With the arrival of behavioral finance and life planning, the importance of adding an understanding of basic psychology to an advisor's skillset is becoming ever more apparent. Now, a relatively new branch of psychological study has emerged from which some interesting parallels can be drawn to the financial planning process.

As one of the field's newest arenas, "positive psychology" differs from most other psychological specialties in that it focuses on understanding human prosperity. For much of the last century, most psychological research was focused on the negative—i.e., identifying problems and finding ways to cure mental illness.

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