There’s much debate over whether or not money can buy happiness. The Wall Street Journal recently posted a rather interesting article on this very topic. The study found that as incomes rise, happiness and overall satisfaction with life increase. In fact, 100% of those making over $500K a year consider themselves “very happy” and “very satisfied” with life.
A previous study by Princeton University found that happiness did not increase much once annual household income reached $75,000. So if you’re making $75,000 now and you get a raise or pick up a side job and increase your income to $125,000, don’t expect to feel that much happier.
I get that. Our household income will probably be right around $75K this year. If we both do well with our businesses and our income hits $100K, I really don’t see us being that much happier than we already are. But, I do still believe that money can buy happiness and here’s why:
Can money buy happiness? Hell yes!
I don’t think money buys happiness in the sense that it allows you to purchase more “stuff.” Does stuff really make you happy? I know for me it does not. Sure, I love iced coffee from Starbucks and while I would really love to fill up my house with furniture, I know that this would not make me any happier than I already am. “Stuff” is exciting when you first buy it, and that’s it. Even our new car that we bought last year boosted our happiness immensely for about…a week? (And we’re paying on it for years…). More stuff just isn’t my definition of happy. Money can buy me happiness because it would allow me:
To me, freedom is happiness. Freedom to not work, freedom to travel, freedom to spend time with family and friends in Arizona, freedom to spend more quality time with my husband and my daughters, heck even freedom to have another baby if we wanted to. I don’t care about decorating my house from the Pottery Barn catalog or wearing brand-name, high fashion clothes. What I do care about is living my life to its’ fullest.
To Give Back
I know we could donate money on our current income and I understand that even small amounts do make a difference, but if money were not an issue, we could really give back in ways that would have more of an impact on the world. If you ask happy people one of the main reasons why they’re so happy, it’s probably because they spend their time helping others – whether that’s through donating their time or donating their money (or both). Stepping outside of your comfort zone and focusing on something other than yourself is a proven way to increase happiness. I would love to comfortably be able to donate to the causes that I believe in.
This goes along with having freedom, but with more money would come more opportunities to travel. I’ve talked before about traveling in an RV across the country and if my husband and I didn’t “need” jobs, we would pack up and leave tomorrow. North Carolina is where I want my “home base” to be, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t want to spend months at a time in a different location. I’d love to explore the NW and NE regions of the US, visit Arizona from mid-November through New Years, go on a cruise, spend a month or two on the Caribbean and eventually make my way overseas. I would homeschool my girls from wherever we were (yes, I already have this mapped out in my mind).
To Save More
I love saving money. I’m one of those weirdos that would rather save money than spend it. I’ve been like this pretty much my entire life. I eat cheap, I rarely buy clothes and I am always on the hunt for a deal. I ask for a discount more often than I’d like to admit – it’s to the point where it’s embarrassing my husband. Yesterday I actually asked for a discount on my daughter’s $6 prescription. I know…I know. (And for those of you wondering, I did not get it, haha.) If we made more money, I would be able to save my little heart out while still enjoying freedom from work, giving back and traveling.
So, those are the reasons money can buy happiness. It’s not for more stuff. It’s not for a bigger house. It’s not so I could travel around the world on a private jet. It’s simply so I could not worry or stress about money and live my life doing exactly as I please.
What do you think? Can money buy happiness?
Note: If you’re looking to increase your earnings or are wanting to change your thoughts on money, I highly recommend the books The Millionaire Next Door and Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I read both of these books before starting my blog. While I’ve always been good with money, these books have completely changed the way I view it. For example, do you view your house as an asset or a liability? Poor people view it as an asset, rich people view it as a liability. Rental properties, on the other hand, can be viewed as assets because they make you money. These books will help you focus on purchasing assets instead of liabilities so you can have more money and therefore, more freedom.