They say money can’t buy happiness. But is it true?
Let’s take a look at these 21 reasons why money can’t buy happiness, according to experts.
Founder, LVS Consulting
1. Money can perhaps buy you some happiness but it all depends on how you spend it
The challenge with “money can’t buy happiness” is that it’s only partly correct. When we think typically about spending money, we tend to think about spending money on stuff – a new car, a new TV, the latest sound-canceling headphones and so on.
However, as human beings with complex brains, we also adapt to new things in our environment remarkably well over time.
That “new” TV? At some point, you get used to the larger size, the high-quality definition, the excellent sound quality, and it’s just the TV now. That “new” car? At some point, you get used to the heated lush seats, the backup camera, the great satellite radio, and the other great features, and it’s just the car now.
When you use your money to buy material things, we adapt.
Psychologists call this the “hedonic treadmill” – we get used to new things, and they become “old things” and we decide that we need even newer things to replace them.
Another reason that buying stuff won’t make us happy is that we tend to compare ourselves to those around us – our family, our neighbors, Hollywood stars, people in ads, and so on.
We see something new on TV and think that you have to have this new facial cream or this new cereal because someone else has it and they look happy. Comparisons are insidious and quite often harmful to our well-being, especially if we see ourselves on the losing side.
2. Buying new stuff won’t fill that gap in our self-esteem or in our self-worth
All that said, there are ways in which you can spend your money which is more likely to lead to happiness and well-being: experiences and donations. When you spend money on an experience, like a trip or an outing to a museum, there are several things going on which can increase your happiness.
- You are getting out of the house and experiencing something that is new. Our brains like novelty.
- You may be engaging with other people. Traveling with friends or family, taking your aunt to the museum. Our brains enjoy positive social interaction with others; it’s critical for our well-being.
- You also create positive memories which you can reflect on later, leading to more sustainable well-being and happiness. When on a trip. you may take pictures and share them with others, creating even more positive social bonds.
The bottom line then is that money can perhaps buy you some happiness – but it all depends on how you spend it.
Rachel DeCarolis, CFP
Wealth Manager, Northstar Financial Planning, Inc.
3. You can get stuck in a cycle of constantly wanting to accumulate more
What really affects our happiness more than how much money we have or make is our attitude toward money and the way that we handle it. So it is very important to develop the right attitude toward money and keep in in a healthy place.
If you stick to the belief that money directly determines happiness, you can get stuck in a cycle of constantly wanting to accumulate more. More money, more stuff, but never feeling like it’s enough.
According to work done by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky (a psychology professor who studies happiness), happiness is determined by 50% genetics, 40% intentional activity (habitual thoughts, words, and actions), and only 10% circumstances, which includes wealth.
This means that you can control a lot of your happiness, and only a very small percentage is actually tied to how much money you have.
Steps to take to develop the right attitude toward money:
- Do all you can to make sure your basic needs are being met, and save enough cash to have available in the event of an emergency.
- Don’t make comparisons to others, instead focus on the positive things in your life. Feel gratitude and show appreciation by writing thank you cards, or giving back to the community.
- Spend your time and energy on experiences that will create memories instead of stuff. Focus on connecting with your community and nature.
- Think of financial well-being as the new goal, because most likely you can have it before you have large amounts of money.
Wealth Advisor | CEO, Prosperwell Financial
Money doesn’t grow on trees nor does it magically appear out of an ATM. We are always in pursuit of happiness yet we often forget that money has no correlation to it.
Have you ever taken a moment and looked back on your life experiences, achievements, purchases, and memories and wished you would have bought more stuff?
Take a moment and look at the things you have spent money on recently. Most of us will find that we have spent much more on items that we have on experiences. Do you still have those items? Are they still in good shape or even usable? Do they make you happy? If you had the same opportunity to buy that same item(s) again – would you?
Often times we purchase something because we feel that physical item will last longer and make us happier than an experience that happens just once.
However, that assumption is false.
Research from the San Francisco State University in 2016 found that people who spent money on experiences rather than material items were happier and felt the money was better spent.
