DOES MONEY MEAN HAPPINESS?
Reflection about this huge topic, money means happiness?
Is it true, that to have a lot of money means we’ll be happy? This is not a new question, but it’s difficult to have an answer, or the right answer, same for everybody. I would like to be rich and have no financial problems, but with money, will I truly be happy? Everybody is working to make money, because without money there is not possibility to have a life in this society. Most of the working class people I know, dream to be rich, and so all the problems end, but is it true? Some rich people, I heard years ago on TV, say that money doesn’t mean happiness, but most not rich people watch them life as a dream. Is it maybe our society’s lifestyle, unconsciously, that make people believe about money as the solution of our problems, while maybe the real happiness should be found in the value of things instead of the price? Or can money really make people happy?
I was reading an online article by Nicholas Carlson on Business Insider Site, where Evan Spiegel, a Snapchat startup CEO, refused an offer of $3 billion from Facebook. Carlson explained that Speigel comes from a very rich family and so that amount of money, wasn’t changing his life, because he already has much more money. Carlson put on the end of this article some of citations of rich people that can make us think of them point of view. Some interested me:
“Having grown up as a child in a family which can be described as old money, and having since then lived in humbling circumstances, I can say for sure that families from old money treat their children like gods. When I was little, I used to take kids aside and explain to them that I was indeed God. ‘Psssst, you know I’m God, right?’ Obviously, that feeling has left me, but it hasn’t left my father, who used to tell me that we have blue blood. He now sits in his room in a constant depression, and is the most miserable person I know.” — Igor Atakhanov. ”
I thought, if I could make 10 million dollars then it must be too easy. In fact, I honestly thought, everyone else had probably already made 11 million dollars. So then I felt poor again. I now needed 100 million dollars to be happy.” — James Altucher.
“Rich people are prone to all the same maladies and emotions as anyone else, and at the same frequency. And certainly, in some cases, money itself can cause stress and unhappiness. But, with one difference — if you’re unhappy and rich, you have money. And money buys creature comforts.” — Steven Kane.
Those three examples don’t point to consider to be rich is to be happy too. All friends around me talk about how they desire to make a lot of money and become rich, to finally find that missing happiness they are looking for. At this point, when even rich people don’t seem to be the happiest people in the world, I wonder what happiness is. Why many people like my friends follow the dream to become rich and then, like if should be obvious, happy too?
Reading what Wikipedia said about happiness “is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
I can agree, but I need more. Wikipedia sometimes is a good place to find things, but cannot be considered as an official source. I browsed around and I found an interesting study about what determines happiness, made by Madhu S. Mohatnty of California State University, in Los Angeles, which demonstrates that happiness change between people of different age, kids, teenagers and mature people, but they have a common main determiner that is the positive attitude. This common main determiner is the base for happiness in all different age people and different income too, doesn’t matter what social class people belong to. If you are rich, but you don’t have a positive attitude, is hard to find the equilibrium for happiness, while if you have not such a good income, but you have a positive attitude, happiness is easier to reach. This research was based using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data.
From the research of Madhus S. Mohatnty, it seems that for those who think positive, and try to have an easy life, is easier to find happiness. In the past, I have been reflecting a lot about the power of our brain and subconscious. I made a personal reflection to find a way to reach our goals, and there are three similar ways. The first is the law of attraction, that if we want something, we have to focus and always thinking about on what we want. Second is to make our unconscious to work on our goals; the best example is about people who want to quit smoking, preparing mentally the subconscious to quit smoking, the subconscious is ready for doing what it has been prepared, while if the subconscious hasn’t been exercised, people will find really harder to quit. (I quit smoking two times in my life. The first time I prepared myself and my subconscious for months; once quit, it takes me only 2 weeks to lose the need to smoke again, then I started again smoking 7 years later. The second time, I decided to quit the day before I did quit, but I felt the need to smoke for the next 8- 10 months). The third way is the faith, if you pray and believe in something, you can reach what you want thank god. All those three ways has a common fact, believe in what you want, doesn’t matter in which way you do, but if you do believe in happiness, the positive attitude will help to make you happy!
