Question of the Day – Can Money Buy Happiness?

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I have had a title for a post sitting in my draft folder for a while. I was going to tackle a question that comes up every now and then…can money buy happiness? I mulled it over and thought I had an answer. I opened up the computer to write my thoughts down, then I’d think of another point that countered what I was thinking. I can’t make heads or tails with my thoughts.

Instead of letting the idea get deleted since I can’t seem to form a solid opinion one way or the other, I thought I would ask all of you what you think. It could lead to some interesting discussion.

What do you think? Can Money Buy Happiness?


37 Comments

  • Reply brainy |

    Yes. Money can buy comfort, and for me, that will bring happiness.

    Of course, I’m pretty sure I’ve answered this same question differently on my site, but right here, right now, my answer is… yes. :0)

  • Reply Marie |

    I think money can buy relief, free time, and some other stuff that can create an environment where you can create your own happiness. I think not having money can definetly lead to misery but I think having money can only create more opportunities for you to be happy.

  • Reply Maniac |

    This is a question that has been debated since money has been around. YES, money can buy happiness. Money can buy freedom, which in turn can lead to happiness. Freedom from worrying about the bills, medical expenses, housing expenses, credit card debts and all of the stress that comes with everyday expenses.

  • Reply nygirl |

    My answer is no, plain and simple. It may make life easier but it won’t buy you health or a happy family life.

  • Reply Dawn |

    I vote no. I think having money changes your problems and worries. It would be very difficult to have a large sum of money tied up in the stock market right now!

  • Reply Ness |

    I think it can increase happiness – to a point, but the point may be different for different people. For me, my happiness will increase with the money I have until I am debt free and own a house and have enough passive income to pay my bills and food.

    After I have acheived that, my happiness is only dependant on my self-fulfillment and my relationships. Prior to acheiving it, my happiness is still dependant on those things, but on money as well.

  • Reply Penny |

    It usually takes money to pursue a dream, and in my book the pursuit of dreams is happiness. I frequently think about this when I’m buying something I use to practice a hobby.

    And it bought me a very nice little Dachshund companion who has definitely increased my quality of life.

  • Reply Krista |

    Money can but security and peace of mind but I don’t think it can buy happiness. I know of people who live below or barely above the poverty line that are happier than people living well above that.

    Money is black and white (either you have it or you don’t) but happiness is subjective (what makes me happy may not make you happy).

  • Reply JC |

    Money can’t buy happiness. It can offer some sort of security, but in the end its what we do for others that brings true happiness.

  • Reply Rob in Madrid |

    I always say “The Rich maybe no happier than the poor but being poor still sucks” Stupid I know but I’ve never had a chance to use it. :)

  • Reply A.B. |

    I think that money itself can’t buy happiness. You can have millions of dollars but still make poor choices with your time. The constant worry about money is not specific to being very rich or very poor. Money can buy the ability to enjoy certain luxuries or freedoms, but it can’t change the person with the pocketbook.

  • Reply Andy @ Retire at 40 |

    Since I have cut out a lot of spending, unnecessary things and changed my life to be a lot simpler, I have also been a lot happier. Therefore to me, the two things are not related. I’m sure there are a lot of sad but rich people out there.

  • Reply Twiggers |

    Yup.

    Money can buy health (it can buy the medicines, the doctors visits, the hospital visits, etc. that prolong your life or let you die without suffering horribly).

    Money can buy all the things you need in life to take away your worries (car, house, food, health care).

    Money CANNOT, on the other hand, buy love or keep a marriage together.

    Money can also lead to much unhappiness.

    But, did you know, that many studies show that happiness usually leads to success and thus more money? Previously, psychologists (such as myself) thought that success = happiness…but new research is showing that it is the other way around (happy people are more motivated, etc. etc.)

    So maybe the quote should be: Can happiness get you money?

  • Reply Sammy |

    Definitely no.

    It can buy things, but not feelings – and definitely not happiness.

    Even poor people, although suffering, can be happy. Rich people can buy anything their hearts desire, but many don’t have happiness.

