We have all heard the old saying “Money does not buy happiness” and we have also heard that it is better to cry in a Ferrari than on the bus. But what is the truth about money? Can it really buy happiness? It depends on what people consider happiness. It is a very vague and subjective term. People find happiness in different things, whether it be a stable and secure life, material possessions, or just the finer things in life.
Some psychologists define happiness as a positive feeling that is achieved once our needs are fulfilled and met. These needs go from the most basic such as nourishment and shelter, to social needs like having friends and feeling as an important part of our community, and also personal needs like having some of our wishes realized.
Let us begin by considering what money can buy and how those things might bring us happiness. Money can buy us food, a roof over our heads, and the basic things we need to live on a daily basis such as running water, electricity, and even internet access which is considered an important necessity in today’s world. Without money, it would be impossible to have these basic things being as they come with a price. So in a way, money does buy that part of happiness.
“Some psychologists define happiness as a positive feeling that is achieved once our needs are fulfilled and met”
Money can by us security and an education for our children so that they may grow up and be able to procure their own money and fulfill their own needs. Money buys us the clothes we and our families wear. It buys us the heat and coats we need during winter. It can buy the medicine we need when we are sick and the treatment needed for some illness.
We live in a materialistic society that revolves around buying things. We are constantly bombarded by advertisements and publicity than entices us to buy more and new things. We have been led to believe that we need to have the latest smartphone in the market, the best clothes there are, the nicest car, and simply have all the best things in life.
We strive to earn money to buy these things because we have been told that without them we would not be as happy and feel good about ourselves as we should. The industry is now constantly updating each little gadget there is on a yearly basis and we are compelled to get them.
People are now spending a big part of their monthly incomes in these things, believing that they will make them happy. But why? There are two main reasons:
To be popular. All the cool kids have all the best things. It sure sounds childish and immature but most people never actually grow out of this belief. It is as simple as it was at school, if we are popular, it means people like us and want to be with us and be our friends, so we try to impress our peers with the things we own. But if there is something that money surely cannot buy is friends. It can buy the interest of people, but true friendship cannot be paid with cash or a credit card, it is paid by the experiences people live together whether or not money is involved.
To be successful. Or at least show off our success. It is a common misconception that successful people are always rich, they can afford anything they want, and have all the latest gadgets and trinkets. So most people believe that success can be measured by the amount of things they own, when actually being successful is about more than just having money, it is about feeling that we have accomplished something useful with our lives and have contributed in a positive way in the lives of others.
So it might be time to consider a change of heart and mind about these attitudes. We need to understand as a society that material things such as smartphones, fancy clothes, and the best shoes do not bring us real happiness. They can surely bring us momentary happiness. When we buy a new phone we are always excited about it and feel like a child on Christmas morning, but after a few days we simply burn that joy out because we have become accustomed to our most recent acquisition and we are left with a feeling of longing that can only by quenched by buying something else. And so the cycle goes on.
But true and lasting happiness comes from within ourselves. It is that feeling we get when we are with the ones we love, our friends and families; that feeling of having achieved something good with our lives. We need to stop defining ourselves by the things we own and start finding out who we really are as people. Stop caring about what other people may think of us based on what we have and do the same towards them. We need to take our happiness with our own hands and care about the things that really matter.
So can money buy happiness? Yes and no. Money can buy things we need to be happy, such as food and shelter. Money can help us fulfill some of our needs as human beings, but it just cannot buy the love of our friends and family. It cannot buy the experiences we live with them and it definitely cannot buy that feeling of satisfaction we get from our accomplishments.