About definition of happiness, in Wikipedia I read one important sentence, “Happiness is a fuzzy concept and can mean many different things to many people”. True, absolutely true. Only in the last decades, the point of happiness became an argument of study, searching the right level of the Subjective Well-Being (SWB). According with Ed Diener and Eunkook M. Suh, authors of “Culture and Subjective Well-Being”, SWB can be studied by what can be demonstrated confronting most of society. The cultural relativism can be a main problem in this study, because if the society have different culture, values and lifestyle, the criterion to evaluate the SWB will be different. From a survey made involving several people, is a common idea that anybody think to live in the correct and best way they can, trying to enjoy their life, constructing their own values they are living for, without even considering that can be better and different ways to live. Anyway, in the last decades, the material wealth became important everywhere, even in the less lucky countries, material prosperity match with the increase of SWB.
People around the world are looking for this material prosperity, who more, who less, it seems everybody wants money, but can be money the secret of happiness? The psychologist Melanie Greenberg considers some research, ending with this conclusion for Psychology Today:
“Although money does buy happiness, it is not the only ingredient. Money may make us smug and materialistic, leading us to miss out on life’s simple pleasures and not fully appreciate the gifts of family or nature. However, money spent on helping the people we care about, or that used as a savings buffer against unexpected life crises may be money well spent. Money can help our kids afford a decent higher education, provide us with access to health care as we age, and help us care for elderly parents. It can also provide us with the means to retire and to replenish ourselves during times of stress. These factors need to be weighed against the opportunity costs – that is, the amount of time we invest and opportunities we forego in order to earn the money. Of people’s greatest regrets at the end of life, not spending more time with their kids when they were young, is one of the most common. Overall, money to meet basic needs is necessary, but not sufficient for life happiness. It is a piece of the pie in overall life satisfaction, along with relationship satisfaction, meaningful work, health, and spiritual wellbeing.”
How is it possible to disagree with her? Even if she refers only to U.S.A., money is important for the basic needs to make life comfortable and not risky everywhere.
The point anyway is, does money mean happiness? In another article of Psychology today written by Barton Goldsmith, that more or less are the similar points to other sources, to find the happiness we don’t need money, but:
- Be with others who make you smile. Studies show that we are happiest when we are around those who are also happy. Stick with those who are joyful and let rub off on you.
- Hold on to your values. What you find true, what you know is fair, and what you believe in are all values. Over time, the more you honor them, the better you will feel about yourself and those you love.
- Accept the good. Look at your life and take stock of what’s working, and don’t push away something just because it isn’t perfect. When good things happen, even the very little ones, let them in.
- Imagine the best. Don’t be afraid to look at what you really want and see yourself getting it. Many people avoid this process because they don’t want to be disappointed if things don’t work out. The truth is that imagining getting what you want is a big part of achieving it.
- Do things you love. Maybe you can’t skydive every day or take vacations every season, but as long as you get to do the things you love every once in a while, you will find greater happiness.
- Find purpose. Those who believe they are contributing to the well-being of humanity tend to feel better about their lives. Most people want to be part of something greater than they are, simply because it’s fulfilling.
- Listen to your heart. You are the only one who knows what fills you up. Your family and friends may think you’d be great at something that really doesn’t float your boat. It can be complicated following your bliss. Just be smart, and keep your day job for the time being.
- Push yourself, not others. It’s easy to feel that someone else is responsible for your fulfillment, but the reality is that it is really your charge. Once you realize that, you have the power to get where you want to go. Stop blaming others or the world, and you’ll find your answers much sooner.
- Be open to change. Even if it doesn’t feel good, change is the one thing you can count on. Change will happen, so make contingency plans and emotionally shore yourself up for the experience.