We never want to live life with regrets but many times we later regret the money we spent on things that we really didn’t need or want. It was an impulse buy. Perhaps to feel better about ourselves. The one true way to actually boost our confidence is to find a way to make ourselves happy and that often times is by experiencing something.
4. Experiences really are much more important than material goods
This idea has long been the domain of Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. It’s not only living in the moment but also the anticipation of the experience.
Things such as trips, concerts, movie, adventures really start giving you happiness the minute you plan it, not only when you are actually experiencing it. We have always thought that experiences were the foundation of our happiness which is why we started the “Live It List.”
The idea of this list is based on the common Bucket List – however, because of the negative connotation surrounding why you make a Bucket List, we re-branded it into a “Live It List”.
That is a list of experiences you want to encounter while you are living your life to the fullest and with true happiness.
Administration Manager, Financer
5. Happiness comes from within and nothing external
Money can’t buy happiness simply because happiness is an emotional state that we get in to by doing certain things, thinking about situations and even feel in ways that trigger our happiness.
And all of the above can’t really be bought. So if we can’t buy what produces the feeling and emotion of happiness we can’t buy happiness either.
For example the biggest trap almost everybody will fall in to for a period of time in life is the “if-then trap”. If I get this I will feel that or when I achieve x,y,z I will be happy or excited. Unfortunately or not it doesn’t work this way. The reality when it comes to happiness is that we must be able to feel it at this moment, right now!
Additionally, happiness comes from within and nothing external, as far as I am concerned we can’t really buy someone’s spirit.
Talking from personal experience, chasing anything, either that is happiness, success, love, anything! Will most likely get us in trouble and make us realize that what we were chasing was there in the first place anyway. Sometimes though for some people is essential to go through this process in order to realize this simple and not easy at all concept.
Happiness in my humble opinion comes simply from doing what we enjoy, like and love for as much time as possible.
That in combination with managing our expectations and our beliefs about how things SHOULD be in our life can create a very fertile ground to constantly plant little mustard seeds of happiness which eventually will grow and germinate into emotions of bliss, contentment, peace, excitement, enthusiasm, freedom and many more!
The key to happiness, if I may suggest, is practicing gratitude and contributing in other people’s lives in as many ways possible and as often as possible until it becomes as it was meant to be; natural/pure caring for others as well as for yourself.
Leslie H. Tayne
Founder and Managing Director, Tayne Law Group, P.C.
6. Money brings with it lots of strings and sometimes disingenuine people
The sentiment that money can’t buy happiness has been around for decades. Often, those who are struggling with their finances will scoff at it, thinking that they would be happier with more money, less debt, etc.
Don’t get me wrong – having money is helpful. Knowing that your bills will be paid each month, that you’re working towards paying down your debts, and that you have extra leftover to save and spend can certainly reduce stress.
But at the end of the day, money only gets you so far.
You have to be happy in the first place, adding money certainly takes some issues out of the blender of life, but without being truly happy inside the money will not solve that issue.
In my practice, people tend to come to me and say if I could only get my debt resolved and have money I’d be happy.
We resolve the debt but that doesn’t mean it makes people happier, it sometimes just is another thing people want to get done like a project.
The reality is that happiness is internal and comes from a deep understanding of your true self and that takes time for many people to come to terms with understanding what they need and want.
Money certainly helps make things easier in life, but it does add complications, higher bills often and bigger obligations along with more detailed money management that can be something overwhelming and beyond one’s ability to deal with.
Also, money brings with it lots of strings and sometimes disingenuine people. It’s something that you need to be aware of that there are people who then try to take advantage too with more money.
It’s the same issue with lottery winners and why they get the money and it’s gone fast, but it doesn’t make them happier people inside.
Managing Director, Lease Fetcher
7. Happiness is elusive when you are working long and tiring hours
All too often, a higher salary is equated with a greater sense of accomplishment, and with this, a greater sense of happiness. Why, then, are so many high-flying executives so stressed and detached?
