Malene Rydahl, Author of Happy as a Dane
I was delighted to meet Marlene Norgaard, Global Head of Private Wealth Management from Danske Bank, during my Europe/MENA trip in June.
As a parting gift, she gave me a copy of the book Happy as a Dane: 10 Secrets of the Happiest People in the World by Malene Rydahl. Vanity Fair called it “A praise of happiness in our daily lives”.
The book covers a handful of areas so vital to our happiness – key indicators which the Danes seem to instinctively understand and make room for in their lives:
- Trust – When a person’s relationships are based on trust, they have a better foundation for living a happy life.
- Education – Tailored to develop the personality and skills of every student, without seeking to create an elite. Education is free and students even receive state grants – accessible to all.
- Freedom and independence – Leave home early (age 18) to lead independent lives, preventing social pressure from parents.
- Equal opportunities – High social mobility: wherever you start out in life, all paths are possible.
- Realistic expectations – Enjoy the simple things without being fixated on ambitions of material wealth, greatness or being the best.
- Respect for others/solidarity – Give back through taxes and welfare state (sharing is good when everyone contributes).
- Work-life balance – Family and leisure are important (leave work by 5pm to spend time with children).
- Relationship to money – Don’t make being rich a priority.
- Modesty – Don’t assume you’re better than others, and remember: it’s not winning but taking part that counts.
- Gender equality – Freedom to choose the right role for yourself, without worrying about stereotypes or taboos.
I was struck by how much of our happiness is tied to the way we handle (or mishandle) money. Our finances can be such a big cause of stress – or a source of confidence and security. It’s no accident that “relationship with money”, “realistic expectations” and “education” are key areas covered in the book.
With Miss Kaya, my wealth management platform for women, I’m trying to educate women not just in Asia but all over the world about the importance of planning, managing and educating themselves on financial independence. I’m trying to help these women change their relationship – and the way they think about – with money and their financial futures. And in the process, I hope to make them happier!
Happy as a Dane is a fantastic book on all the right things to do if you want to be as happy as the Danes, so a very big thank you to Marlene for sharing it with me. I hope people reading this will pick up a copy and apply the lessons to their own lives.
If you can apply the lessons financially, even better!
Gina Heng, founder of Miss Kaya and entrepreneur, noticed that the existing financial management services available sounded too complex, filled with jargon and hence too dull.
It is time for a change given the role women play in today’s world professionally and otherwise. Miss Kaya’s mission is to empower women and allow them to achieve financial freedom and live the lifestyles they want.