  • Reply Mike |

    I think studies have shown that money does equal more happiness, but only up to a certain point. And once you’ve reached that point, it doesn’t make much difference.

    Also, people are more likely to be made happy by increases in income, but after a short period of time become used to the new income level, and settle back to their previous level of happines.

  • Reply matt |

    I think you first need to define happiness. If it’s just a passing phase then of course money can buy happiness. If it’s a state of life then no, it cannot buy happiness.

    I just switched from independant contractor to employee after 4+ years with the same company, I took a 50% paycut but accepted the benefits of full time employement. I am very happy with less money.

    The larger amount of money let me do things that we might have needed to put off for a while like a new car and furnace (paid with cash) but the underlying nagging of not being an employee had it’s down sides.

    matt

  • Reply Amber C |

    I don’t think money can actually buy happiness but I think that without money the stress and strain can prevent you from having the joy and happiness in the mundane things.

  • Reply Cos |

    i’d want the problem of having money and trying to determine if it buys happiness. i’ll speculate that it does and hope to find out first hand some day in the future. the very first comment put it best: “Money can buy comfort, and for me, that will bring happiness.” replace “comfort” with whatever you want, but the important part of the statement is “for me.”

    if cars make you happy and money gets you cars: happy.
    if a nice house with a pool makes you happy and money gets you that nice house with a pool: happy

    add to all this the complexities of managing a large sum of wealth and i still say GIVE ME THAT PROBLEM TO SOLVE!

  • Reply Jenn |

    No, money can’t buy happiness. I thought it could, but now I’m in debt, and money’s tight.

    In these stressful times, the only place I want to be is spending time with the people I love because that’s when I’m happy. Not with all my stuff, but with these wonderful people who don’t require me to have money. We could be in a tent in a field trying to survive and as long as they were all there, I’d be happy.

  • Reply DebtLessDuty |

    I am like Tricia……my answer is Yes and No. Money does not change who you are or who you love. However, it does afford you “Stuff or Things” to make life easier. But, in the end…..when our life comes to a close….you can’t take “Stuff” with you to heaven. Sorry, I know I am riding the fence on this one.

    DLD

  • Reply Loren |

    Yes and no. Money can alieviate, it can bring comfort and it can create what you make of it.

    The true question here is to ask what happiness is? If money brings you sustained, lasting JOY, then perhaps it can bring happiness, but I think this is not usually the case.

    I read somewhere that each person has a certian level of happiness and it peaks and dips during certain events in life, but that you will always come back to your medium point. I also read that having money (when previously not) can really show your true colors. For some people, this isn’t good. I also think that the value or importance you place on money can make you extremely happy or extremely sad. It’s up to the power that you give it, I guess.

    Anyway, I have two screaming little ones playing in the bathroom, so I guess I better see what “happiness” they’ve created.

  • Reply Sara |

    I think that happiness is a state of mind, and money can help provide opportunities to be in that state of mind. But ultimately, I think it depends on the person.

    Example: My husband made 6 figures at a job that worked him 6 days a week, over 12 hours a day. He was exhausted and cranky, and overall hated his life (to say it bluntly). Because of that job we saved money and paid down debt, etc., and were able to live in a more comfortable fashion. He recently took a different job with a dramatic pay cut but less hours and less days. He is already happier. But, because of the first high paying job we were able to afford to go on vacation and do several fun activities on vacation. We love to travel and experience new things together, and are definately happy when able to do this together.

    So… I do believe it is possible to be happy without money. But I also think that that it can afford you opportunities to reach that state of mind a bit easier.

  • Reply KF |

    We don’t need to guess about this, as there is much research on the topic. In the U.S., more money tends to increase happiness up to earning approximately $55,000 per year. After this amount, it makes no difference. Essentially, you need enough to have your basic needs (and a little comfort) met. After that, more money does not equal more happiness. And, of course, you can’t buy the most important things in life. Also, getting more money can lead to less happiness, because then some people never stop wanting more and more and more and more. They don’t find contentment and they don’t realize where to look for real contentment.

