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Your Take: Do You Think Money Can Buy Happiness?

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money!We’ve covered the issue of money buying happiness a few times in the past (just look at the Related Posts below and you’ll see a few fine examples). However, the last time we even mentioned it was several years ago and there’s new research! There is always new research… the question is whether that research says anything new.

This one does.

The study looked at the question of “satiation.” In plain English, they simply wondered if there was ever a point in which you earned “enough” to be happy. If you earned enough where your basic needs were met, like food and shelter, would you be happier if you continued to make more. Is there a point at which you no longer happier?

Some people have likened it to air. It’s no fun when you don’t have enough to breathe but you really don’t gain extra by have more air. Well, the results of the study suggest that the answer is that there is no point at which your happiness stops. The richer you get, the happier you are about it.

Do you think that’s true?

(Credit: stevendepolo)

{ 29 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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29 Responses to “Your Take: Do You Think Money Can Buy Happiness?”

  1. I don’t know that I’d necessarily say that the richer you are the happier you are. I think that might be generally true but difficult to apply to all situations. I think there are many other things that come into play like family life, job satisfaction and so forth.

  2. I think that it’s very hard to measure happiness across cultures, period. What people define as happy and the value they put on it really varies from place to place. The study would have made more sense if they’d stuck to a single country.

  3. Michelle says:

    This is something that I’ve been thinking about A LOT lately. At what point do I stop working my main job along with so many side hustles and just concentrate on the side hustles that I love?

  4. I think happiness is more related to simplicity than money. Starting at zero, having money first makes life simpler, and so makes us happier. But at some point money starts making life more complicated and stressful, usually. At least for me, I think my happiness would peak at some level of wealth, then likely gradually decrease with even more wealth.

  5. I agree more so with the other study which said that at some level, having more money wouldn’t increase your happiness. There is definitely a correlation between happiness and money. You need money to provide for your basic needs like housing and food. Money to pay for vacations, money to go visit family and friends and to buy certain luxuries probably does increase your happiness. But when you have a certain amount of money, more money probably won’t affect your happiness as much. I don’t necessarily agree with the other study that says $75,000 is the cutoff. That probably depends on where you live.

  6. I am happier, healthier, respected more by others, when I have money, or thought to have money, being out on the street is not fun, mansions, country clubs, beach vacations are fun. I work for money, that makes me happy. Money makes me happy, with what I can buy with it.

  7. JV says:

    What is happiness? Who is setting the rules to this? When is enough, actually enough? We always want more $, it’s never enough. You need to sit back and praise God everyday for wherever you are at in this life. If you do not work, you do not eat. I take this as work hard, and God will provide. Period. Be happy wherever you are at. Read the bible in 2 Thess. 3:10….
    “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

  8. I think there are several factors that happiness depends on, but I do believe money is one of them. Increased wealth can make you happier because:

    1) It takes away some short term worries from being able to feed your kids today to making next month’s rent or mortgage payment. So that reduces some stress factors.

    2) It allows you to outsource mundane tasks that can form a real drag on life if you don’t enjoy them, this ranges from yard maintenance to food preparation to doing your dishes and laundry to actual wealth management. This leaves you with more time for the things that you do enjoy.

    3) It enables you to compete by purchasing. This is a materialistic perspective, but for many people it counts. These people want to drive a nicer car than their neighbors, have the biggest house in the family etc. It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment.

    There is a caveat though: if more more money requires more time allocated to work and very stressful work, it might not pay off as well. In that case you are just shifting your sources of stress.

    Finally, are there wealthy people who are unhappy? Most likely yes. That is because there are other factors that contribute to happiness, such as the feeling that your life has meaning.

  9. AMP says:

    Continuing the air analogy, I guess it’s the difference between breathing city air, then getting out into purer country air. Or, y’know, huffing pure oxygen at a casino.

