As we head into the holidays—especially Thanksgiving we know we’re supposed to feel thankful.  We know that this is a special time of the year and that we now is the time to feel lucky for those we love and who loves us.  We’re supposed to feel blessed to be healthy and happy to be alive. 

But let me ask you something—do you really feel lucky? More importantly, when was the last time you really felt joy?

There are some questions that stop you dead in your tracks. This is definitely one of them.

I know it stopped me. So, let’s think about it…


I first heard this question on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  Oprah was talking about how her trainer had asked her this very question during a run.  It forced Oprah to think back in her own life and remember when she had last felt pure joy.  She thought about it and realized it had been more than seven years earlier!

Oprah went on to explain how the trainer’s question made her remember how much joy she had felt while she was filming The Color Purple, and how the memory of that joy and its meaning to her, ultimately inspired her to change her own life. As she put it, it led her to take her TV show out of what she called the “yak, yak, yak” genre and transform it into a platform to help people truly lead better, more meaningful lives.  The world is better place today because of how this one woman was inspired by that one question about joy.


After I finished watching Oprah that day, I tried to go back to whatever I was doing. But that question—“When was the last time you experienced real joy?”—continued to rattle around in my mind.

The next day it hit me…hard.

I remember driving up to my office at Morgan Stanley, where I ran my financial planning business back in 2001. It was 5:45 in the morning and I asked myself again,—when was the last time I had experienced joy?

The answer was—during a tour across the country teaching Smart Couples Finish Rich™ Seminars.  Being on stage in front of a thousand couples, helping them live and finish rich was my last truly joyful experience (fortunately, this had taken place only a month prior). Then, I asked the question—when was the last time I felt joy at work?  The answer was a shocker—I realized it had literally been years.  I started to realize how I no longer felt fulfilled at work.  And realized that I wanted to spend my life writing books and teaching others. More importantly, I wanted to spend my life helping people live and finish rich, and essentially become financial free. 

That singular realization would change my life.  Within 18 months of that experience I left Morgan Stanley where I was a Senior Vice President to move to New York City and start FinishRich Media, LLC.—a company dedicated to teaching others about how to live and Finish Rich®.  It wasn’t easy and still isn’t but it I can honestly say, it has brought me true joy. Hearing your success stories is always the highlight of my day!

                                                LET THESE HOLIDAYS TRULY BE FILLED WITH THANKS AND JOY 

So this Thanksgiving ask those you love when was the last time you felt joy?  Make sure you share your answer with others.  Especially, with your family and those you love most.  Look back and be honest—you’ve had great times in your life.  Remember every time and experience you can because these memories are priceless and can change your life!

And most importantly—reconnect with yourself.  Go get a piece of paper now and do the following: Take FIVE MINUTES and tell yourself the truth…

  1. When was the last time you experienced joy? 
  2. When did you last feel joy with your family? 
  3. When did you last feel joy at work? 
  4. Who do you love? 
  5. Who loves you? 
  6. Who could you love more today—by picking up the phone and tell them—how much they mean to you.
  7. If we were getting together one year from today, what would have to happen for you to be able to tell me that you now more joy in your life?

You deserve to be joyful!                                                                       

Happy Thanksgiving!

Live Rich,

David Bach



  1. Thank you!! I have a lot to be grateful for by just stopping a moment to notice.

    Thanks for reminding me to take that moment.

  2. Hi David, I’m not sure anyone “deserves” joy. In fact I hear that kind of remark made daily it seems on many commercials. “you desrve”… giving me the feeling that people should feel “entitled”?
    For me joy comes from my faith in Christ because he is the only one that can provide real joy in this fallen world. Happiness depends on happenings. One can know joy even in the midst of sorrow, pain, unhappiness, job and home loss. To me, real joy is a gift knowing who holds my future and that God is in control even in these very challenging economic times. To me, joy comes from the “hope” that while the world may be in chaos, those of us who know Jesus Christ as our personal savior have the hope that brings great joy that our sins are forgiven, that we are loved unconditionally and that we have eternal life in Christ. We can’t earn it, as it is a gift. I assume you are talking about joy in a job or earnings or success or in one’s friends and family and I understand and love the joy of my friends and precious family. And while those things are what most of us work for and plan for, we all know they can be fleeting. Real joy, lasting joy is not dependant on success as the world sees it but along with joy in my faith, is the joy that comes from making a difference in peoples lives for eternity. Jeremiah 29:11&12 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord “plans to prosper” you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. (NIV)Happy Thanksgiving David and may your joy be complete. John 3:16

  3. I am Canadian and found myself to be particularly thankful this Thanksgiving for everything! I had a family who loves me, and we live in a beautiful place, and I’m doing what I love to do. I was particularly thankful for my dogs and especially my dog Sandy because I love him so much. Right after Thanksgiving, I got sick with the flu and started getting better on the Friday, so I forced myself to go to work. That night we found that my beloved Sandy was having trouble making his daily walks (my how he loved his walks) and we found a growth on his side. There is nothing I love more than that dog; he is gone now because we had to put him down about a week later. I am thankful that I was able to tell him every day,at least once a day, that I love… him …
    Pure joy was when Sandy and his friend Sally and others were able to walk with us on the mountain and he was happy and healthy, asking for food or a petting and generally just being part of the family! Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. David,

    Great blog. I love the point as it is very dear to me. I try to drive this to all of our staff at Los Ninos Services. Thank you for focusing on joy – what life should be about. When we are young we focus on it and as the years go by we tend to lose track of it. I am in total agreement – let’s continue to focus on finding joy and living our lives to ensure we have a greater share of joy. We can do that by knowing ourselves, what gives us joy, and shaping our lives around that.
    enjoy your turkey,
    Scott Mesh, CEO
    Los Ninos Services

  5. Thank you for being a true inspiration. Part of what I do for a live is to figure out who is telling the truth and who is not. I have always felt that the advice you give is straight up honest. After I put into practice several of your automatic millionaire ideas, my financial life has improved and continues to improve with every paycheck I get. THANK YOU!

  6. Have a Happy Thanksgiving I am loving your book ” Start Late Finish Rich” I am 70 years old and starting over.

  7. David, thanks for the inspirational blog. I have gone through the exercise of joy and it too has been a few years.

    Thanks for your books.

  8. I am still pondering this – I sure hope I haven’t lost the feeling of knowing joy !

  9. Excellent points, David! Thanks for a thought-provoking column, and have a wonderful holiday season!