Can Money Really Buy You Happiness?

Time and again, we find ourselves wondering: Can money buy you happiness? Is your happiness dependent on the amount of money you have?

can money buy happiness raining moneyThe world’s opinion seems to be divided on this premise. Some people believe in the absolute truth that money can’t buy happiness. Others think that you need money to be happy.

Well, our opinion is that although our happiness does not ultimately rely on how much money we have, we still need it if we want to be happier in life.

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association, as cited by Time Magazine, says that happiness is not dependent on social class, or the amount of money an individual has. However, it seems that people with higher incomes tend to feel more positive emotions about themselves:

“People who make more money were more likely to experience happiness derived from their own accomplishments,” says lead author Paul Piff, assistant professor of psychology at the University of California Irvine. “I think that makes sense, in part, because they are a little more self-reliant and don’t have to depend on other people.” –Time Magazine

This makes sense to us as well.

Here are three things where we can certainly say that having enough money buys happiness, according to Entrepreneur Magazine:

eiffel tower tourist money buys happiness1. Money buys experiences

New experiences make us happier. It might be traveling, a well-earned degree, or going after a new passion. And all of these require us to have enough money so that we will be able to make them a reality.

Now, if we only have enough to live paycheck to paycheck, these new experiences will have to stay in a corner for a while, until the kids are on their own or the car’s paid off.

So, we have to be careful not to minimize the importance of having enough money to really enjoy our life. Stash a little away every week in a separate account. Eventually, you’ll have squirreled away enough to take that trip or enroll in that class. Life can’t only be about droning through work, we need something to look forward to.

2. Money gives you the chance to help your loved ones

Helping a loved one can bring so much joy. Even if it’s not literally helping but being able to do little things for them such as buying them meaningful gifts, hiring a sitter for them so they can go to dinner with their significant other or randomly giving them gift cards to their favorite coffee shop. Seeing your loved ones happy through your small gestures can bring so much happiness.

 3. Money gives you the chance to help the world

There’s a quote that says, “The happiest people in life are the givers, not the getters.”

This aptly describes how giving back will make you happier in life. And of course, we cannot do this if we don’t have enough money. As Entrepreneur.com says, “Wealth gives you a larger opportunity to give to charity and leave an impact that will leave both others and yourself better off.”

Susan Spencer of CBS News searched for the answers to the eternal question: Can money buy happiness?

Here’s a snippet of what she got. Below is from an interview with Amherst College psychology Professor, Catherine Sanderson:

“To that ultimate question: Can money buy happiness? Sanderson’s emphatic answer is “No.” The key to contentment, she says, is not how much you earn, but how you feel about earning it.

“When you talk to people who love their jobs, overwhelmingly what they say is not, ‘I love my paycheck,'” Sanderson laughed. “What they say is, ‘I find the job meaningful.'”

man woman contentment money buys happinessSure, we can be happier if we have more money … but we have to admit that there are many experiences that cost little to no money. So, in the end, it’s definitely an “inside job.” You have to figure out what makes you happy. What do you enjoy doing? And, who do you enjoy doing it with? 

If you know the answers to these questions, it will perhaps lead you closer to finding your own happiness.

So, can money buy happiness?

We cannot in certainty say that money can’t buy happiness, or that only money buys happiness. What we are sure about … is that happiness depends on the level of contentment a person has. If you want to find your way closer to your happiness, our Happiness Class at Delta Discovery Center is ongoing, Wednesday afternoons at 3pm EST. You can register here or visit our website to find more information.

About the author

Dr. Gala Gorman is a licensed Acupuncturist, Naturopath, and Author who offers expert advice and programs to help people prevent disease. She uses advanced techniques that "reverse the clock" on aging. She founded the Delta Discovery Center with her partner, Charlie Frangos, to provide a place for self-discovery and healing on Hilton Head Island and beyond. Dr. Gala helps people learn to be their own health advocates.