Does Money Make You Happier?
I am going to take a break for a moment on commenting on the markets. I feel there is plenty of commentary made over the past few weeks to digest. Rather, I would like to focus on a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time now. That is the topic of, money.
Money has started wars, ended marriages, and caused countless crimes. Money has also afforded people endless opportunities, changed people’s lives, and helped many individuals in unfortunate situations. Money is written about in tons of songs and is one of those taboo topics you don’t talk about with friends (along with politics and religion). Simply put, money is a very divisive and polarizing topic.
Today, I am going to focus on a unique perspective I have after all these years working in the “money” business. As the old saying goes, money equals happiness. We all know the saying, and almost everyone reading this wishes they had more money. As a matter of fact, how many times have you wished for more money, or even suggested that if you only had more, you would be happier? Embarrassingly, I am even raising my hand as you read this.
Now, let me give you some interesting perspective for a few moments. Again, I have had and not had money, and seen people on every single side of the asset and income spectrum. I can definitively say officially and on the record, Money Equals Money! Money DOES NOT equal happiness. Can money help people be happier, sure. Can money help people be less happy, absofreakinglutely.
Money Is A Catalyst
Here is what I will tell you, money seems to act like a catalyst. Money does not equal happiness, as happiness comes from within. Happy people are happy regardless of their economic status. Some of the happiest people I know live very modest lives. Conversely, I know plenty, and I mean plenty, of miserable wealthy people. That is why I made my previous comment, that money serves as a catalyst.
Once people have a normal standard of living, they seem to be content with where they are. Someone making $100,000 does not wake up and say man I would be much happier if I made $500,000. Rather, people have a fantastic ability to be content, most of the time, with their current status.
If I were to reframe the money saying I would say that happy modest people, generally are happy rich people. Miserable modest people are generally miserable rich people. Or a more simplistic way of looking at it is that Happy=Happy, and Money=Money. I really want to retrain our thinking to bifurcate these two topics, happiness and money.
Now, you have heard my anecdotal notion on the correlation between money and happiness. The question at hand is then how can this lesson teach us about happiness? Here are the two big lessons I hope you take away:
- Stop putting so much emphasis on money being the cure to your happiness, or lack thereof. I know it is a hard thing to do especially in this social media age we live in. The reality, however, is that happiness is a choice for most of us, and something that should be curated from within. If you have thought that more money is your cure, start refocusing your efforts on something else.
- Reframe your thoughts and resources to put happiness on a pedestal, not money. Find what truly makes you happy, and pursue exactly that. Is it hiking, playing music, spending time with family, playing sports, or snuggling up with a good book? The answer is yours to uncover, but simply know that at the end of the day happiness truly comes from within. Happiness is a state of mind, it is not a monetary thing that can be purchased.
At the end of the day isn’t all we really want for ourselves and our loved ones to be happy? If so, start putting more focus on how we can find and spread happiness rather than make an extra dollar.
That’s all folks!
Stay wealthy, healthy, and happy everyone.
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