The old cliché is that money doesn’t buy happiness. What do you think? Does money buy happiness? Will you be happier with a higher income?
A survey by Wells Fargo showed that one in ten people from age 20-36 believe that money will make them happy. Over 2,300 people were asked what they most closely associate with happiness, and money was selected even over love and doing good in the world.
Wow! This belief for millennials is probably the result of having lived through the uncertainty of the Great Recession combined with growing up seeing the lavish lifestyles of the Kardashians or Real Housewives on reality tv.
Spoiler alert: Money doesn’t buy happiness or fulfill you.
Having more money won’t cure you of anxiety, depression, or going through a painful break-up. The rapper The Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.” Plus, time after time they’ve found that lottery jackpot winners lives get destroyed within years of winning millions upon millions.
If money doesn’t make you happier, then what’s the point? Why pay attention to your finances?
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but here’s three things money does buy.
Money Buys Security
Ever since I was a teenager, I always dreamed of being a millionaire. I saw a chart of a teenager investing a small amount each month for about a decade and then completely stopping, but able to retire a millionaire because of compound interest. I was hooked. If you haven’t started investing yet, here’s three things that may be holding you back.
It wasn’t a dream to being able to have more material things, but instead to feel secure about being able to have my most basic psychological needs like food, shelter, and clothing taken care of.
I’ve written before about how I’m like a magnet for things going wrong. My car has broken down multiple times, and I’m no stranger to the ER.
Having an emergency fund, money set aside for tough times, makes me feel secure and confident I can take care of my health needs and endure hard times/emergencies. Here’s more on why you need an emergency fun. Also, investing for retirement makes me feel secure that I won’t have to work until the day I die or rely on social security.
Money Buys Freedom
People stay in jobs with bosses that they despise because they need the paycheck. For me the biggest driver in getting my finances in order is to have options and free will to live my life how I want to. Before starting The Finance Plan, I had a small business doing home security systems, I enjoyed it, but it was not how I wanted to spend my entire career and life.
Getting my financial house has given me the freedom to pursue my passion: writing, teaching, and speaking about finance.
Here’s a quote about money and freedom from Tony Robbins:
Many people make the mistake of thinking that all the challenges in their lives would dissipate if they just had enough money. Nothing could be further from the truth. Earning more money, in and of itself, rarely frees people. It’s equally ridiculous to tell yourself that greater financial freedom and mastery of your finances would not offer you greater opportunities to expand, share, and create value for yourself and others. —TONY ROBBINS
Money buys the ability to be generous
Having money has enabled me to be able to give thousands upon thousands of dollars to non-profits that I support and causes that I believe in. Giving is naturally something that makes me feel good and gives me joy.
Research shows that spending money for the good of others does make you happier than spending on yourself.
In addition to giving money, having your finances in order allows you to be generous with your time and volunteer.
Deep down inside if believing that money doesn’t buy happiness is an excuse for staying chained to debt, continuing to live paycheck to paycheck, or not saving for your future, then remember what money does buy. Money buys your security, freedom, and ability to be generous.
What do you think, does money buy happiness?