Can Money Buy Happiness?

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What is happiness? The most ambiguous question posed in the universe apart from “What is love?” is often associated with this question regarding money and whether the more you have the happier you will be. Well, can it? Is happiness for sale? Is there a store at the local shopping centre that trades happiness for some of your hard-earned cash?

Wikipedia define happiness as;

Happiness, pleasure or joy is the emotional state of being happy. The definition of happiness is one of the greatest philosophical quandaries. Proposed definitions include freedom from want and distress, consciousness of the good order of things, assurance of one’s place in the universe or society, inner peace, and so forth…

The first proposal in Wikipedia’s definition regards this very question, “…freedom from want and distress…” So, if money can free you from want then surely it must be able to buy you happiness! Right?

Financial freedom is the state most people chase. The ability to pay your own way with everything without ever having to check the credit card statement in fear and trepidation.

It’s why we set up pension funds, play the lottery, spend more time working than we do playing with our kids. We hope to one day be independent of a boss, of a budget, of any constraint that could limit our desire to be happy. To spend whenever we had the inclination.

Okay. This is just frivoluous spontaneity. It bursts onto the screens of our life for a short time and as quick as it came it goes. That’s a shallow expectation of happiness. I want happiness that survives time. Can money buy that?

If money can buy happiness, how much would I need and how much happy would it make me? I earned a couple more dollars this month on my AdSense account but it wasn’t even a blip on the happiness radar. So how much would I need?

John Silveira’s article “Money can buy happiness” says this…

How much do the experts say is enough? In a study conducted by Andrew Oswald and Jonathan Gardner at the University of Warwick, in Coventry, England, they discovered about 1.5 million tax-free American dollars moved most people into the top 2% on the happiness scale. Their study also revealed that, at the low end of the scale, each $75,000 moves one between 1/10 and 3/10 standard deviations (which is a measure of how statistical data is spread out) up the “happiness” scale.

I know John has a lot of statistical evidence showing that perhaps money CAN buy you happiness but for me the jury’s still out. I know a lot of people who earn less than A$20K per year who are happier than some with dual incomes earning A$100K per annum.

I think it has more to do with contentment and self-identity than it does with the amount of money you have or earn. If you’re striving to have more money and know that you’re not making it this will lead to all sorts of anxiety issues which will deprive you of happiness.

Maybe learning to be content and set achievable goals for our money is a key to happiness?

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Source by Stuart Robinson