Can money really buy happiness? We’ve all heard the saying “money can’t buy happiness.” I’ve been thinking about this, and while I understand the sentiment behind the statement, I don’t think it’s necessarily true.
I’ve never been filthy rich, but I’ve also never lived in poverty. I’ve never had to worry about how I’m going to pay my rent, or where I’m going to find the money to buy groceries for the week. I credit this to a number of things:
1) I was lucky enough to have been born in a first-world country, to parents that worked hard, were very good with money, budgeted every last cent, and as such, provided myself and my sisters with a stable home environment. While we weren’t rich by any means, I don’t remember ever missing out the things I needed, and a lot of the things I wanted.
2) Since I was 14 years old, I have had a job. My first job was delivering and stacking newspapers, and selling lottery tickets, magazines, and cigarettes! I worked from 4pm-6pm every Thursday, and 9am-midday on Saturdays and I made $49.70 a week. Even during the periods of time when I wasn’t in paid employment (while I was living in Paris and didn’t have a work visa, and when I first moved to the United States and was job-searching) I was always looking for ways to make extra money through various different side hustles.
3) I have never gotten into any form of credit card or consumer debt (besides a mortgage.) While I wasn’t particularly good with money when I was younger (I got paid, felt rich, and spent it all) I never got into debt. I had friends who had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt by the time we were 21 years old – thank God I never did that! I have always paid cash for everything until I started using a credit card for the associated rewards, but I never carry a balance.
4) I married a man who works hard, has always been excellent at saving, and is as careful with money as I am. Because of this, we have never accumulated debt together.
I don’t say any of this to brag, it’s merely a reflection of the factors to which I attribute my financial stability.
However, I understand that many people aren’t in anywhere near of a financially stable position as what I’m in. For various reasons, (some of which may be their own fault, some of which may have been out their control) so many people are living in poverty, begging on the streets, having to move their family to a homeless shelter, using food stamps, taking out pay-day loans, etc.
Recently, as I was turning out of the parking lot after grocery shopping, I saw a homeless person sitting on the corner, asking for money. It just broke my heart to see, and while I understand that there are some shady characters that panhandle, this guy seemed so sad that I couldn’t help but to stop and give him a few dollars.
This leads me to the question I’ve been pondering, “Can money really buy happiness?”
While I don’t believe that money can buy happiness, I do believe that a lack of money can make a person unhappy.
[bctt tweet=”While I don’t believe that money can buy happiness, I do believe that a lack of money can make a person unhappy.” username=”ashlidsweat”]
Having more money means you don’t have to stress about how you’re going to pay your bills. It means you can take a vacation when you want to. It means you can surprise your children with a trip to Disneyworld. It means you can help others less fortunate than yourself. Having more money gives you more freedom.
It means being able to eventually escape the rat race and live the life of your dreams so you can be happy!
Money can’t make you happy if your unhappiness stems from other factors, but with more money comes more freedom, and there’s not much that’s better than feeling free.
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Rachel @ The Latte Budget says
Very thought-provoking question! I like to think money doesn’t buy me happiness, but it buys me security. Without money, I am stressed, worried, and scared. Money to buy “stuff” doesn’t make me happy, but having money and knowing I am secure and safe makes me happy.
You hit the nail on the head – I also don’t feel like “stuff” makes me happy, but being financially secure does.