    Also, there are several studies that rank countries by a happiness index ever year. Lots of very poor, developing countries have populations that are a lot happier than the U.S. In fact, Americans have been getting less happy over the decades. We are doomed to continue to get less happy as long as we define what we want by what those “above” us have.

  • Reply fit wallet |

    I say yes, it can. If my house was paid off and my debts eliminated, I would feel an overwhelming sense of relief. Would it solve all my problems? Of course not. But it sure would be nice to know that 100% of my paycheck was for me and my family–not the debtors. It would also be nice to feel secure in taking a vacation, making home repairs, etc without worrying so much about how it will affect my bottom line.

    It’s not black and white, though. There are unhappy rich people and happy poor people.

  • Reply Aya @ Thrive |

    Sure, happy to the extent that you can have every “thing” you want. No, if you’re swimming in money but don’t have any sort of goal in life or have anyone you love and all that good stuff money can’t buy. Then again, it may be cynical to say, money could help you achieve your goals and pretty you up to find love, so I think it’s debateable…I’m one of those people that would choose emotional happiness over financial happiness, but being completely broke would make me emotionally unhappy too. It’s a slippery slope, I suppose.

  • Reply Deby |

    What was the line in “Psycho”? Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy off unhappiness. It’s what you do with the money that determines your happiness. If you blow a wad at the racetrack you’re likely to experience short term joy, but probably not long term happiness. But, if you use your money to put a roof over your head, food on the table and make your creditors satisfied, the relief of being able to make sure you can meet your obligations can bring about its own form of happiness, and leave you free to pursue other forms of happiness.

  • Reply Lou |

    My experience has been that an money helps with the lack of money. If you spent more than you make, it will never be enough. The best thing about having more money than you need to survive is that you do not need to worry about not having enough money. It does not provide happiness but it helps get you most of the way there.

  • Reply Abigail |

    I think it depends.

    If you’re unhappy, money won’t buy you happiness. But if you’ve got a good life other than being continually worried about finances, then yes money would be the missing ingredient.

    I think it’s important to remember that money is a means to an end, not the end itself. If you can keep that mindset, you’ll be okay.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    I’ve sure enjoyed reading the replies!

    I’m in the yes and no crowd.

    If you are a happy soul, money makes you even happier. You can buy more time, more comfort, more security and more health (through better health care, less stress, better diet.) Giving to others is a wonderful tonic and with money it is easy to do.

    If you are an unhappy soul, money will add to your unhappiness. You’ll worry about losing it, hoard, or worse keep buying to fill an empty feeling. This will lead to more stress which could reduce your health, if overindulgence didn’t already do so.

    What money does for me is free me from making the difficult moral choices. Would I steal or sell my body to feed my child? Would I leave an abusive relationship?

    Because I have the security of money, am I in a position to judge those who have harder choices to make than I? Or to judge if I’m happier than someone who has little or nothing?

  • Reply Dragkon |

    Whoever loves money
    will never have enough money;
    Whoever loves wealth
    will not be satisfied with it.
    This is also useless.

    Ecclesiastes 5: 10

  • Reply Rachel |

    Yes, it can. It just can’t buy you love. Set your financial goals in alignment with your values and spend your money where it brings you satisfaction.
    Value: Good parent
    Financial goal: Pay for education
    Satisfaction: Watching your child go to college!
    Happiness :)

  • Reply girlndebt |

    YES!

    I have a husband that I adore, 2 beautiful daughters and a dog I just love. We have our happiness, our health and each other. Having money would give us the freedom to enjoy our time together and not have to work so much just to “get by”. I don’t want money for material things. I want it for time. I know money can not “buy time” but it can give me more time to be with my family.

    I believe if you are an unhappy person, money will do nothing for you. For people in my situation, money can only make life easier!

  • Reply Nick |

    I’ve been poor, I’ve been rich, I actually was content when I was poor. Living with in your means can actually make you feel better. I don’t know if more is always better, but we are constantly bombarded with messages that more is always better. Interesting question

So, what do you think ?

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