Happiness is fleeting for a lot of people. Many folks out there are deeply unhappy and think the reason they’re unhappy is because they don’t have enough money.
Money can help contribute to a person’s happiness, but money can also be the root of all evil. More money might make your quality of life a little better, but money can’t buy happiness.
I know it sounds contradictory. But it’s true.
One one hand, having enough money can definitely make you feel better in your day-to-day life.
On the other hand, if you’re always chasing dollars, you’re not living the life you were meant to live.
But, what most people with this mentality don’t understand is that money can’t buy happiness. Many of the simple joys of life cannot be bought with money.
Throughout my life, I have continued to make/chase more and more money. I’m in a job now where I make a great living, but I’m miserable. It seems the more money I make, the less happy I am.
I’m getting ready to leave this high paid job to go out on my own where I stand to make much less. But I don’t care, and it’s all explained below.
When Money CAN Buy Happiness
Some people think they need millions of dollars to be happy. This isn’t the case. A study by Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton shows that once you reach an income of about $75,000 per year, any more money won’t have much of an impact on the happiness quotient in your life.
This is a LOT less than people think, and I have to admit I was surprised, too.
When you think about it, $75,000 isn’t that much money for an American family. Especially one living in an expensive area (ahem…San Diego).
So, to think that once you hit this income level, more money doesn’t have much of an impact on your happiness is surprising.
It makes sense though because if you’re making $75,000 you’ve pretty much got your bases covered. You’ve most likely purchased a home or you’ve got decent housing of some kind.
And while you’re probably not living large at this income level, you should be able to pay the bills and stay within a certain budget.
And I think that’s the key of the $75,000 mark. An income of $75,000 allows you to be financially secure. If you’re making less than $75K, then money is probably a struggle for you.
Maybe you’re living paycheck to paycheck and bouncing checks. But once you hit the $75,000 mark, your financial life improves.
You’re no longer stressing daily about money and you’re even able to save a chunk of cash.
Research shows that once you surpass the $75K mark, your day-to-day life doesn’t really improve.
Sure, you may have more stuff, but that stuff doesn’t bring happiness to your life. And that’s the thing, more money can’t buy happiness!
Reasons Why Money Can’t Buy Happiness
I’m not saying having money isn’t nice. Of course it is…but it’s not in itself what makes you happy.
I will honestly always try to make a decent amount of money, but have decided not to sacrifice my happiness and well being for a large paycheck.
Money Can’t Conquer The “If Only” Mindset
A lot of people have the mindset that if they made more money, they’d be happier.
But in reality, true happiness comes from within and extra money isn’t going to solve all your problems and make you happy. Many times, living a simple life will make you very happy.
It’s similar to the mindset of thinking that you’ll be happy one you lose 10 pounds.
But guess what, once you lose 10 pounds your life doesn’t suddenly turn magical. Your life is still your life.
With money, it’s the same thing. More money is great, to a point, but your life is still your life and money can’t buy happiness.
Money Can’t Buy You Time
If you’re like a lot of people, you think that once you start making more money, your life will be perfect. I’m here to tell you to think twice about this.
Sure, the new job that pays big bucks looks great on paper.
But you have to actually DO the job. Big jobs that pay well come with big headaches and usually super big time commitments. I speak from experience here!!
You’re essentially trading your time for your salary. And most big jobs will want you to work whenever they need you.
Sure, it may be *mostly* Monday through Friday hours, but believe me if you’re making six figures and something at work breaks, you’re going to get a phone call and you’re going to be expected to figure it out.
Regardless of what time it is. And it sucks. because even on vacation you’re still tied to your job.
If you know what you’re getting into, and are O.K. with forking over the predictability of a normal work schedule, then go ahead and take that big job.
But be prepared to work nights and weekends. A friend of mine has a fairly big job that pays mid six figures which is awesome, but she’s tied to her phone.
She’s on call 24 x 7. I’ve missed many nights out with her due to last minute conference calls. If she were to figure out her hourly salary it would be much, much less than what it is on paper.
I’d never do her job because I don’t want to be on call all the time and have my job run my life. But it’s worth it to her.
And it might be worth it to you, but know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. And don’t believe that the extra money will buy the happiness you’re looking for. It won’t!
Money Can’t Handle Your Responsibilities
If you have the money, you may think you want a bigger house. You may think that having a 5 4–5 bedroom, 4000 square foot house with a pool is exactly what you’ve always dreamed of.
Now that you can afford it, why not?
While owning a nice home is part of the American dream, bigger homes come with bigger responsibilities.
If you own a big home, you are responsible for taking care of the home which includes all the work of cleaning and maintaining it.
