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How a photo album (and my Mum) got me thinking

The older (and more mature) I get the more I realise that spending money on the stuff I enjoy, with the people I want to be with, makes me happier…

I’ve never been one for buying things for buying’s sake but I have (and still do) occasionally fall for the odd feel good purchase!

But if you are like me (and apparently it’s to do with our neural system) you get very quickly used to those new shiny, material things. Think about the last time you bought a new car – it feels fantastic for that first few weeks but very soon it begins to feel like just like any other car you’ve ever owned.

Increasingly psychologists suggest (and this is my experience) that it’s our community, our contribution and our experiences with family and friends that are at the very heart of a happy life.

And I was reminded of this when I recently decided to start using an App on my mobile to create Brett Family photo albums.


I have always kept albums on my iPhone, but a conversation with my Mum reminded me of how important it is to create something that is a bit more tangible.

Popsa simply takes your saved photos – reorders and sizes them (you can re-edit yourself) and then creates a printed hard back (or soft back) photo album to send to you in the post.

So far, I have created two such albums – a 2022 Brett Family album and more recently a 2021 one.

What has struck me the most however is that nearly every photo I have chosen either remembers someone special (we lost Shona’s father in 2021) or is based on a shared experience – there were no new cars, no new clothes but instead loads of beaming faces simply having a great time together.

And when I first saw the framework it got me thinking.

What’s the money actually for?

What’s clear to me is that having control of your time and good health is increasingly precious. Of course, we still need enough money but we need a balance of all three (money, health and free time) to really have meaningful experiences.

And we weren’t put on this earth just to accumulate money. It, of course, helps fuel our life but is not an end in itself.

Increasingly my conversations with my clients are becoming less and less about money and MORE and MORE about what they use it for and how they make the most of their remaining (fit and active) years.

As my Popsa journey so clearly tells me it’s the shared moments with the people I love that matter most and is where my (and your) true wealth really lies.

(photo: Ballymastocker Bay, County Donegal)