  10. bloodbath says:

    I do believe money can buy happiness. I’m happiest on exotic vacations where I discover new cuisine and see sights that are beautiful in my eyes. The more I discover the happier I am and I cannot discover the exotic, the interesting the pleasurable feelings of a new scene without money (and lots of it).

  11. Christian L. says:

    Maybe money isn’t the right word. Reading all the comments, I’d replace the word happiness with comfort. Does more money make you more comfortable? Most likely. But that only has so much to do with your happiness.

    I look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (which I’m surprised nobody has yet mentioned). There are only so many things to satisfy. What else do you actually need after that?

    I met a kid from Kuwait once whose father made a fortune in phone systems. The kid, Omar, had everything: a boat, ATVs, a Hummer, Sea-Doos, a beach house with a chef and maid and more. I asked him, “Are you happy? Does it make you happy to have that stuff?”

    He said, “No way, man. I’m bored. Come to Kuwait with me because I have nobody to share it with.”

    I’d much rather be rich in friends than in money.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  12. I think it all depends on the person. Some people need to realize that having more isn’t really the answer. We live in a fairly small home and while it might be nice to have a bigger fancier house it wouldn’t necessarily make me happier. We all need the basics but everyone has a different definition of what the basics include. Once I think people realize it’s not the things we have that make us happy but the people around us and the things we do in our life.

  13. admiral58 says:

    i think it can buy happiness

  14. Kimmie K says:

    I think having a supportive, loving family & friends is better than having a lot of riches.

  15. Shirley says:

    I think attitude counts a lot more toward happiness than money does, especially once your basic needs are affordable. I can’t even imagine not having any goals or not having something to look forward to. I certainly wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now if I was bored.

    I agree with Jennifer: “it’s not the things we have that make us happy but the people around us and the things we do in our life.”

  16. Shafi says:

    I come from a third world country, many folks there live on less than $2 a day. They are some of the happiest people. Money may give you physical comfort but not necessarily mental comfort.

    • Robert says:

      You are absolutely correct. A famous person once said, “life does not consist in the abundance of things one possesses” Author -Jesus

  17. I think about money buying happiness on and off. I do think it buys happiness. Going past the basic needs. I’m much happier when I can afford better quality. I would also be happier if I got to the point I needed medical care and could afford the best care…

  18. elloo says:

    YES. It buys better food, healthcare, and housing for a better life. It buys better education for a better future. So, YES.

  19. daenyll says:

    Money can buy comfort and allow for taking an opportunity when it comes along, these things can lead to happiness. But money itself doesn’t necessarily buy happiness.

  20. Paul Friar says:

    The happiest time in my life was also the time when I was on the lowest wage I had ever earned.

    It was before the UK had a minimum wage, and the day it was introduced I suddenly got an enforced 20% pay rise – that’s how low paid we were! I didn’t suddenly get 20% happier though.

    Luckily I never spent much back then, and so despite the low hourly rate, I always had cash in the bank, I just ignored it.

    Just a few years later when I was on triple the hourly rate I was at least three times unhappier, if that makes sense. I was also spending it faster trying to make myself happier, which didn’t work either!

    I guess the happiness money gives you is much like beauty, and is really in the eye of the beholder.

  21. Robert says:

    You can buy happiness if you know where to shop..

  22. Tom Gorski says:

    Yes for me you strike a chord between earning money and being responsible to your conscience and you are happy!

  23. Ray says:

    I like the theory that money buys security. You have less things you have to do (for survival), and are allowed to do more things that you want to do. So in that sense, more money should equate to more happiness, but in reality there are many more factors that we are constrained to.

    The price of goods, each individual’s conversion rate from goods to happiness, and our own lifespan are some that limit how much happiness we can accumulate.

  24. Jose says:

    Money may not be the only driver to make someone happier but having enough money to take care of your needs and creature comforts paves the way to be able to be happy. I can’t imagine being happy if I had to live in a cardboard box and eat catfood, lol.

  25. Trish says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments, money can buy security in life and in a future. But I think with too much money, there comes other issues that can turn life sour. Money can sometimes tear families apart.

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