Don't tell me where your priorities are.

Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell you what they are.


-James W. Frick





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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Does Money Equal Happiness?

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Money is the root of all evil, or so the saying goes. But is it?

We need money to survive. Everything costs. Even if we don’t physically have the money in hand, we still spend it. Everyone knows, those with money are better and those without money are bad…well that’s the thinking, right?

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So, does money equal happiness?

This question has a complicated answer, but the short answer is yes, I think it does. Maybe not in the way you’re thinking…

I was having a discussion last night, when the person I was talking to said to me “I think you would be happier if you just had more money.” I didn’t know how to respond. Sure, I would be happy if I had more money, but I would be happy because my bills would be paid and my family taken care of. Not because I could have tons of stuff. I don’t need stuff, I do, however, need to know my family is taken care of.

Being financially comfortable to me is ideal, that’s what I’m shooting for. Knowing needs are met makes me happy. This doesn’t mean I need a lot of money, it just means I need enough money to do what I need to do.
Greed and happiness are 2 different things. Greed, to me, is the opposite of happiness. Greed is all consuming and ugly. Happiness is, well, happy. It’s light and fluffy and shiny and good. Those who need millions of dollars or lots of things can’t be happy; they are too consumed with stuff. And I would bet they aren’t even happy with all the stuff they have, it’s just stuff at the end of the day.

Money often goes hand in hand with stress. But most times money leads to stress because we don’t have enough to do what we need. So in that case, having more money would be good and take some stress away, hopefully making you happier because you have less stress. Money can also be stressful if you are in a constant chase for more than you need.

Can someone be happy without money? To this, I also answer yes. There are populations of people who have given up worldly treasures, such as money, and they are happier than they could have ever dreamt. Is this because they don’t have to worry about money or because they are now free to focus on things more important than being consumed with money? Probably a bit of both, but more of the latter.

Money can lead to happiness, and unhappiness just as easy. Next time you think your life would be easier if you could just hit the lotto, try to change your thinking. Focus on what you have and what you need, truly need. Think of ways to get you were you need to be and what would make your life comfortable, you don’t need much more than that.

So yes, money can lead to happiness if the powers of money are used for good, not evil. And remember...

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