Happiness is elusive when you are working long and tiring hours, no matter how well paid your position is. A higher salary involves pay-offs, whether it be sacrificing your personal time for family, friends, and hobbies, or accepting that your personal identity separate from work will be diminished.
Well-paid workers can too easily become cogs in a machine, exerting all their efforts for the benefit of management. Happiness hinges on a number of variables that can’t all be fulfilled by money.
Our self-perception, the meaning we derive from our everyday activities, and our relationships with the others around us are all central to happiness. Money can’t buy you happiness if you forfeit these factors in order to bump up your bank balance.
CEO and Co-founder, Mettl
Happiness is partially independent of money. You need to have a certain amount of money to be happy but beyond a point, money can’t be the source of happiness because the happiness derived from money is short-lived and is materialistic.
8. The definition of happiness changes for you from time to time
When you are earning enough that you should be with factors like age, education, and experience, you will no longer derive happiness from money.
You might as well be sitting on a pile of cash but you will think of all the time and energies that you have spent in earning that money and at what cost?- the time and energies which you could have devoted to your family, yourself, or as a fuel to your passions.
This reminds me of a quote from Dalai Lama, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.”
Long-term relationships and meaningful work will take over money as the primary sources of happiness for you- like great relationships with friends, colleagues, boss, and family members who you are sure to fall back on when things go wrong or in case you are facing some temporary setbacks or having a work environment that inspires and motivates you to work harder and be more productive.
A great work-life balance where you have enough time to pursue your passions and sit back and relax is another facet of happiness and money has no hand in these factors.
Happiness, in my viewpoint, is the perfect harmony of money and intangible things in life.
To best exemplify such a situation, take, for example, if you are very comfortable in your current organization and you have good camaraderie with colleagues and managers, the location is near to your place, and other such plus points but you are underpaid presently, you will not be happy.
Compare that to suddenly shifting to a new place which will make you uncomfortable for maybe 3-4 months and you might call yourself unhappy.
But you are paid according to market standards and your expectations and after spending a considerable amount of time in your new company with new great relationships and a great compensation, you will start being happy again.
Michael D. Brown
Global Management Expert| Director, Fresh Passion Institute
Money seems to be the pinnacle of all life and happiness. Everywhere money is worshiped even in Vatican City.
Our planet is built on a dollar note and there is no dressing this embarrassing truth. The rich are gods, the human deities our societies idolize. The magazines sell only when the back pages are emblazoned with the smiles of the affluent.
The CEOs of the Fortune companies, the mega-celebrities with the White House as their casual balcony. The leaders of huge industries rich enough to have the Super Bowl placed in their bedroom!
9. The money will never give you happiness and fulfillment, rather it will kidnap it from you
Agreed, the world is gushing with the love of money. The poor have no place in society, being poor is a cardinal sin. Yet money is never a foolproof guarantee of peace. There are those still shedding tears in their bullion vans.
There are hordes of rich men crazily affluent enough to flush their toilet with the costliest champagne. Yet they would readily swap all they have with the commonest man on earth just in exchange for a true smile.
Sadly wealth is a palace and a prison on its own. The latter the world’s largest penitentiary buzzing with those who have allowed money to overcome.
Why do you hear of millionaires still committing suicide if money was the most impregnable fortress of happiness?
The worst way to wreck your true happiness is to allow money to consume you. The love of money is a terminal disease you will barely be healed of.
Your innate peace would easily become wrecked when you allow money to overtake you and bond you. You easily lose focus in the most important things of life like family, joy, charity etc.
Do you know what? Money readily incarcerates you in financial gluttony. You want a million dollar and the next second you want another after getting the first.
Financial gratification is so ephemeral as the more money you get, the more insatiable your love for money grows.
It is a labyrinth the wealthy are wailing endlessly to come out from. Therefore, don’t the dollar is the ultimate currency that would buy you life and joy. At most such pleasures would be becoming dismally ephemeral with the flair in them quickly evaporating away over time.
And then the pain, depression, gloom engulf you like a private Hurricane Katrina and you look to the endless digits in your bank yet no relief from the storm!
