Can money buy you happiness? The answer to this question will depend largely on the respondent’s state of mind, economic situation, expectations, values, desires, needs, experiences, and several other factors.
There are several schools of thought on this topic: some agree that money can buy happiness, while others disagree, and yet others believe that the happiness money can buy never lasts for long.
“Money can’t buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable.” – Claire Luce
“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants.” – Benjamin Franklin
We may never fully understand this saying until we can define what money and happiness are.
What is Money?
The Economists define money as a generally accepted medium of exchange for the purchase of goods and services. This description explains where money originates and how much it is worth.
According to Wikipedia, “Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context.”
What is Happiness?
To many people, happiness can mean different things.
Happiness is an emotional state of mind consisting of feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. Although happiness has many distinct definitions, it is frequently associated with positive emotions and a sense of fulfillment in life.
Joy, gladness, pleasure, contentment, enthusiasm, optimism, and pride are all examples of different types of happiness.
Then, what is the relationship or connection between money and happiness?
Human needs are insatiable and they usually take the form of goods and services. Once a need is met, there is joy, gladness, pride, a positive or pleasant emotion; this can be translated to mean happiness.
If getting a need met by spending money will make one happy, then we can conclude that money can buy you happiness, but to some extent, this is partly because what happiness means to one person is different from what it means to another. Different strokes for different folks, you would say!
Psychologically, the three principles below can be of help if you intend to make a purchase or pay for a service with the intent to having satisfaction or getting happiness:
Wealth does not necessarily lead to happiness – Although having more money translates into having access to much more than your basic needs, it also puts a demand on your time. This is due to the fact that, in order to live up to standard, more time is required as you earn more money and acquire more wealth. For this reason, you see people taking up two to three jobs a day, attending several meetings, or not having time to spend with family and friends. At the end of the day, you are able to make more money but have little time to rest and be happy.
Experiencing and Having – Being able to purchase physical objects, such as vehicles, wristwatches, the latest phones, and so on, brings satisfaction and happiness, but these things quickly become obsolete as new versions are unveiled. On the other hand, having experiences like going for a vacation with family and friends, or attending a get-together, also brings a sense of satisfaction and happiness that tends to last longer. This is because experiences can be remembered, and shared in a way that one is able to re-live the experience, especially pleasant experiences, and this translates into more happiness, just by remembering!
Does spending on others makes you Happier? – Researchers have discovered that spending on others gives better satisfaction and happiness than spending on oneself. This is because giving to others, such as through charity or donations, makes you feel better about yourself: this is Happiness!
At this point, it is obvious that having the money to handle your needs is not enough, the satisfaction you gain from meeting the needs, how you go about meeting the need, and several other factors should be taken into consideration if your goal is to achieve happiness at the end of the day.
In summary, everyone responds differently to the issues about Money and Happiness. Balance is the key, and seeking help from financial experts will go a long way to help you give the right answer to the question “Can Money make you Happy”?.