Can Money Buy Happiness?
Thu, April 22, 2021

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Does money influence both measures? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. This is the very reason why life satisfaction and emotions need to be studied thoroughly / Photo by: Dean Drobot via 123RF

 

It depends.

Researchers use two concepts rooted in behavioral economics to measure happiness: how people perceive their lives and how they live their lives. Oftentimes, how a person contemplates their life is so distinct from how they live their life. Does money influence both measures? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. This is the very reason why life satisfaction and emotions need to be studied thoroughly.

 

Facts and Figures

Nobel laureates Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton found that the more money Americans make, the higher they rate their lives. This being said, if happiness is seen as how people live, then money makes people happier. However, delving deeper into the study, it revealed that Americans improve their emotional well-being by earning more money up to a certain threshold of income: $75,000. This amount takes one to the top level of emotional happiness; anything beyond this will not gain long-term happiness.

The finding was corroborated by researchers from the University of Purdue and the University of Virginia who found that the worldwide emotional wellbeing limit was priced to around $60,000 to $75,000. The finding implies that there is a satisfaction point with respect to money and that being too rich may actually make life a little miserable. Having a life is not really about getting rich.

Similarly, the Gallup World Poll identified income to be closely linked to happiness to a certain point. With more than 1.7 million individuals as study participants, the poll found the emotional wellbeing satiation pegged at $60,000 to $75,000. The poll also showed that incomes beyond satiation levels are associated with lower life evaluations in some regions of the world. The findings implied that money affects happiness by fulfilling needs and material desires up to a certain extent.

Why Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Money can buy wonderful things from concert tickets of a favorite band to trendy Gucci bag and clothes to delicious food in famous restaurants to 7-star hotel accommodations. However, in spite of people’s obsession with money, happiness remains elusive.

Real happiness does not come with a price tag. It cannot be determined by how much or how little money one has. However, there are moments when we feel that this is not utterly correct and that money and happiness are connected.

The financial industry continues to push money and happiness as warm, close relations when in fact they are only distant relatives. As studies show, once basic needs are met, the positive effects of money become less important.

Certainly, having enough money reduces financial anxiety, but experts say that people are less happy once they are over the threshold of emotional wellbeing. Making more can lower life satisfaction and even spiral off webs of discontent.

In addition, money can’t buy happiness because earning more equates to greater responsibilities. More so, it lowers the time and energy between work and other important aspects of living. This can signify longer working hours and more immense tasks consequently resulting in poor quality moments with family and friends.

Let us be conscious of the thin line between adequacy and overindulgence. Let us know when to stop and be satisfied. There and only then can we be happy.

Real happiness does not come with a price tag. It cannot be determined by how much or how little money one has / Photo by: A. Singkham via 123RF

 

So When Can Money Buy Happiness?

It is not fun to be broke. In fact, it is too stressful to be constantly in debt, worrying from day to day about the bills to be paid and how to cover personal and family needs. On the flip side, having enough money can make living a lot easier and pleasurable. Here are some ways money can temporarily buy happiness:

• Money can avert depression. Study reveals that people in poverty have more health problems including depression. If people have enough money, they may not be so stressed out and live happier lives.

• Money can afford a good education. People want the best education for themselves and for their loved ones. Money can make this a reality. Getting a good education from top universities can land you and your family with well-paying jobs. This is happiness, right?

• Money reduces financial stress. People are free from tensions of the recurring bills, loans, and credits. Being at peace contributes to having happier lives.

It is not fun to be broke. In fact, it is too stressful to be constantly in debt, worrying from day to day about the bills to be paid and how to cover personal and family needs / Photo by: dolgachov via 123RF

 

• Money can make people more mobile. People dream of traveling and enjoying places outside of the home. Seeing and actually experiencing these beautiful places increase pleasure. And in case of broken relationships, you can move on better by easily packing your bags for another place to heal in. Stressful situations can be dealt with better when we have money.

• Money gives a good sense of feeling of being able to spend on loved ones. Seeing and making other people happy give you satisfaction and pleasure. Buying gifts for loved ones spell happiness for you. Studies suggest that people feel happier when spending money on others rather than on selves.

• Money can earn you more friends. Research has shown that money provides more opportunities to connect to various types of people and events. Social connections are easier to come by and enjoy.

• Money buys what you want. No more scrimping needed. The material things are now at your easy reach. Happiness may be short-lived, but it is still happiness.

As food for thought, let us remember that having money can make us feel secure, make us smile for a while but cannot bring us true and lasting happiness.