Living a Richer Life: “Balance” – A Book Review on Prioritizing Experiences Over Things

A Book Review – Balance: How to Invest and Spend for Happiness, Health and Wealth

By Andrew Hallam

Experiences Over Things
Choosing Experiences Over Things: A Thought-Provoking Book Review on “Balance”

What is this book about?

Although Andrew Hallam’s “Balance” is categorized as a personal finance book, it goes far beyond that label. This captivating read is not only inspiring but also serves as a profound guide to happiness. In addition to teaching you about investment strategies, the book emphasizes the importance of investing in a way that brings you happiness. With 12 chapters and approximately 265 pages, “Balance” offers a rewarding reading experience and valuable insights on how to lead a happier life.

The introduction of this book is intriguing. Andrew made an easily understandable metaphor that success is like a table with 4 legs. In order to attain success, you need to strike a good “balance” for this table. The 4 legs are money, relationships, health and purposes. At the end of the day, what most people wanted would be to feel happy, safe and secure. That’s the founding element of being successful.

The book’s primary goal is to show you the way to attain success by investing in a happier way and boosting your life satisfaction.

The links for purchasing the book are paid links via Amazon which we may receive commissions from qualifying purchases.

Get your copy today!

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Who is this book for?

“Balance” is unlike traditional personal finance books such as “Rich Dad Poor Dad” or “The Millionaire Mind”, which teach you how to think or behave like a millionaire. This book is more casual and the reading it feels like catching up with an old friend over coffee.

Having said that, the lessons or tips offered in this book is profound and practical. You will find the examples and events quoted in this book much more relatable too, as this book is quite new and only published in 2022.

Don’t miss this interesting book if you wanted a good read as well as learning about personal finances.

3 Useful Life Lessons I learnt from the book “Balance”

This book surrounds the 4-legged table of success. It talks about the best way to spend and invest your money (money). Also it shares tips of maximizing physical and mental health (health). It shares with you how to build strong relationships with others (relationship). Finally it teaches you how to focus on values and expanding your life experience (purposes).

The following are 3 life lessons that I find especially useful and would like to share with you.

1. Spend money on Experiences over “Things”

Andrew shared this crazy story about his epic adventure in Cuba with his best friend. They were practically broke, barely scraping by! But you know what? It turned out to be the experience of a lifetime for them. This trip was so unforgettable and vivid that they’ll be talking about it for years to come.

What did Andrew want to tell us?

experiences over things
Photo by Fox on

He made it crystal clear that our happiness doesn’t come from the “stuff” we acquire. Instead, it’s the experiences that truly light us up and keep us inspired. Buying things may give us a temporary thrill, but they rarely bring lasting satisfaction. It’s always those moments we cherish, spent with loved ones, that bring us genuine happiness.

Here goes the life lesson. Before making any purchases, it’s crucial to ask ourselves a simple question: Do we really need it? Will it enhance our life experiences or is it just another item that offers short-term satisfaction? Keep in mind that true happiness stems from the memories and experiences we create, not from accumulating stuff.

So, it’s best we focus on what truly matters in the long run—the moments that bring us lasting joy and fulfilment.

2. Invest in a low-cost index fund and stay hands off

This life lesson is practical and two-fold.

Firstly, study and invest in a low-cost index fund.

This is because statistics show us that, investments in a portfolio of index funds or ETFs will increase your chances in investment success. However, index funds will always fluctuation and there are no guarantees of sure gains when it comes to investments.

black blue and red graph illustration
Photo by Burak The Weekender on

However, Andrew advised us to take a long-term perspective when it comes to investments, like a 10-year timeframe. By doing so, we can overcome the fear of short-term stock market fluctuations. Historical data reveals that, despite a few rough patches in between, stock returns generally display positive results over time.

This insight reminds us to focus on the bigger picture and stay committed to our long-term investment goals.

Secondly, stick to your investment pattern and try to spend as less time as possible on your investments.

Many investors face losses in their investments because they attempt to predict and time the market. This behavior has a striking resemblance to gambling, where the odds are always stacked in favor of the house. As an investor, you will always suffer from loss if you constantly try to “bet” your chances against the investments you acquire. We are humans after all, and it is completely normal to exhibit such tendencies.

Andrew suggested that it’s best we stick to an investment pattern and think less about your investments. The less time you spent on your investments, the happier you will feel. A useful tip is to rely on robo-advisors to manage your portfolio of investments.

At the end of the day, patience and consistency are the keys for long term financial success.

3. Live with a Purpose

Most people like you and me, would look forward to an early retirement. Meaning which we have made enough money and can “retire financially”. No more work obligations and lots of travelling and fun time, sounds like a dream right?

However, the author challenges this notion, asserting that early or conventional retirement is overrated.

This is my thought on this life lesson: Retiring too early can leave us feeling devoid of purpose, rendering our lives hollow and unfulfilling. When work has been our primary focus for so long, its absence can create a void that’s hard to fill.

Instead, I believe we should strive to identify our life purposes. As Andrew wisely suggests, we shouldn’t allow the failures of others to dictate our own future. Just because someone else couldn’t achieve something doesn’t mean we can’t.

It’s essential to prove to yourself that you can also lead a meaningful life aligned with your desires.

On a side note, Andrew proposes that mini-retirements can be beneficial, allowing us to broaden our horizons and explore new possibilities.


Thanks for reading this book review up to this end. If you’re reading this review, chances are you’re just like me, and like many others, still on the quest to find your own unique “balance” in life.

To recap, based on “Balance” by Andrew Hallam, the 4 important pillars to success include:

  1. Having enough money
  2. Having strong relationships (with family and friends)
  3. Having great physical and emotional health
  4. Living with a sense of purpose

These four elements beautifully encapsulate the essence of success, and I highly recommend this book to those seeking their life’s purpose.

Remember that It is always a journey when we search for success and happiness in life. The key is to keep working and exploring, and never give up.

Thank you for reading and I hope you can successfully capture experiences over “things”. I will see you again in the next post!

Read “Balance”

The links for purchasing these books are paid links via Amazon which we may receive commissions from qualifying purchases.

Get your copy today!

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