Forefront’s Market Notes: Experiences Are Never a Waste of Money

Experiences Are Never a Waste of Money


My wife, Christina, and I took our kids to see the Broadway play Wicked this weekend. We went in early and strolled through the theatre district, letting the kids take in the sights and sounds of New York City all around them.


We go into the city often with the kids; broadening their horizons and expanding their perspectives will benefit them as they grow personally and professionally. As much as I love these escapades to “the buildings,” as Priya used to call it when she was a toddler, the cost of these experiences is something I can’t help but think about.


As a parent, spending an entire Saturday in New York City with the kids is exhausting. Being a parent is a constant struggle between the guilt of not doing enough and the need to recover for the crushing week ahead of you.


Our biggest struggle on Saturday was having AJ, my son, wear shorts with a button and zipper and a collared shirt rather than his customary mesh shorts and T-shirts.


Walking through the theatre district holding Priya’s hand while she pointed left and right at all the amazing things she saw is what the young people call a “core memory.” Her intense interest in everything and everyone was contagious, and soon, the whole family found themselves pointing out the most interesting things our eyes could see.


The lasting memory from the day won’t be the show for me; it will be Priya quietly placing the bag of dog treats we bought for our dogs at home next to a homeless man asleep with his dog. She didn’t wake him, try to pet the dog, or even ask us if it was okay. She quietly placed the bag down and caught up to me, slipping her hand into mine as if she had never let go.


It wasn’t until yesterday that Priya finally started to ask questions about the homeless person, and we had a frank but age-appropriate conversation. I could see the wheels turning in her 9-year-old brain when we talked about treating EVERYONE with respect and dignity, regardless of how they look, the clothes they are wearing, or where they live.


She will never cease to amaze me because she immediately connected Elphaba, from Wicked, being poorly treated because of her green skin and how everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. The cost of a Broadway show is expensive, but the perspective both kids gained was well worth it.


Research published in the “Journal of Positive Psychology” by Gilovich and Kumar showed that people recall experiences more positively than material possessions. Memories of experiences are less susceptible to unfavorable comparisons and are often associated with positive emotions and personal growth.


Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, suggests that allocating discretionary income toward experiences rather than material possessions aligns better with long-term happiness. These studies and expert opinions collectively underscore the idea that investing in experiences like Broadway shows can lead to higher levels of happiness and well-being compared to the pursuit of material possessions. They highlight the lasting impact, anticipation, social connections, and variety that experiences offer, making them a valuable choice for us to enhance our overall quality of life.


In a world where financial prudence often overshadows the pursuit of joy, it’s essential to remember that money is a tool meant to improve our lives.


Stock market calendar this week:

10:00 AM Home builder confidence index
8:30 AM Housing starts
8:30 AM Building permits
2:00 PM Fed interest-rate decision
2:30 PM Fed Chair Powell press conference
8:30 AM Initial jobless claims
8:30 AM Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey
8:30 AM U.S. current account deficit
10:00 AM U.S. leading economic indicators
10:00 AM Existing home sales
8:50 AM Fed Gov. Lisa Cook speaks
9:45 AM S&P flash U.S. services PMI
9:45 AM S&P flash U.S. manufacturing PMI
1:00 PM Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari speaks
1:00 PM San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly speaks

Most anticipated earnings for this week:


Did you miss our blog last week?

The Plan is the Product


About Amit: I am a first generation American, the son of a working-class Indian family, and I lived through my parents’ struggle to find their place in this country, to put down roots that would sustain them as well as their children in a new land. As they encouraged me to excel in school and fostered my hobbies and interests, I was keenly aware of the dynamic between them. I understood that there was a difference between where they came from individually and where we were now. They worked hard in their individual capacities, but they weren’t always on the same page about financial issues – and that can make or break a family’s future. I didn’t know it at the time, but this laid the groundwork for my passion towards financial services and helping families succeed.