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Can money buy happiness?

, August 27, 2015, 0 Comments

happiness-money-buy-marketexpress-inThe first line that comes to my mind on this subject is: “People who say that money cannot buy happiness, does not know where to shop”. I had come across this line on a T-shirt.  So can money buy happiness?

To answer this question, we must dig into our own happiness. Happiness differs from person to person. Dr. Amte received got satisfaction and happiness by working for the poor people in tribal areas. However, to stay in tribal areas, buy food and medicines, you would need sufficient amount of money before taking the jump. At least, you should be sure that there is some amount of income coming in. For some, happiness comes from seeing their increasing bank balance.

After my research, I have come to the conclusion that happiness changes as per your age. It requires no brain to say that at every stage and age groups, you need money.

Let us take the example of Azim Premji. There was news some time back that he is the highest donor for charity purpose. He is the biggest philanthropist in India. Let us assume that at this stage, he derives pleasure (or happiness) by donating his hard earned money. So he needs money to buy his happiness. At a younger age, he may have gained happiness by seeing his empire grow or by seeing his net worth grow; again this involves money.

Let us forget about these honorable and large-hearted men. Let us take our own example, age wise.

  • 0-15 years: Schooling period. Eat – sleep – study – enjoy – repeat. Happiness at this stage means doing nothing. Just get more sleep or play or TV time. It needs money (parent’s money) to do nothing and enjoy.
  • 16-30 years: Happiness: Buy fancy clothes, food, house, cars, etc. Requires ample amount of money.
  • 31-45: Happiness derived by providing a comfortable lifestyle to our family. Almost nil mortgages. Good sedan class car. Be able to provide for schooling of the children. Save for retirement. All needs money!!!
  • 46-60: Happiness derived in family matters. Providing for the college education of the children. Comfortable lifestyle. No mortgages. A decent corpus for retirement. Ahh, money, money & money.
  • 61-75: Develop hobbies to keep yourself busy. Get socially active. Well, need money to travel to remain social. Hobbies are not cheap (Decent camera goes in 6 figures). Sustain the current lifestyle.
  • Above 76: Money for medicines and lifestyle.

So, by all means, you can shout that money does not buy happiness. However, you have to make sure that you have tons and tons of money before making that statement.

Who can afford to say that money cannot buy happiness?

  • People with sufficient amount of money can afford to say that.
  • People who have got money by immoral means. They lose peace of mind over the years. Left with guilt and money, they make such statements
  • People who are not ready to accept the reality
  • People who are diagnosed with terminal illness. Obviously, they will long for health. They will make such statements. However, they forget that their medicines, chemo or such other procedures costs a bomb.
  • Any dead person can claim that money will not buy happiness

Money itself is not happiness. Money is a medium to achieve our goals and happiness.

When was the last time you felt sad because you received some money!!! How is your feeling on 30th or 31st when you receive SMS saying bank account has been credited with the salary!!! What will be your feeling if you do not receive this SMS by 9 pm!!!

Now, let us move to the final part.

Another important question: If money is so important why do people donate it for charity? Why do they not keep if as it is for future generations??

There are 2 parts to the answer:

  • Psychologically, it feels amazing when you give something to others. Try buying snacks for beggars. Their smiling faces will make your day. The feeling that you made a difference in somebody’s life will make you happy. Instead of giving your old clothes in exchange for some utensils, try donating it. Check how is the feeling in both the cases. Again, a strong correlation between money and happiness.
  • Historically, it is evident that 90% of the people who received huge fortune as inheritance (i.e. without actually working of it), have blown it away!!! So, people do not want their kid to get spoilt and lose in life. It makes you happy that you left ‘just enough’ for your kid. Not less which will push them in a debt trap, not more which will spoil them.

At last, we are left with one question: why do some self-made, rich people keep on earning more, although they are super rich by all standards?

I do not know the correct answer for this. Since, I am neither rich nor self-made, I can only guess. The guess is feeling of insecurity. The fear of going back to the old living conditions. This makes them work more and more, bringing more and more money. All the while, they keep on saying negative things about money.

Do not pay heed to any of those guys who say stupid things about money like “money is not important”, “money is not everything”. Just continue to keep earn till you have accumulated enough for your goals. In this journey, do not become miserable. Splurge on yourself, family and friends. However, keep an eye on investments. Spend responsibly.

Guess what, the moment you accumulate enough money for all your goals, you are free to make any stupid statements about money. Who cares!!!