Owner, This Online World
10. Money is just a tool in our lives
Any sociology or psychology student will have come across Maslow’s hierarchy of needs at some point in their studies. Perhaps you are familiar with them too.
In case you are not, Maslow, a renowned American Psychologist, created a system to classify the universal needs we all face as humans living in society.
The needs are (as ranked from most fundamental to higher-level needs):
- Physiological (food, shelter, etc..)
Money is just a tool in our lives that enable us to achieve the first two levels of our hierarchical needs.
With money, you can buy groceries, a house, the latest security system, whatever.
But that is as far as money can take us. Money alone cannot help us to develop esteem or to achieve self-actualization; if it could, every millionaire in the world would be immensely happy.
Someone who successfully starts a business they are passionate about and becomes rich along the way may be immensely happy and reach self-actualization, but it is the journey that allowed them to do so, not just the financial gain.
Founder | CEO, Mavens & Moguls
11. Having money does not give your life meaning or purpose
I started a global branding and marketing firm 17 years ago and in my experience working on Wall Street in the 80s and working at 3 startups that all had good exits I have seen a lot of people with tremendous financial success not be happy.
Money makes a lot of things nicer and easier in your life, you can pay your bills, live in a bigger place, drive a better car, take fancier vacations, buy more things, etc.
But having money does not give your life meaning or purpose.
Read related article: 17 Best Books on Finding Your Passion and Purpose in Life
It can attract the wrong people for the wrong reasons, and it can cause you to make irresponsible decisions because you can afford it.
I have found that when people become financially successful they tend to be more intense versions of themselves so if they were kind and philanthropic before now they can do more but if they were jerks before now they are bigger jerks unfortunately who feel they can be.
12. Money won’t provide deep, abiding happiness
Money is good for many things and can allow one to have many things – new cars, bigger houses, jewels, theater tickets, a private island, etc. All sorts of things that must be guarded, maintained, fussed over, and that, while providing moments of happiness, won’t provide deep, abiding happiness.
We have a nice starter home and a lot of stuff. I like our home, but I hate the stuff. It shrinks the space and creates clutter.
A good bit of it was given to us or we’ve had for a while, but there’s no happiness in seeing it. No, happiness comes in the silly moments, the kitchen mishaps, the day-to-day experiences of our life as a family.
Were I not to home educate my daughters and re-enter the corporate working world, we’d have more money for more stuff, but we would lose a great number of experiences.
While sometimes (often) people need money to have experiences, it is these experiences that provide both joy at the moment and happy memories.
I don’t remember every Broadway touring company’s production of the top plays I’ve ever seen, but I remember almost every moment of a regional theater’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” I saw 20 years ago.
My younger daughter recently said, “I’d rather go to Beaufort (NC) than have presents!”
That trip is a tradition for us and involves building and creating memories. It was one year when time and funds were tight that we had to alter our usual customs and serendipitously met a lovely family who became friends and was part of the happiness-of-experience this year.
Founder, Discover Your Values
13. While we do need money to live, we need a great many other things to be happy
There are many dimensions to happiness, and fulfilling our personal values is certainly one of them. And, within the realm of values, money is only one type of motivator. For some people, money and financial security may indeed be a top value, and for others, it may be lower on their list.
In either case, every person has multiple core values, and they each fulfill us in different ways.
So, when we want to examine what truly motivates us, we have to really spend some time exploring those motivations in a thoughtful and meaningful way.
Social psychologist, Dr. Shalom H. Schwartz, theorized a values framework of 57 core values that are the primary drivers of human motivation. The value of “wealth” is only one value in his framework. This means there are 56 other really good reasons your happiness may be sourced from an entirely different motivation.
While we do need money to live, we often need a great many other things to be happy.
Money for many people is just a tool used to help them honor more important values that drive their happiness.
Award-winning Speaker | Writer | Motivator
14. Happiness is internal = Money is external
Let me explain. True joy or happiness comes from within. I feel happy because I accomplished. I feel ecstatic because my spouse did this. I feel joy being with my kids. I feel content that I am following my dream.
External forces can affect this, but ultimately the FEELING comes from within.
These are feelings that come from within, feelings that are deeply rooted in the human experience and are only achieved with being in the moment, with seeing the blessings around us.
These feelings can be triggered or enhanced by the people around us, yes, but ultimately they are experienced inside of our own selves.
Money, on the other hand, is external. It doesn’t exist within – you can’t take it with you when you sleep, you can’t take it with you when you die.
It can solve certain problems, yes – case in point is financial woes, and in some circumstances, to some extent, money can help buy a person’s way out of problems (legal troubles, debt, health issues, cosmetic issues). But money can’t do everything.
Money can affect internal feelings, but it isn’t a LASTING effect.
“I feel better because I went shopping.” This can create a euphoric feeling, but it is temporary. If there was emptiness before, it WILL remain after the temporary euphoria subsides.
15. Money can’t replace the feeling of being loved
All the money in the world is worthless if you can’t feel loved. If you can’t internalize a feeling. Money exists outside of every one of us. It is, unfortunately, a necessary component to living.
Yes, money can help ease stress, to a point. Money can even make life easier – to a point. But money cannot buy the feeling of happiness.
16. Only you can achieve happiness
Notice the good in your life. See how others care about you. Be grateful for what you have. Be optimistic for the future, no matter how bleak the present.
Do the things you love, spend more time on what fulfills you. Create more of an internal experience for yourself, and be in the moment, and you will find it easier to experience happiness. Create more of an external experience for yourself (read: spend money), and life will continue to feel empty.
Be happy, for there is no cost, and there is only gain.
Founder | Owner, Ms. Pink’s World
17. Working in our passions is the source of true happiness
In today’s society, the thought that money is the source and or needed for one’s personal happiness is quite a popular belief, but it just isn’t true.
Have you ever seen people in extreme poverty in love? They could care less that they just have the basics, they don’t check their bank account before doing the do and possibly making a baby, and they sure as hell don’t care that they can’t afford to go on a luxury vacation.
How is that possible??? It sure seems impossible to the majority of us who find ourselves in the middle class, we can’t seem to find this level of love and happiness.
The truth plainly put is because we’ve lost sight of ourselves, what’s really important and are trapped in the rat race of life.
As a Mommy Growth Coach, I work with mothers on a daily basis, and the number one question I ask them is are you happy. 95% of the time the answer is no, they begin to list all the things that would make them happy: spending more time with their children and family, flexibility in their schedule, doing the things they are passionate about and then somewhere down the list they equate all that to mean they need more money.
The first thing I do is help them unpack the crazy ideology that society has fed us and we’ve bought that more money equals more time and freedom and will allow us to create the life we truly desire.
The only people that more money allows that for is people with crazy amounts of money, I’m not talking about your average promotion, raise or even entrepreneur nope that only applies to millionaires and billionaires.
So what is the average man and woman supposed to do?
Honestly, when you reconnect with who you are at your core, the soul and essence of yourself you will begin to find the time to do the things that light your soul. When we work in our passions, purpose and with our gifts we will find ourselves happier, more energized and truly in love not just with our mate but our own lives.
This is the source of true happiness and can be found no matter how many commas you have in the bank even if you don’t have any.
Board Certified Family Physician | Certified Health Coach
18. The happiness that you think money will bring is usually only temporary
True happiness, the elusive kind is actually found internally and is called Joy, it is cultivated. The happiness we imagine it is based on materialism, relationships and other tangibles that breakdown, fade and lose their luster.
At the moment all of these things cause a gleam in the eye, rose-colored vision and other physiologic signs of wellbeing, but the moment passes and what’s left is emptiness, bitterness, and loss of hope.
This has been my experience as a physician. What money can do, is buy time to pursue hobbies that nurture the soul, activities that entertain the bored, vacations that give an escape, time for friends and family that can mend a broken heart and offer charitable contributions that fulfill the altruistic.
19. Money can’t buy happiness because the best gifts in life aren’t physical
Rather, genuine relationships and emotionally present friendships. Simply by being yourself your gift of presence is enough. Even the most expensive gift can have no meaning if the giver has no emotional connection with the recipient.
The smallest gift can have a huge amount of meaning when backed by a genuine, loving relationship that’s a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual aspects.
Even the fanciest gift will become old over time, so if you are going to give an expensive gift, give an experience such as concert tickets, a vacation to share, or another memory that can be talked about for years after.
Blogger, Next Level Finance
20. Contentment, regardless of financial state is a more, pertinent contributor to one’s happiness
Money is a useful tool in life, but it can’t buy happiness. If someone can find contentment in their current station of life, they’ll be able to be content should they become wealthier or poorer.
Contentment and gratefulness also go hand-in-hand.
If one is thankful for what they have, they typically will be content and won’t view money as the key to being happy. If one leans too heavily on money for their happiness and what that money can buy, they can often find themselves not content regardless of how much they buy and own.
Founder, Dime Will Tell
21. Money can’t buy you and your loved one’s health
You can have all the money in the world, but if you or those around you aren’t in good health, what is it good for? You don’t want to end up being the richest person in the graveyard, because that is a lonely path to go down.
Giving up on your health in the pursuit of money is a bad idea. Health comes first because, without it, it’ll be hard to achieve full happiness and fulfillment, especially if those health issues came from the stress of pursuit to money.
Sure, money can help you afford better food and care, but it only goes so far. At some point, money can’t buy health, and without good health, you’ll be less happy.
All in all, money can’t buy you and your loved one’s health. Without health, you’ll find yourself struggling to be truly happy.
HR Consultant, Ben Sherman
I’ve always said that there’s not much fun in owning a Rolls Royce if your only opportunity to use it is to drive to work. Having the money to buy nice things isn’t too satisfying when you don’t have the time to go shopping and buy the treats that make you feel happy.
At some companies, dealing with the extra stress and responsibilities of high paying jobs can require staff to work extra hours at the office on evenings and sometimes weekends, which can have an impact on their happiness.
It’s a common issue that arises with the top-paying jobs and one that we aim to prevent it from becoming a problem here at Ben Sherman.
This doesn’t mean offering overly flashy or gimmicky bonuses that staff doesn’t really want, it’s about creating a working atmosphere that is enjoyable and calming to work in and ensuring they get a sufficient amount of downtime.
We insist that our staff go home at the end of their shifts and don’t allow them to work outside their allocated working hours.
We also offer a holiday allowance that is flexible and allows them to take the time they need when they need it. It is important to us that our staff get their downtime, unwind and remain happy workers.
Lifestyle and Personal Finance Blogger, Traveler Info Hub
The truth is money isn’t everything, but it’s something.
While money can’t directly buy you happiness, it can indirectly. Money, comfort, security, and happiness are all interconnected.
You could have had the most horrible stress-ridden day, but take a drive in your car with the windows down, playing your favorite song.
The unhappiness kind of melts away gradually. Of course, it didn’t come free. It takes gasoline, maintenance, car insurance bills, a place to park the car, etc.
According to Business Insider, 82% of the wealthy are happy, while 98% of the poor are unhappy.
One reason why both wealthy and poor people say “money can’t buy happiness” is because even though you have money, all people, despite social status or wealth, all suffer from the same usual problems.
A wealthier person may have better-living conditions but health problems can arise in anyone.
There’s also relationship problems, mental health issues, family members making bad choices, the sacrifice of working a job you really hate for wealth, your neighborhood, car accidents, and the list goes on and on.
Danielle Kunkle Roberts
Co-Founder, Boomer Benefits
As an entrepreneur, I’ve had time to reflect on this, and as I look back over the years when we are lean compared to know when we are doing well, I can see now that money was the draw but not the point.
For me, it’s been the pursuit of money and all that this entails: the planning sessions, the charting out of how we would grow and the brainstorming of new marketing ideas and the times along the way when we’ve we realized that it was time to hire new employees because we had grown larger than we could handle with our current staff.
It has been those efforts to grow something beyond just ourselves that have made us the happiest.
Money just buys things, not experiences, and it’s the experiences that truly make us feel something, whether that be happy or another feeling altogether.
Financial Advisor | Managing Partner, Runnymede Capital Management
In the course of interviewing over 70 successful people for the Inspired Money podcast, I’ve found that money is a tool.
While money can provide opportunity, comfort, and choice in one’s life, the happiness gained when buying material things is usually fleeting and not long-lasting.
Many people mistakenly believe that buying more stuff will bring them happiness when in fact giving money away to causes aligned with your values, helping people, and contributing to something bigger than oneself more often brings true contentment and fulfillment.
CEO | Founder, The Modern Lady
Money is not the answer to the question of ‘What makes you happy?’.
A person who spends endless hours working to make money, but has little time to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor is not happy.
Happiness is a choice and comes from the satisfaction of your ability to be content with life.
You can be happy from notable accomplishments, such as graduating with a Ph.D. degree, or for smaller accomplishments, such as waking up early to workout and exercise.
But happiness is always a choice.
It’s not caused by an external event, rather, it’s an internal decision. You can decide to be depressed on a Tuesday because the skies are gray and it’s raining, or you can decide to be happy because it’s another beautiful day and the rain is showering the flowers and trees with nutrients to flourish.
Happiness is all about perspective, and your ability to look for the good, positive elements in any situation. Nothing causes happiness, and you can always choose it.
The reason money can’t buy happiness is because people spend their money thinking an *object* will create happiness.
The object may create a fleeting sense of fulfillment, but the happiness lies in the action that comes from what you bought, and that means it requires both a purchase *and* the followthrough to put that purchase to good use!
For example, buying a boat may make you feel good for a minute, but it’s in the follow-through – sailing and making memories, where real happiness shows up.
And granite counters may make you feel good for a second, but in reality it’s having a home that lets you throw parties, or do crafts, or make cookies with the grandkids that create happiness (all of which probably do not require granite counters at all – though they do require a home that is easy and delightful to use).
Health and Wellness Expert, Maple Holistics
No Money No Problems.
Everyone’s heard the old adage “money can’t buy happiness”, but why is it so true? Well, for starters, no one ever feels that “x” amount of money is “enough” money.
The more you have the more you want, so possessing more money only creates a further desire and longing for what you don’t have. And this, in turn, makes you unappreciative of your current situation and consequently not happy.
Money also doesn’t buy happiness because it makes you focus on material goods and distracts from what really matters- personal connections.
As you accumulate more money you will start turning to objects (like fancy purses, watches, etc.) for gratification instead of fostering your relationships with close family and friends.
Plus, once your loved ones catch wind of your good financial situation they might start to take advantage of you, which will result in a lot of upset.
Musician | Author
It would be foolish to say that money can’t buy happiness.
Poverty is soul-grinding and even ordinary money troubles can leach the joy out of a good relationship. Money can solve a lot of problems.
It would probably be accurate to say, though, that money has to be used correctly to solve them. The presence of money by itself is not enough.
In fact, plenty of miserable rich people spend all of their time trying to get more money because they think it will help.
In order to be happy, you have to know what makes you happy and spend your money on that. The things that make a person happy are often elusive and not what they appear to be.
To make matters worse, the presence of money and the power that it brings can obscure our ability to see what makes us happy.
If, however, we are attuned to ourselves, know the difference between what we need and what we want, and have a healthy relationship with our money, we can use it to buy things that make us happy.
We don’t need to be afraid of making money any more than we need to be afraid of spending it. If we are fortunate enough to be able to get money, we should certainly make use of it in a way that enhances our lives.
Personal Finance Blogger, Vital Dollar
Money can’t buy happiness because the things that bring long-term satisfaction and contentment cannot be bought.
Money may allow you to do some fun things and bring some enjoyment, but long-term happiness comes from things like spirituality, relationships, and friendships.
