate suffering or create joy. I've advised many people who feel ashamed about having or wanting money. As a result of these (often subconscious) feelings, they make poor investment choices or live beyond their means. These behaviors continue until their savings are diminished and guilt subsides.

It doesn't have to be that way. In her book Leap! What Do We Do with the Rest of Our Lives?, Sara Davidson profiles Americans who change their lives, including individuals who take sabbaticals to work with the needy in Africa or use their savings to help others in Latin America. By using their resources to enrich their own lives, these folks are able to enrich the lives of others. And you needn't travel the globe to find opportunities that allow you to do the same.

While you might have more financial wealth than your friends, you don't necessarily have more happiness. Does money bring you joy? Does it bring you closer to your friends? Could it? Creating a healthy relationship with money boils down to how honestly you can look within for guidance and insight. The practice can help you.

A financial planner by day and a yogi by dawn, Brent Kessel practices Ashtanga Yoga and is CEO of Kubera Portfolios, an independent sustainable investing firm. He is the author of It's Not About the Money,published by HarperOne. Submit your questions to