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Can Money Buy You Happiness? Essay

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Updated: Aug 14th, 2022

I believe that money can buy a person happiness due to several reasons related to the costs of comfortable and healthy living. These costs include housing, medicine, and meaningful experience, which improve the quality of life. Despite the fact that luxury is often seen as an attractive point in favor of happiness via increased budget or spending, it is not necessary for well-being. Some researchers propose that happiness is dependent on the living standards and the perception of living circumstances, this is a theory of comparison (Muresan et al.). On the other hand, it is also possible to perceive happiness as the satisfaction of personal needs (Muresan et al.). Nevertheless, multiple factors are crucial to form a happy life which need to be reviewed in detail.

First of all, given that happiness is related to the satisfaction of personal needs, there is also a need to consider the essential need of human life such as housing, medicine, and food. These expenditures are continuous throughout human life. In order to be healthy, one needs medication and medical expertise to ensure long life without illnesses. Electricity and water bills need to be paid to ensure comfortable life at home, which includes cleanness, cooking, and entertainment in the form of TV programs or the Internet. Moreover, technological development led to the digitalization of numerous jobs and created the opportunity to interact with anyone despite the distance. This is essential because, without a job, there’s no source of income to pay the described bills, and connection with family and friends is known to improve life satisfaction and address humans’ social needs.

Other personal needs are often related to the purchase of things and meaningful or memorable experiences. It is well-known that a good experience may improve a person’s mood, resulting in satisfaction with life (Mogilner et al.). These experiences vary due to human individuality but are often connected to romance, socialization, personal development. Romance refers to the maintenance of a romantic relationship with a loved person. This indirectly incurs additional costs such as future marriage organization, dates, and small gifts, which contribute to the improvement of the mood. It is widely accepted that personal development leads to satisfaction with one-self. Personal development is related to the acquisition of new skills and broadening of one’s horizon or accumulation of knowledge. The services of trainers and teachers coupled with the purchase of books are not free and considered as spending outside of basic living needs. Furthermore, buying time or expenditures to free oneself from daily chores or unmeaningful but necessary tasks contribute to personal well-being (Mogilner et al.). Numerous researchers found that money spent on buying time alleviates time stress, and people who utilize these services feel happier (Mogilner et al.).

Living standards vary from country to country due to the differences in economic conditions. Consequently, higher living standards refer to higher costs for basic needs. The theory of comparison suggests that an increase in a personal income would not lead to a significant increase in happiness, given that the income of others would similarly increase. Nevertheless, studies identified that a certain threshold exists after which the effect of income on happiness is significantly reduced. For example, in the US, it is equal to 75 000$ (Mogilner et al.), while in Europe, it is close to 35 000$ (Muresan et al.). This demonstrates that an excessive increase in income is not necessary for well-being. Simultaneously, it points to the fact that below this threshold, people are not as satisfied with life and happy as they could have been.

In conclusion, money can buy happiness but only if spent correctly. The correct spending of money involves improvement and maintenance of life via memorable experiences, meaningful things, and satisfaction of basic needs. Moreover, it is not necessary to have an excessive amount of money certain threshold exists, which demonstrates that money cannot amount to complete happiness but attributes to its significant portion.

Works Cited

Mogilner, C., Whillans, A., & Norton, M. I. “Time, money, and subjective well-being.” Handbook of well-being. Edited by E. Diener, S. Oishi, & L. Tay, DEF Publishers, 2018.

Muresan, Gabriela Mihaela, et al. “Can Money Buy Happiness? Evidence for European Countries.” Applied Research in Quality of Life, vol. 15, no. 4, 2019, pp. 953–970., doi:10.1007/s11482-019-09714-3.

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