Does Money Buy Happiness?


Malcolm Ritter attempts to answer this question in an article on Yahoo! News titled The Money-Happiness Link is Complex. One economist is quoted as saying "There is overwhelming evidence that money buys happiness", but others argue that the studies are skewed.

The question is whether money buys happiness... or happiness attracts money.

Being involved in the Work-at-Home and Internet Marketing space for more than 17 years now, I can tell you firsthand that the one thing that hasn't changed in the last couple of decades is the quest to "get rich" or become more than financially stable.

When you ask someone what their goals are, more often than not the answer is "to make money" or "to earn $x".

It generally takes some creative questions, and some serious thought on their part, to come up with a purpose to work and life that doesn't involve dollar figures. But that - whatever it happens to be for each individual person - is what brings true happiness in life...

It is a backwards approach to set your primary goal to earn a certain amount of money. Instead you want to figure out what your true goals are in the most general sense, and then create a plan that takes you toward that desired end result.

This will involve setting both short-term and long-term goals, each of which take you closer to reaching your primary goal in life. Obviously you will need to earn a certain amount of money along the way to reach your goals, so my intention is not to undermine the quest to make money. Just to note that while it does have its place in the grand scheme of things, its not money itself that makes people 'happy'.

With that out of the way, two questions come to mind:

What does money buy? and What does make you happy?

Some of the things that come to mind, just off the top of my head, when I look at those two questions are:

Money buys you choices. It gives you freedom. It allows you to stop working at what you have to do, and start working on what you want to do. For one person that might mean leaving a 60 hour/week factory job to open their own antique store. For another that might mean having the time and money to finish that novel and get their book published and properly promoted.

Money and Time are both precious commodities that seem to go hand in hand. If you had more time, you could earn more money. If you had more money, you could enjoy more of your time. What doesnt make sense is spending all of your time trying to make money.

Money buys things that decrease stress in your life. Does less stress mean you are more happy? Sure. A bigger home or a separate office, more room to live and work. Employees, assistants, outsourcing to help you free up your time. Peace of mind about financial matters so that you can focus on more productive things...

What is it that really makes us happy? At the core it's love and family and health and home. Outside of that it's the things that money can buy - time to enjoy life, lack of stress, a sense of accomplishment, purpose.

Your thoughts are welcomed...

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Jennifer Hadorn says:

    Happiness is not an object, but more of a feeling or an abstract concept. It's different for every person. Can money buy happiness? I'd have to say, no, not directly.

    It can buy the creature comforts of life that contribute to happiness, such as a home, clothes, cars, food. It's certainly nice to have when it comes time to pay the bills. :P

    I would certainly be happier if I were debt free and could enjoy my life without the pressure of bills and "work" looming.

  2. I think the turning point for me in regards to money was reading the "Millionaire Mind" by Thomas Stanley. It takes an empirical view of true "milionaires" and dispels most of the myths surrounding them. The media and advertisers have done a great job creating a facade of what the rich are supposed to be like, but the research and statistics compiled by Stanley provides a much more accuate picture.

    For starters, the majority of millionaires in America are entrepreneurs - not a big suprise there, but only a small percentage are doctors, attorneys and other higher earning professions. Most millionaires drive modestly priced cars, have homes with a value far below a "mansion" and the overwhelming majority went to state schools - not Ivy league ones. Also interesting was that most had been married over 20 years.

    The most interesting distinction drawn in the book relates to how most people think of "rich". Are you rich if you make $400,000 / year but spend ever dime of it, or make $100,000 / year and save half of it? True millionaires tend to be quite thrifty and a surprising number in Stanley's book shop at Costco or other related warehouse stores.

    In the ranking of what was there most important attribute for their success, doing what they love for a living was one of the highest rated responses. Getting paid for what you love to do has to be one of the greatest forumulas for happiness I've ever seen. ;)

    I learned my lesson about "buying" happiness when I was 25. All through college, I thought the goal was to get out, get a job and start buying some "toys". By the time I was 25, I was getting paid very well and bought a brand new, red Mazda RX7 with turbo and every other gadget they could stick on it. It was no Ferrari, but it was my dream car and was bound to make me deliriously happy.

    Well, by the second week driving around with my sunroof open and tunes blasting, I really wanted to ditch this thing and get my old car back. I wasn't any happier driving this thing and the new $365 / month payment did bolster my happiness either. ;)

    I've come to understand that happiness truly is an "inside" job and that money's greatest benefit is not the toys it can buy, but the freedom and independence - that's what drives me...

  3. Great article Lynn!

    What is happiness anyway?

    An electro/chemical state.

    And where is happiness exactly?

    In our brains.

    Our whole consumer culture, trillions upon trillions of dollars of economic effort, is based on pursuing this inner electro/chemical state indirectly, through the pursuit of objects and situations outside our brain.

    It's logical to wonder whether it might be more efficient to approach our goal directly, by focusing our attention on the brain, the one and only place happiness will ever exist for any us, no matter who we are or what we are doing.

    Happiness is a thought, a favorable comparison between one situation and another.

    The problem of course is that no matter what our situation, it could always be different, so our brain tends to compare itself out of happiness, no matter how rich we are.

    And all of us reading this are already RICH, RICH, RICH, based on any reasonable geographical or historical comparison.

    A more durable goal might be peace, that is an end to the process of comparision. An end to thought itself, except when required for purely mechanical matters.

    An honest look at our consumer culture economy reveals that it's purpose is to endlessly create comparisons and want. Whatever we have already, it's not enough, we must have more. More, more, and more.

    As online sellers we are in the business of pointing people away from the inner towards the outer, away from enough and peace, and towards the endless chase of more.

    Happiness is a dangerous subject.

    If we're serious about it, we may discover that sitting in a lawn chair in the woods all day, and learning to love what we already have, is what that seriousness requires.

    Happiness could be the worst thing that ever happens to your online business. :-)

  4. I just saw an excellent piece on this exact topic yesterday - a documentary titled "I'm Fine, Thanks". A group of guys toured the country, interviewing people who had (to sum it up quickly) pursued a high paying job because they thought that money would buy them happiness. Each interviewee was over-worked and stressed past their limits so they could afford an elaborate "something". It really makes you think about society and the pressure to have money. The movie itself is not free ($5 at this time) but it is well done and really makes you think about we tend to sacrifice our entire lives in exchange for the "American dream".

    Great thoughts from you too, as always, Lynn. Thank you!

  5. I believe happiness is a state of mind (partly) derived from having the freedom to do/be/have what matters to you.
    Could I 'buy' a lot of that? Absolutely!

    • Great point, Bo - and well said in very few words! "What matters to you" is different for everyone. I think the key is figuring out what DOES matter to you specifically. Not based on external influences, but really digging deep. I've done a lot of thinking on this over the last few years, and have been very proactive on my decisions...
      Lynn Terry recently posted..What Motivates You? Self Motivation Is...My Profile

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