- Bask in the simple pleasures. Those who love you, treasured memories, silly jokes, warm days, and starry nights—these are the ties that bind and the gifts that keep on giving.
These ten rules look at the spiritual side of happiness, how to improve our good side, focus on positive and forget what make us angry. It seems be written for the Madhus S. Mohatnty research, ten rules for focus our life in positive, finding the happiness usually people are looking for.
According to Dolores T., in the article “Money Matter” written for USA Today, Princeton University research, give an amount to reach the top of happiness, and is to have an income of $75.000 at year, while even who earn more money, they have no more happiness. Other studies indicate the amount of $45.00, but the meaning is about finally somebody gave a price of happiness!
Money can mean happiness for those that intend life in a materialistic way. For people who become rich, money is not the first reason to be happy, but it means a safe financial control of life. Before trying to understand if money means happiness, it is better to understand what happiness is, and what makes us happy in the long term.
Most of the time people focus in illusion to see this rich people life style, but behind of make money, many times there are people that live for work and not work for live. As a Princeton University study estimates, the best income to reach the maximum level of happiness is $75.000/year. A higher income would not imply bigger happiness. So, the question should be: what makes us happy? Focusing on what makes us happy, we can find our well-being, and for Madhus S. Mohatnty of California State University research, happiness means living with a positive attitude. If we set up our life being as much positive as we can, we will live much happier. Thinking that money means happiness is a double-edged sword, because when people live only for the money, usually they forget what happiness is.
In the materialistic and consumerist society in which we live, it seems that people replaced god with money. Most of people are deluded to think that rich people are the happiest because they appear on TV, in magazines and similar media that portray them as kings, considering richness as happiness, putting life in materialistic style to live and depicting money as the goal to reach. To be rich can help you in particular situations, for example in case you need some expensive cure for some sickness, but everybody who is having health problems understands that the most important thing in life is to be healthy. For sure, money can make people happier, probably more in the short term than forever, but also money can be a cause of sadness in what we call “civilized world”. The extreme research of money can’t help for happiness because the attitude is only about making money. In the frenetic society we are living, where life is focused on things and not on values, people become selfish, materialistic and sad.
In my opinion, Money can help a lot to be happy, but it is also true that without money we all be rich all over the world. The ethnicity that can survive without money are not many anymore, in the civilized countries there is no choice, we need money and more money we have, easier life will be. But money is not sufficient to make people happy. On the other side, people who can focus on spirituality, having a simple life and enjoying what they have without wanting more that what they need, will find happiness easily. In my view, when people are able to find the equilibrium between money and positive attitude, they are able to find happiness too! A main point is that happiness has to be shared, and a good example to understand it is the end of the movie “Into the wild,” which lets us understand that happiness cannot be enjoyed being alone: happiness, to be true, has to be shared with somebody.
Does money means happiness?
Jody Delichte. “Does money make us happy?” Positive Psychology UK. . Online.
Melanie Greenberg. “Is Money the Secret to Happiness?”. Psychology Today.Published on September 10, 2012. Online.
Nicholas Carlson. “Rich People Talk About How Happy Money Makes Them”. December 18, 2013. Online. source
Happiness. Wikipedia. Last modified June 19, 2014. Online http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness
Barton Goldmith. “10 Simple Ways to Find Happiness”. April 27, 2012. Online. source.
Ed Diener, Eunkook M. Suh. “Culture and Subjective Well-being”. Money and Happiness: Income and Subjective Well-being across Nations. MIT Press. 2000. 185 – 218. Printed
Madhu S. Mohanty. “What Determines Happiness? Income or Attitude: Evidence From the U.S. Longitudinal Data”. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics. 2014. Vol, 7, No. 2, 80- 102. Printed.
Puterbaugh Dolores T. “Money Matters”. USA Today Magazine. May 2014. Vol. 142 Issue 2828. P64-65.2p. Article.