Welcome to the next phase of your life! The speaker at the event we attended last night was pretty good, so I thought I’d share. First, keep your n mind that he is an economist. While that sounds pretty dull, it gives him an interesting perspective. He sees everything as having some “utility,” economist speak for happiness. Everything we do generates a return of some kind, but all of those can be linked back to how happy they make you. Here is his advice for living a happy life.

1. Do something for others less fortunate than you. He said that doing for others generates the most satisfaction for the level of effort. In economist speak, this is the greatest return for the investment.

2. Improve yourself in a purposeful way. When older adults are asked what they would change if they could, most say they wish they had done more or had a better plan when they were 18. Set some goals and actively work toward them before life happens and changes everything.

3. Live within your means. Don’t get buried by debt when you are young. He said that the point of diminishing returns for salaries is about $25,000 per year. He meant that the increase in happiness is smaller for higher salaries. I’m not sure if $25k is the correct breaking point since I remember making about that and not being able to pay my bills. I’d say that the point of diminishing returns is quite a bit higher, but that’s not based on any kind of research.

So there you have it. Some good advice for our new graduates. Now go out and make your mark!