There is a big misconception about the relationship between money and happiness. In my first book, You Only Live Once, I briefly covered the concept that money can buy happiness. It was an area of the book that encompassed one and a half pages but sparked a heated discussion.
To clear this up, I’ve been going around the country explaining how money can enable happiness. Money, surely, isn’t everything, but it can help you afford the things you need that can put a smile on your face.
I want to first explain that money is a tool and happiness is an emotional state of being. Money is a result of work, investments or a byproduct of your creations. Happiness is an emotional state experienced at any given moment for any reason. You can actually choose to be happy. Much like money, happiness isn’t an end goal.
Money isn’t happiness
Some believe money is the ultimate indicator of success. Thus, achieving success will lead to happiness. The reality is that most people experience just a short moment of joy at achieving. What enables happiness is the feeling of fulfillment by having gone through the journey. Happiness isn’t a destination. You’re not going to be happy because you have money. You may become happy because money has enabled you to do or acquire certain things.
Money can buy happiness
The old saying that “money can’t buy happiness” has been repeated quite often. Although there is some level of truth to this, it’s not quite correct. Money isn’t happiness but money can buy happiness. You need money to buy food, have a roof over your head, and clothes to wear. Those things does enable happiness in your life. You’re not starving, you have protection from the elements, and have a place to lay your head.
Believing money can’t buy happiness impacts your relationship with money. It’s our relationship with money that influences our spending behaviors and informs our financial habits.
Why make more money or spend it mindfully if money has no impact on happiness? Accepting that money has a role in feeling happy, you then can have the emotional motivator to actively grow your financial knowledge.
Happy Money Happy Life
Happy Money is about managing your finances that align with your values–what matters most to you. When you’re managing your money well, you’re in the zone of what I call Happy Money. In this zone, you have a healthy relationship with money and understand personal finance concepts, and equipped to ask for professional financial advice.
The next stage is what I call Happy Life. When you’re money is aligned with your values and working to support your dreams, you’re in the Happy Life Zone. You are living in the present moment and making moves towards a brighter future that gives you joy in everyday life.
Money is meant to be used and when done effectively can foster an environment where you can thrive in life.
Happy Money, Happy Life is about finding the intersection of money and living so you’re enjoying your life today as you work to create a better future. You’re not postponing your happiness for some time that’ll never come. You’re not chasing money or setting just any financial goal.
I’m going to continue exploring this concept and plan to share with you ideas and stories from those who are living in the happy zone between money and life.
Some further happy money articles
Not convinced? Here are some of my favorite articles that explain the connection between money and happiness.
“But keep in mind that no matter how you spend your money, you should avoid debt. Debt is corrosive to our happiness, undermining it more than we expect.” – Three Ways Money Buys Happiness – Psychology Today
“It’s a question central to daily life: Do you spend money to save time or spend time to save money? Well, if happiness is the goal, you might consider opening that wallet.” – Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests – New York Times
“In attempting to answer these seemingly depressing questions, the new scholars of happiness have arrived at some insights that are, well, downright cheery. Money can help you find more happiness, so long as you know just what you can and can’t expect from it.” – Here’s How Money Really Can Buy You Happiness – Time