There are many different theories and opinions about the relationship between money and happiness. Many studies have been done in this area and there is not complete agreement on the conclusions. However, statistics have shown that household income does play a direct role in a person’s emotional happiness and quality of life.
So, does money buy us happiness? Well, I would argue that those statistics aren’t wrong – money can make a tremendous difference in our quality of life. And that fact alone can give us a sense of satisfaction and provide a sense of well-being.
We’ll likely be less stressed and anxious about the future if we have money saved plus extra financial resources can give us power and freedom to experience some things in life that might not be possible without those financial resources. But, unless other areas of our life are making us happy, it’s doubtful that having excess income will change our life for the better over the long-term.
One reason that money may not be the ultimate tool to achieving lasting happiness is due to the fact that there is always someone with more money than us – especially when we travel in affluent circles. Oftentimes, we fail into the comparison game and become dissatisfied by not having “more”.
Another reason is that earning more money doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll enjoy our life more. We may have to spend even more time working to keep those riches or to increase what we have, forever reaching for the next rung on the ladder of success. It’s often an illusion to think that a job or promotion that brings in more income will be used to have fun and provide time to relax, in fact, oftentimes it’s quite the opposite.
Have you ever noticed that a new home, car or wardrobe often brings happiness but only for fleeting periods of time? One luxurious possession leads to another – do you find yourself working harder and ever longer hours to bring home the bacon?
Once our basic needs (okay our expanded basic needs) are met, most women today understand that more money, a luxurious home and car and world-wide travels won’t bring them the ultimate happiness they desire. So, why do we work so hard to achieve and buy more things?
The truth is that when we achieve a certain status and have the commensurate income that lets us enjoy certain luxuries in life, we do find ourselves satisfied with what we’ve achieved and the things we have in our life, evidence in part that we have “made it” or “arrived”.
But, without good health (for ourselves and our loved ones), those things will never bring true happiness. And, when other areas of our life, such as your self-esteem, body image and relationships aren’t going well, no amount of money will truly give us the peace and happiness we desire.
So, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to earn a good living and have nice things. But, let’s take some time to consider the rest of the puzzle; the things that bring lasting happiness. We just may find that money may not be as critical a factor as originally thought. And that’s where the true power and choice lies because it’s in that awareness that we can spend our time and energy pursuing those areas/things that will return the greatest level of happiness.
So here’s the question for today: Where do you want to spend more of your energy and focus this week, month and year?