The age-old question of whether money can buy happiness has been debated by everyone from philosophers to modern day psychologists. The verdict is still out on whether money can directly lead to happiness, but there is definitely a correlation between the two. Money can provide people with a sense of security and it gives them the ability to purchase things that make them happy. While it may not be the key to lasting happiness, it can certainly help people enjoy their lives more.
If you are struggling to find happiness in your life, consider ways that you could increase your income or improve your financial situation. It is possible that having more money could help you feel happier and more content. However, be sure to also focus on other areas of your life that are important to your happiness, such as your relationships, health, and hobbies. Money is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to happiness.
Over the years, there have been heated debates on whether money can buy happiness. Majority argue that money cannot, by all means, buy happiness. However, a considerable body of economic researchers thinks otherwise. Different studies seem to agree, that to a certain extent, money can buy happiness. Therefore, it appears that money can buy happiness, to some extent if used appropriately.
Some people believe that money cannot buy happiness because it cannot buy love, friends or family. Money has been known to cause fights and arguments within families. Money is the main reason for divorce in marriages. Money can also be the main reason for arguments and fights between friends. Love, family and friends are the most important things in life and no amount of money can buy them (Layton, 2011).
On the other hand, researchers have argued that money does buy happiness, but not in all cases. One of the studies was conducted by Andrew Oswald and Stefan Wittrock. The study found out that “humans react more positively when they receive a monetary windfall than an equivalent increase in wages”(Dunn, Gilbert & Wilson, 2008, p.9). The study revealed that people are happier when they spend money on themselves rather than when they save it.
A second study was conducted by Daniel Kahneman and colleagues. The study found out that “people derive happiness not from the total amount of income but from the relative amount – how much more or less they earn than other people with whom they compare themselves”(Dunn et al., 2008, p.10). The findings of this study reveal that people tend to be happier when they earn more money than their peers. This is because they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
A third study was conducted by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. The study found out that “spending money on other people can make us happier than spending it on ourselves”(Dunn et al., 2008, p.10). The findings of this study reveal that people tend to be happier when they spend money on others. This is because they feel a sense of satisfaction and happiness when they see others happy.
To comprehend how money, as a commodity of exchange, may bring happiness, it is crucial to grasp what happiness means. According to Kesebir and Diener (2008), “happiness is a state of well-being, an enjoyable or satisfying experience.” There’s considerable potential for money to bring or have a close relation with pleasure rather than joy with this definition.
Money can influence happiness because it can provide opportunities and resources that are otherwise not available, which in turn lead to pleasurable experiences. Money cannot buy joy because it is an emotion derived from positive psychological states, such as love and gratitude, which are not externally influenced. Money cannot directly generate these positive psychological states, but can indirectly influence them by providing the means to do things that induce them (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).
There have been numerous studies done on the relationship between money and happiness and they all show a positive correlation; meaning as income increases so does happiness. However, there is a point of diminishing returns where after a certain income level is reached, happiness levels off (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). Money can buy happiness up to a point and after that, other things need to be in place for happiness levels to continue to rise.
It has been shown that money can influence happiness, but not directly. Money can provide opportunities and resources that lead to pleasurable experiences, which in turn lead to happiness. However, money cannot directly generate positive psychological states such as love and gratitude, which are required for joy. Money can indirectly influence these emotions by providing the means to do things that induce them. Therefore, it can be said that money can buy happiness, but not joy.
The average individual in the Western world is less satisfied now than he or she was 30 years ago, albeit real income has considerably improved in recent decades. Happiness levels have remained constant across time among developed countries, despite significant gains in actual money. One of the most fascinating explanations for this perplexing discovery is that individuals frequently spend their amassed riches on activities that provide little in terms of long-term happiness, such as acquiring luxury vehicles and undertakings (such as traveling to faraway lands).
While it is certainly true that having more money can make life more comfortable and offer greater opportunities, there is little evidence to suggest that it will lead to lasting happiness. In fact, research suggests that once people’s basic needs are met, further increases in income have little effect on happiness levels.
So, while money may be able to buy some happiness, it is not necessarily the key to a long and fulfilling life. Instead, focus on things like relationships, experiences, and personal growth if you want to find true happiness.
Money’s potential to increase happiness may be hampered by certain types of decisions that thinking about money encourages; the mere consideration of having money makes people less inclined to help friends, give to charity, or spend time with others, which are typically associated with pleasure (Dunn, Aknin & Norton, 2008). Simultaneously, while thinking about money might limit pro-social behavior, many individuals can provide appropriate vehicle for achieving such pro-social objectives.
Money can be used as a means of barter for goods and services that are desired but not affordable, or it may be donated to those in need. It is also possible to use money as a way of expressing gratitude to others, such as by giving a gift or bonus. Money may provide opportunities for social interaction and bonding, such as through shared meals or other activities.
While there is evidence that money may have some positive effects on happiness, it is important to remember that these effects are likely to be small and may vary depending on the individual. Money does not guarantee happiness, but it can be a useful tool in creating the conditions that are conducive to happiness. There are many things that contribute to happiness, and money is just one of them. Money is not the only thing that matters, but it can make a difference.