- Download PDF
Can money buy happiness? Why or why not?
45 Answers | Add Yours
Of course it all depends upon which level of happiness one is speaking of when asking if money can buy happiness. On the most basic levels, money most definitiely can buy happiness. It is genuine happiness to be able to provide medical help for your children. It is quite decidedly happiness to pay rent or mortgage to have a roof over your head and your children's heads. It is indisputably happiness to buy wholesome and adequate food to serve your family and yourself and your beloved four-footed furry friends. It is most certainly happiness to have money for some form of transportation, be it public transit or private automobile, that allows the escape from walking 1 or 2 miles carrying supplies for familiy meals for a day or two. Money can and does buy happiness.
The problem is that when our happiness is met at one level, our desires and definitions of happiness continue in an accretion process, growing ever larger and more complex, and soon the capacity of money to provide is outstripped by the nature of our dreams of happiness: money can't buy happiness in the abstract but it most definitely can buy happiness in the concrete on the first several most fundamental and necessary levels, including an education and accoutraments for securing a well paying job. And it is hard if not impossible to find the love of one's life without money with which to make one's self look respectable and presentable. Money most decidedly can and does buy happiness.
Looking back over my life, I think there have only been moments when I felt "happy," whatever "happy" is. This happiness may have sometimes had something to do with getting hold of some money, but the money itself never bought much happiness, although it bought comfort and security and a very few possessions that were satisfying to own. Schopenhauer, my favorite philosopher, says that happiness is an illusion, or "chimerical." He believed that what was of primary importance in life was the avoidance of pain. Bernie Madoff is a good example of a man who thought money could buy happiness. Instead it bought him a lot of unhappiness. Pip, the hero of Great Expectations, believed that money could buy him happiness by getting him into higher society and enabling him to marry Estella, a girl who had been specifically trained to make men unhappy. Miss Havisham in Dickens' great novel had a lot of money but it certainly didn't buy her happiness.
Here is a pertinent quote from Schopenhauer:
Accordingly, if the characteristic feature of the first half of life is an unsatisfied longing for happiness, that of the second is a dread of misfortune. For with it there has more or less clearly dawned on us the knowledge that all happiness is chimerical, whereas all suffering is real. Therefore we, or at any rate the more prudent among us, now aspire to mere painlessness and an undisturbed state rather than to pleasure. When in my young days there was a ring at the door, I was pleased, for I thought, “now it might come”; but in later years on the same occasion my feelings were rather akin to dread and I thought “here it comes”
Schopenhauer, “On the Different Periods of Life”
All suffering is certainly real. I am reminded of Buddha's Four Noble Truths, the first of which is: "All lives, from birth to death, are filled with suffering." The Second Noble Truth is: "This suffering is caused by a craving for worldly things."
No, money can not buy hapiness. I know some very wealthy people and they are miserable because they are lonely, have no true friends, and their family has left them. As humans, we crave companionship, love, and belonging. Family and friends help to give us a sense of identity, a sense of worth, a purpose in life. Loneliness is consuming, depressive, and makes one bitter. Money can fill your belly and keep you dry when it rains, but can not fill the void in your heart.
Money cannot buy happiness, but then again, neither can poverty. Money can buy options which can make you happy, but that depends on what is in your head, not your bank account.
Money can buy comfort and various kinds of security, but it cannot buy happiness. In fact, it seems that "happiness" can't even be defined, much less purchased. One argument I've read suggests that happiness is achieved only as a by product, not as an end in itself. This makes sense to me. The truly happy people I've known have been those who were engaged in meaningful work, paid or unpaid. These people were so busy living their lives in pursuit of something larger than themselves that they had no time to wonder, "Am I happy?" They just were.
I really can't answer this question because I've never had enough money to buy myself any happiness. I sure would like to give it a try! Seriously, I think the stress of not having enough money can cause a lot of unhappiness, but I'm not sure it works the other way around.
Money can certainly make life more comfortable, but happiness is such a subjective issue, I don’t think we can realistically say that money can buy happiness. True happiness seems to be found within one’s own self--our personal philosophy, our own self identity, our feelings of success. While money can enhance these elements it cannot provide them.
Happiness is so undefinable it's difficult to even rationally discuss it. And I don't believe there is a yes or no answer to this question. Whatever happiness is, it is in large part due to a person's personality. But can a person be happy when he/she is starving or freezing? Maybe one in a million with a view to something larger.
Of course money can't buy happiness, but it sure beats not having money, in my opinion.
I have had a nice stable life, married since I was 20 (reaching our 20th anniversary in June). We've been together when we had no money and now when we do have money. I guarantee you I'm happier with.
Money buys security. Security buys not having to worry about the future. I feel much better on a day to day basis now than I did when my wife and I wondered if we'd ever be able to have a house or be able to afford having kids, etc.
Some of my unhappiest times seem to have been when I was most financially secure, so money isn't a guarantee for happiness. As the previous poster noted, money buys things. If you buy things that make you happy, then money can indeed help out. But love and friendship really don't relate to money, and they are two things that most make people happy.
Money can only buy things; it's up to you to decide if things will make you happy. Lots of things that we "want" turn out to be disappointments ... baggage that doesn't satisfy us (past the few initial moments of possession).
On the other hand, there are some things that money does/can buy that are necessities for life ... food, clothing, lodging, the absence of which makes happiness much harder to acquire (although people can do it).
I often think of Thoreau's "Simplify! Simplify!" and think that in our possession crazed world, it's advice that we could all benefit from.
Scientific evidence has shown us that in fact, money DOES buy happiness, but only to a certain point.
A famous Princeton study (linked below) found that emotional wellbeing increases steadily with income, up to around $75,000 per year. After that point, income does not have much of an effect on emotional wellbeing.
Research has previously shown that low income families are more likely to divorce than higher income families (see NCFR link), and that lower income couples were more likely to have their relationship negatively influenced by money problems. Together, these facts suggest that conflict within low income families can often relate to money problems, leading to unhappiness and divorce at higher rates than high income families.
The Princeton study has found that low income families also experience more emotional distress from unfortunate life events (which include poor health and loneliness as well as divorce) than do higher income families.
With that said, it seems clear that $75,000 for a family isn't really all that much money. Two parents earning just over $37,000 per year will earn that much (which works out to around $18 per hour per parent working 40 hours per week). Clearly, though, a single parent earning that salary will earn far below the 'happiness threshold', and will suffer from many of the financial troubles experienced by low income families.
Essentially, I think the data shows us that money can buy happiness if you are in poverty or struggling with money. In this case, the money will eliminate several sources of unhappiness, such as stress and marital conflict over finances. But once you have a comfortable family income: enough to pay for all your fixed expenses (such as rent/mortgage, bills, and groceries) and maybe a few luxuries (movie tickets), money doesn't really have much of an impact on happiness.
Here are some statistics that will make you think about whether money can buy happiness. According to Forbes, all you need to be happy is an income of $50,000 (2012). Apparently, scientists have found that "Respondents to the poll who made more than $50,000 were more satisfied with their lives concerning factors ranging from friends, to health, to how they spent their time."
However, you also have to consider where you live. Those that live in places like New York City or other places with high living costs may have a higher "golden number," than places with lower costs of living.
Money can't buy happiness , but just read the link .
The answer is, Yes and No. Money can buy happiness for a short amount of time, an example is if you buy a video game which makes you happy won't last forever. Someone you'll get bored of it.
We’ve answered 323,985 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question