Dear Clients and Friends,
After taking a few weeks off from our weekend reading, we’re back!
We had taken a few weeks off in order to devote extra time to the annual Multiple Sclerosis fundraiser. Before we get into the topic for the week, we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of our MORWM family for participating in this effort. While I personally have been volunteering for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for several years, this was only the second year that the company has ridden as a team in the BikeMS event. Out of all the companies in the Philadelphia area who rode “for a world free of MS,” we ranked #2 in fundraising - and we are a very small company!! We out-raised companies like Comcast, Campbell Soup, and Nova Care, all of whom are based here in the Philadelphia area. We are very proud of our efforts.
The NMSS is among the top three of the more than two dozen charities that MORWM supports, and this bike-a-thon is the only event in which we ask our family of clients to participate. We had a team of 45 people riding one of three routes, which ranged in distance from 25 to 75 miles long. Some of our craziest teammates rode 75 miles back to the main starting line the next day.
Multiple Sclerosis is an illness that affects all kinds of people, regardless of age, race, nationality, or gender. Significant scientific advancements have been made in the options for care that are available for those affected. A world free of MS is not only possible, but likely to be achieved during my lifetime. We are moving the needle in a very serious way, and we hope that the pride we feel is shared by all of you.
Please check out these pictures of our team:
We will return to finance-related subjects over the next few weeks. Upcoming topics include the issues brewing within index funds, a preliminary analysis of the presidential candidates’ budget and tax plans, and tricks to save money during the winter months – which are always useful, regardless of one’s level of wealth.
But for today, in keeping with the theme of giving, we’d like to share a neurological study conducted by the University of Zurich that shows that generosity benefits those who give. This study confirms the biological benefits of the old saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” The study is summarized below by Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times Magazine.
The scientific evidence that generosity is good for us has been scant, even as the benefits of selfishness are obvious. Recently, however, a neurological study published in Nature Communications found there may be some biological truth to the maxim after all. The study showed that generosity changed the activity in people’s brains in ways that increase feelings of happiness, even if the generous act is small or only imagined.
Scientists at the University of Zurich and elsewhere began by recruiting 50 men and women and asking them to complete questionnaires about their current mood. They then were given 25 Swiss francs (about $25) once a week for the next month. Half of the 50 were asked to spend this on themselves. The other half were instructed to choose a new recipient each week on whom to spend the money. In other words, half the volunteers agreed to be selfish and the other half to be generous.
At the beginning of the study, participants slid into an fM.R.I. machine with a computer screen that flashed hypothetical scenarios involving monetary gifts to a loved one at a personal cost. The fM.R.I. recorded their brain activity as volunteers decided how they would react to each situation.
Afterward, the researchers again asked participants about their mood, especially happiness, and compared the results with the responses on the initial survey. Those who agreed to give away money reported feeling significantly happier than those who planned to spend it on themselves. They also made more generous choices during the fM.R.I. testing, agreeing to more scenarios that came at a personal cost. And their brains worked differently, too. When the study subjects who had pledged to spend money made generous picks, the fM.R.I. scans showed greater activity in a portion of the brain, the temporo-parietal junction, associated with altruism. And that portion of their brains was also showing greater functional connectivity, communicating more readily with another part of the brain, the ventral striatum, known as the brain’s reward center.
In effect, the pledge to be generous primed people to be more giving. There are probably evolutionary undercurrents to this process, says Thorsten Kahnt, who was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich and co-author of the study and is now an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Our early ancestors might not have been so eager to share food and labor with one another, he suggests, if those actions didn’t entail some reward — including the potent, if abstract, reward of happiness.
In the month following the fM.R.I. study, researchers provided the promised cash to each volunteer and checked in about its dispersal. For the most part, the volunteers who had agreed to give the money away did. Though the experiment lasted only a short time and involved only simulated gains and losses, Kahnt says that “it does show a mechanistic linkage in the brain between doing something nice for someone and feeling better about yourself.”
The lesson here is that a) the MOR Wealth Management family of clientele is changing the world for the better every day, and b) we are all going to live better and happier lives because of our generosity.
The community culture within our firm is unlike anything I’ve experienced in all my years spent working in finance. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for keeping the culture at our firm filled with love and kindness. Have a lovely weekend.
Matthew Ramer, AIF®
Principal, Financial Advisor
MOR Wealth Management, LLC
1801 Market Street, Suite 2435
Philadelphia, PA 19103
P: 267.930-8301 | c: 215-694-4784 | f: 267.284.4847 |
601 21st Street, Suite 300
Vero Beach, FL 32960
The majority of this content was written and distributed MOR Wealth Management, all rights reserved. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser. Fixed insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency.