Does Money Buy Happiness?

A common myth is that money can buy happiness.

If someone figured out how to bottle happiness, they could be a kazillionaire.
If you listen to anyone who has been poor, who has attained wealth, they don’t necessarily say they are happier.

Happiness is something we choose, internally.

Granted, not having money can create stress.

Not having money can create undue hardships.

Being poor, can hamper you from doing the things you want.

No cash in the wallet, and you don’t get to buy those pretty things you have been eying.

But, I have also seen people, without money, who don’t appear stressed, who work with what they have in a creative way, and set their sites on doing things that don’t cost money. But, they appear happy.

What’s their secret? First, I think it’s their faith. Faith in a higher power. And secondly, I think they choose to be happy. They are happy with what they have been blessed with. Granted, they may not be driving a Mercedes or living in a mansion, but their old rundown car, gets them to where they need to go, and their home is filled with love.

I once heard a story of a poor man, who idolized a business man who had tons of money. The poor man said, “If I had his money, I would throw mine away” “Oh, how happy I would be.”

A few months later, the poor man had the opportunity to visit the rich man at his home. The poor man was in awe of the beautiful home, and brand new vehicles parked in the driveway.

The rich man greeted him at the door. Behind the rich man, stood a woman, and a small child in a wheel chair. The rich man introduced the poor man to his wife, and daughter, who was a quadriplegic. (she had suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident). The rich man commented that it saddened him, that there was nothing else he could do for his daughter.

The poor man realized, that all the money in the world, would not help to make the rich man’s daughter walk again.

On his way home, the poor man realized that even though he didn’t have a lot of money, his life was rich. He felt blessed, and never idolized another rich person again.

Listen to those self made millionaires, and what they say.  Money gives them security. They don’t necessarily say they are happier.

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12 Responses to Does Money Buy Happiness?

  1. Barbara says:

    Hnuttal

    Thank you for sharing your insights on this subject.

    Re: the story about poor man/rich man. That is a true story, as told to me. I may not have expressed the poor man’s final thoughts correctly, but it did make him realize that even though, from the exterior, the rich appear to “have it all”, oftentimes, that’s not the case. He also realized he was blessed with a life and family, that one could not put a price on.

    I think it’s so easy to look at wealthy individuals, and think they “have it made”, but they are human beings with the same issues as anyone else. We can all choose happiness, but having money doesn’t guarantee that we will be any happier. (That’s evident by watching the news on celebrities)

    I agree that by gaining wealth slowly, and by working hard for it, a person is more apt to retain their wealth…plus they remember where they came from.

    I like your last paragraph. It reminds of of the saying, “do what you love, and the money will follow”.

  2. hnuttall says:

    Barbara, I really liked this post more than most money vs. happiness posts I’ve seen, because you acknowledged that money does have some benefits. It infuriates me when people say there are some things money can’t buy, therefore it’s useless. While happiness is something that people can create without any money at all, money can make your life more comfortable, reduce crime, end world hunger, cure cancer, etc.

    However, I don’t think it’s fair to pit money against a severe spinal cord injury and use that to illustrate money’s shortcomings. A more fair comparison would be a rich man with a quadriplegic daughter against a poor man with a quadriplegic daughter. Then we’d see that while the situation was still tragic, money would still be better than no money. The rich man could afford an operation that could possibly let his daughter walk again (if such an operation existed), support his daughter for the rest of her life so she wouldn’t have a financial tragedy on top of the medical one, quit his job or business to spend more time with her, or fund spinal injury research to help stop these things from happening.

    Another thing is that I believe rich people are much more likely to be happy when they come into their money over time through their own effort. People who inherit their money or acquire it suddenly tend to lose it quickly, get divorced, become drug addicts, etc. But people who work their way up tend to be more balanced, keep everything in perspective, and be happy.

    One final thought–why not pursue both money and happiness? They’re not in conflict with each other unless we believe them to be.

  3. Wow Barbara, that was a fast response! I definitely agree that people who appear to have it all quite often don’t. It’s hard to quantify things like being able to get a good night’s sleep or look at yourself in the mirror, but abstract things are often much more important than material things. Advertisers sure do spend a lot of money to sell us on the importance of material things though!

    By the way, how do I get my full name to display with my comments? I just updated my profile, so we’ll see if I did it right.

  4. Barbara says:

    Hi Hunter,

    I happened to be checking my comments, had some time, so decided to supply an answer.

