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...