Sure, you can hire people to do this for you, but it’s still your responsibility to hire the right people and make sure the work gets done – and it costs money! If we’re trying to be frugal to reach financial freedom, it may be hard to justify hiring help.
Downsizing your home is definitely something to consider as having a large house isn’t going to make you happy.
This may sound hypocritical as I live in a large house myself. However, we chose to live in the outskirts of San Diego, where a larger sized house in the country is much less expensive than a condo in the city.
And we enjoy gardening and growing our own fruits and veggies, so it’s the perfect home for us well within our budget. The mortgage is only 15% of our monthly take-home pay.
More Money = More Decisions
You always have decisions to make about money; and the more money you have the more decisions you have to make.
The more money you have the more time you spend thinking about the money. You think about how to make more money, how to spend the money, how to protect the money, who to leave the money to when you pass. It’s all a bunch of financial chores and decisions!
The wealthy spend a lot of time and resources managing their money. Is that really what you want?
Or worse, you hear about athletes and movie stars who seemingly didn’t spend any time on their finances and are broke even though they made millions year after year.
Money is complicated and it needs your attention. It can be really stressful managing your money so this is another reason money can’t buy happiness.
In fact, I’d argue that having less money brings less stress and more happiness and peace of mind.
I have more than 5 bank accounts that I have to keep track of and it can be a lot of work sometimes. I am an accountant, so I enjoy managing money, but not everyone feels the same way.
Simplifying your money is the best way to go to avoid stress.
Money Can’t Buy Love
Love makes the world go round. If you have love in your life, you have everything. And love is something that money can’t buy.
The richest man in the world can try to woo someone with his money, but in the end, the relationship will only work if it’s true love.
Money might help but there’s no way to have a fulfilling relationship that’s not based on love. And no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy love.
Experiences Are More Important Than Money in The Bank
Life is all about experiences and people. While money in the bank is nice, it’s not really contributing to your quality of life.
Spending some of that money on fun experiences is one way money can buy some happiness. I am all about saving money to spend on travel and other fun experiences instead of stuff.
Our passion is to travel the world and eat food – so all our money goes to this and the experiences are honestly priceless.
And even when not traveling, a day walking the beach, having a picnic in the park, or just hanging out chatting are amazing experiences if you make them so.
So, spend some money on a few bucket list experiences and enjoy day to day life (it doesn’t cost money to have fun).
Money Can’t Buy Relationships
No matter how much money you have, if you don’t have genuine loving relationships in your life, you have nothing and you won’t be happy.
Take the time to develop and nurture meaningful relationships with those important to you.
Spend time with the people in your life that bring you joy!
The people in your life that really care about you don’t care whether you’re a millionaire or a pauper.
They love you for you.
These types of relationships are priceless and definitely not something money can buy.
Money Can’t Buy Purpose
Everyone needs a purpose in their life. Without a purpose, or a reason to get up in the morning, one really questions the meaning of life.
Spend time to discover what’s meaningful to you and how you want to spend your time. I am hugely passionate about food, which is why I chose to start a food blog business.
How do you want to make a difference? There’s a million different ways you can have a fulfilling life and leave your mark on society.
I recently bought a franchise that helps businesses save money while also reducing emissions on the road, which are two things I really believe in. So while I am busy, this work makes me feel happy.
Find out what makes you tick and figure out how you can make that happen. This will lead to true happiness and contentment.
Happiness Starts from Within
Who controls your happiness? No one but you. You’re solely and completely in charge of your happiness.
You may think that you can find happiness with material things and that the more bright and shiny objects you have, the happier you’ll be.
But things are just meaningless objects and another reason why money can’t buy happiness. You know that feeling when you buy something and you love it?
You’re happy for a few minutes/hours/days, but the happiness fades and it’s just another “thing.”
You’ll have to figure out your own path to true happiness, but people and meaningful work- not things will ultimately lead to your happiness.
Money Can’t Buy Peace of Mind
We’ve all had those sleepless nights where you’re just not able to sleep because something is weighing on your mind. I just had one last night.
You might be able to throw money at whatever it is, but chances are, money alone can’t fix the problem.
Rich or poor, you’ll have to deal with whatever is going on in your life that’s causing you anguish. Only after you confront the issue head on will you have true peace of mind.
This may mean talking through a problem with a loved one, handling a problem at work, or having that difficult conversation with a friend.
Money can’t fix this.
So, you can see that there’s many different reasons money can’t buy happiness. Once you get to around $75,000 in income, money really won’t improve the quality of your life that much.
It’s up to you to create the life you want to make yourself happy.
Comment below and let me know what makes you happy – is it money?