Measuring the Fabric of Felicity

4 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2018 Last revised: 10 Jul 2019

Date Written: September 21, 2018


We steer our financial course through life choosing how much to spend and how to invest what's left, periodically updating our choices as circumstances evolve. This is the essence of financial planning: specifying in advance a desired spending and investment policy conditional on relevant aspects of our life, varying investment opportunities, and our preferences for the benefits derived from our wealth. It's a pretty simple problem to put into words but finding an optimal solution has occupied some very bright minds for the past 60 years. In this note we conduct a survey to start exploring some of the practical issues involved in transitioning from theory to practice.

Keywords: Decision Making under Uncertainty, Risk, Utility, Risk Aversion, Coin Flip, Heuristics, Rules of Thumb, Portfolio Selection, Lifetime Portfolio Selection, Saving and Spending

JEL Classification: B12, B16, B20, C00, C10, C11, C50, C57, C73, D03, D81, D83, E00, G00, G02, G11, G12, G14, G17, G23

Suggested Citation

White, James and Haghani, Victor, Measuring the Fabric of Felicity (September 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

James White (Contact Author)

Elm Partners ( email )

1630 Willow View Drive
PO Box 1417
Wilson, WY 83014

Victor Haghani

Elm Partners ( email )

1630 Willow View Drive
PO Box 1417
Wilson, WY 83014


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