Money can bring pleasure, but it will eventually fade. Many people also struggle to be content with what they have because it’s human nature to want more.
Where I think money can be more helpful is in the opportunities that it provides.
For example, having money may allow you to retire early and spend more time with your family. In that case, it’s the time with your family that brings happiness, not the money. But money can help to make it possible.
Master Financial Coach | Owner, Budgets Made Easy
Spending money may make you happy for a short time but long-term it will not make you happy.
When you save money for emergencies, pay off debt, and live within your means, you will be happier. It will give you peace of mind and will allow you to do the picture things that you dream about. You will stress less and save more.
It will also allow you to be able to give generously. This can give happiness that buying things can’t give you. Giving generously allows you to spread happiness that buying things for yourself can’t give you.
It’s simple. Money can’t buy happiness because happiness is an inside job.
Sustained happiness comes to us when we learn to truly love and accept ourselves just the way we are and with what we have to work with, warts and all.
Money is one of many tools that we use for temporary bursts of happiness to try and fill the voids that are there when our foundation of self-acceptance isn’t very strong.
A strong personal foundation is built upon many things including self-acceptance/love, self-trust, healthy habits, life-balance, self-awareness, connection to others and gratitude.
Co-Creator, Art & Alchemy
Happiness cannot be traded or treated as a commodity.
Happiness is a state of being. This state comes from inner fulfillment, minimized resistance, and openness.
Happiness can be experienced independently of money. Think about the last time you experience profound peace, deep laughter, or joy.
How many times did money represent the greatest proportion in the happiness equations?
Money is a flow of energy. It is a tool used to exchange goods, services, and energetic value. A hammer, screwdriver or electric drill alone cannot fix a house suffering from severe structural damages.
Similarly, money, cannot fill the gap of an unstable spiritual or emotional house.
Of course, money is helpful and has the potential to open up doors to particular lifestyles. But, money alone can not produce happiness. It may prepare the space, but it is not the source.
Happiness is never an external endeavor. Happiness is an outward expression of an inner possession.
Author | Founder, 360 Living
At a very basic level, the problem with external rewards like money is that they create an inherent loop of continual desire.
As soon as we get that next pay raise, our mind starts adjusting to that new “normal” and soon begins to seek out the next upgrade. It’s easy for that to escalate into an ever-mounting sense of lack if we’re not careful to keep things in check.
So how can we combat that tendency to want more and more?
One really great step is to be mindful and appreciative of what we have. For pretty much everyone who has the time and resources to read this article, we can be assured that we have “enough.”
And the great news is that cultivating those mindful and grateful tendencies can serve to remind us of the other things that really do create happiness.
Loved ones. A simple warm drink to get us going in the morning. A walk or a run in the fresh air. These are the things that, if we take the time to appreciate them, put us in a true mindset of happiness.
Actor | Writer | Comedian | Voiceover Artist
I know it’s a cliché, but for me, all of my greatest experiences and the most happiness I’ve ever given and received didn’t cost a dime.
The love and joy I had and continue to have playing with dogs, the overwhelming euphoria I experience making audiences laugh, and not just audiences at shows, but every day I make someone laugh makes me extremely happy.
I often tell people if you ever win millions of dollars in the lottery, but you were in an accident and you lost any one of your five senses or a limb, you’d probably return every penny to get back what you already had.
I look at the rich and famous and how a lot of them have fame and fortune, but so many of them don’t have happiness.
Suicides, bankruptcies, failed marriages, addiction money couldn’t buy their happiness and their relationships. In other words, their love.
I grew up in a loving family even though we were poor and you know what? If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a damn thing.
Money cannot buy happiness because happiness isn’t tangible.
It is something you cannot put a value to and is a sense of feeling that you achieve when you feel fulfilled and satisfied. You cannot directly buy an experience, but you can buy the means to an experience.
Purchasing a plane ticket to travel or purchasing an expensive meal. These things are a means to an end. Society has built this system where it costs money for you to achieve certain experiences.
Yet, you are buying a tangible item that gives you a greater feeling, and that feeling is priceless.
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