    Your full name is now showing, as well as a link to your blog pages. I checked out your post. So well written, on a subject I can see you are passionate about.

    Ironic, you should mention Steve Pavlina. His blog is one I read a lot, prior to starting my blogs. I like his attitude, and by the looks of it, it’s paying off for him. Smart man!

    BTW: I will be adding a link to your site/page in my Blogging Buddies section of my other blog…www.bloggingwithoutablog.com. I do this for all who comment or link to either of my blogs. Hopefully it will send some visitors your way.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  5. It’s very nice of you to give a link to your visitors, Barbara. It’s always a pleasant surprise to stumble across a friendly person in the blogosphere!

    You know of Steve Pavlina? Well, I guess that’s actually not too big of a surprise, since he gets 2 million visitors a month. Although he has a lot of good stuff to say on different topics, the main thing that impresses me about him is his singular focus on value creation. The reason I’m just now in 2007 starting to notice blogs is because the ones I read early on had no real value, just people who liked to listen to themselves talk.

    I’ll have to check out your blogs more thoroughly when I have some more time. You seem to cover a lot of different areas here.

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi Hunter,

    You will have to check out my other blog. I have a few loyal readers and we get a real discussion going in the comment section of some of the posts. We all try to help one another.

    This blog, is what one would call non-niche. I like to write about things I hear about, use, books I read, etc…and inform readers of my opinions, etc. My other blog is a niche blog, and I am helping other bloggers by sharing what I learned, and continue to learn in the process of blogging.

    Steve Pavlina. Yes, he sounds like a wise young man. I like some of the older posts on his blog, and have listened to some of his podcasts as well.

    Question? Do you have a blog? All I could find was that one post of yours. With your writing style, I think a blog would be well suited for you.

    Hope to see you around in my comment sections again soon.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Re: the link. I may have to change the way I write that page, as I have been researching and read about link farms. It sounds like I may inadvertently be creating one. Who knew? It appears some of those, that have been blogging for many years, have taken advantage of, (gaining page rank with links), and now the rest of us are paying for it. I may have to remove the direct link, but I will still list the names/sites of all of my “blogging buddies”.

  7. Hi, Barbara. Nope, I don’t have a blog right now. In fact, I don’t even have web hosting for that domain (it just forwards to another site, and uses domain masking to show my domain name in the address bar).

    I definitely plan to have a blog at some point, but I’m afraid I don’t have much free time available. I’m tossing around some ideas in my head, and I think when I get some web hosting I’ll start off with a base of in-depth articles, then add a blog after that. It will all be about the nebulous idea of “success,” so I guess that would fall somewhere between niche and non-niche.

    Thanks for showing such a high level of interaction with your readers. Having the opportunity to do that is exactly why I’m interested in blogging.

  8. Barbara says:

    Hello Hunter,

    Unfortunately although blogging is technically a hobby, it does get time consuming, but I sure enjoy it. It’s not always easy to come up with posts that hold value, but I keep working at it.

    I do enjoy the commenting interaction of blogging. I like to give my readers “their say”.

    If you are remotely thinking of having a website/blog, and already have some ideas, I would suggest you start journaling your thoughts. If you were to use a text editor to do so, when you start your site, transferring the articles would be super simple. Articles on success, are always popular. Let me know when you’re official. I would love to read more of your work.

  9. Hi Barbara, remember me? I’m back and I have a blog now! Blogging is turning out to be quite an adventure, and I’m just getting started!

    I’ve subscribed to your “Blogging Without A Blog” blog, although I’m not sure I understand the title. I really like how responsive you are to comments, and I think that gives you a big advantage over the really big metablogs like ProBlogger. Darren is great, but because of the sheer volume of comments he gets, it’s impossible for him to respond to more than a tiny fraction of them.

  10. Barbara says:

    Hi Hunter,

    I checked out your blog….great job!!!!

    My BWAB name came from the fact that most of us are blogging already, but didn’t realize it. If we journal our thoughts, we are blogging, in a sense. We just don’t do it in cyberspace. Hence, most people could have a blog, if they are willing to learn the mechanics of blogging.

    It’s that easy. :)

    BTW: Thanks for the compliment.

  11. OK, I get it now. I’ve been journaling my thoughts in my head for many years, and now I just have to transfer them to WordPress!

  12. Barbara says:

    Hunter,

    You got it! :)

    Just think of how many posts you can create with all of those thoughts.

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