12 simple sketches that perfectly illustrate the path to wealth and financial happiness

Associated Press12 ways to identify the path to wealth and financial happiness.
  • Through 12 simple sketches, The New York Times’Carl Richards illustrates what we should do with our money versus what we actually do.
  • Richards highlights how improving your behaviours can help you reach your financial goals.
  • When making an investment, having the right attitude can be more important than timing the market, according to Richards.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The New York Times columnist, author, and financial planner Carl Richards has made a career out of exposing and analysing what he calls the “behaviour gap” – the gap between what you should do with your money and what you actually do.


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He also has an active Twitter presence, where he doles out nuggets of financial advice.

Richards boiled down his wisdom on wealth and happiness in a dozen sketches that he gave away to his readers during the “12 Days Of Behaviour Gap,” and which anyone can receive by signing up for his newsletter. We’ve shared them here with his permission.

An earlier version of this post appeared on Business Insider in December 2014.


There are a limited number of things you can control, Richards says, and you don’t have power over everything that matters. It’s the important things you can control that should occupy your efforts.

Source: Behaviour Gap


It’s your adviser’s job to help figure out where that sweet spot is. “A real advisor should be the thing between YOU and the BIG MISTAKE,” Richards tweeted along with this sketch.

Source: Behaviour Gap


“Even after you figure out the maths around a decision, you have to navigate the emotional complexity that comes with money,” Richards writes on his website. The best financial moves are usually very simple.

Source: Behaviour Gap


And the way our financial system works, even if you’re making great decisions, you still may not see the returns you expect.

Source: Behaviour Gap


No matter how complicated investing may get, some things (like behaviour) matter more than others (timing the market).

Source: Behaviour Gap


Your portfolio design is one of the things that matter. “A well-designed portfolio can be the difference between good investment outcomes and disappointment,” Richards wrote in The Times in 2013. The elements, like those shown below, should create one cohesive unit.

Source: The New York Times


For instance, proper diversification of assets isn’t just about having multiple types of one investment — it’s about making sure your investments are significantly different from one another.

Source: Behaviour Gap


And it’s OK that the path between you and your financial goals isn’t a straight line.

Source: Behaviour Gap


As long as you stay focused on achieving your own financial goals instead of being sidetracked by what other people most value, you’ll get there.

Source: Behaviour Gap


Rather than falling into the typical market cycle …

Carl Richards / Behaviour Gap

Source: Behaviour Gap


… keep repeating what works.

Source: Behaviour Gap


One thing that works is having the right attitude. Here, Richards captures the feeling of gratitude for the people in your life who make you not only wealthy but happy.

Source: Behaviour Gap

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