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25 January 2011

Yes Virginia, Money Can Buy Happiness

Whenever I've heard people say "Money can't buy happiness..." my response has always been "...then I'll bet you've never struggled with money."

Because anyone who has ever struggled with money would argue that money can indeed buy happiness. Maybe not in every area of your life. But in any area that is related to money.

Such as having the freedom to:
...Buy a nice car
...Or go on a nice vacation
...Buy a nicer house
...Or fix up the one you already have
...Pay off your credit card bills
...Update your wardrobe
...Give to charity
...Do more fun things with your family
...Sleep better at night not having to worry about money

I know what you're thinking - there are plenty of stories about people whose lives have been ruined by fame & fortune. Those who become child stars on TV, movies, or through music. And those "lucky ones" who hit it big by winning the lottery. And everyone knows some "rich snob" who seems to have it all, but still acts like a jerk.

All good points.

But...

Just because money doesn't buy happiness for everyone doesn't mean it doesn't buy happiness for most people. Right? Maybe? Or am I just way off base on this one?

When you look at the list above, you can see that not all of the points I made have to do with money. Some of them simply have to do with having choices. And all of them are related to having freedom. That's my whole point. And the reason for my response to those who save "Money can't buy happiness."

And the reason why some people's lives take a turn for the worse after they come into a big amount of money. It's NOT the money that ruins their lives. It's the power of choice that does them in. And the power of freedom. I know, its just a difference of a few words. If the money gives them the ability to choose, and the freedom to live their lives differently, then it's the money's fault.

But I do NOT agree.

Just like when bad things happen to good people. I certainly don't wish anything bad on anyone, and I don't blame anyone who has been affected by something awful in their life. But we all have the power to choose. Good or bad. Rich or poor.

But that's just my opinion, it doesn't prove anything. So here's proof. It's a study by the Center for Health and Well-being, Princeton University, titled High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being. And it shows that happiness increase with money.

But there is catch, of course. In the study it showed that happiness increased with money - up to an income level of $75,000 a year. After that, money doesn't affect happiness. As with many things in life, "it's all relative".

For someone living in poverty, or someone living in a third world country, $75,000 is rich. And for many Americans, $75,000 is rich. Yet for others (especially for someone like me, who lives in a relatively wealthy area of the country) $75,000 is barely enough to survive!

Yep, it's all relative.

Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. Maybe I should be thankful for what I have, because of ... well, just because.

So Virginia, maybe money can only buy happiness for some people. For others, happiness is determined by something more than just money. And freedom is about more than just being able to buy "stuff".

What do you think? Do you agree with the study? Can money buy happiness?





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Debt Tips wrote:

Thanks to Control Your Cash for including us in this week's carnival:

http://controlyourcash.com/...

01 February 2011 at 01:21 PM

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