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The research conducted in the different countries during which people were asked how satisfied they were with their lives clearly indicated the existence of a non-linear relationship between the amount of money and the size of happiness; if the money allows you to get out of the dire straits and enjoy the comfort of the middle class, it is possible that you will be happier; but it is unlikely you will experience something like this when there are millions and tens of millions dollars on your account.
Upon getting used to the money, wealthy people take it for granted; acquisition of goods does not bring as much content as it did, while the abundance of choices becomes tiresome. In this case, the amount of money does not affect the enjoyment of life; the general content with life depends on the various factors, such as health, family, the ability to take pleasure in ordinary activities, and so on. Although money can spare people from many problems, it cannot buy happiness.
Wealthy and poor can be equally unhappy
Money itself is not able to make someone happy or unhappy. Monetary means only afford the opportunities, and these opportunities allow us to build the life that we want. Nevertheless, happiness is an inner state, and it does not depend on material wealth. One can be happy both with money and without it. Wealth itself is not able to bring happiness into your life; neither can poverty.
Money cannot buy health, love, and friendship
Although money allows purchasing medications and high-quality health services, it cannot buy health. Buying a comfortable bed will not buy healthy sleep. By paying money to a person, you will get an employee, but you cannot pay someone to be your friend. A big bright house can be bought, but the warmth of the family and the domestic hearth cannot.
People from wealthy families can graduate from any educational institution, even the most prestigious ones, but they cannot buy intelligence. With the money, you can have access to a variety of activities, but you cannot buy friendship and love. To summarize, “the consumption of durables, charity, personal care, food, health care, vehicles, and housing is not significantly associated with happiness” (DeLeire & Kalil, 2010).
Earning money takes all of your time
Since money is time, wealthy people usually are quite busy. They spend all of their time working or supervising the work of their employees. Due to such a lifestyle, many of them do not have a family. If they are lucky to acquire one, it is very likely they will not have enough time to spend with their spouses and children.
The material benefits cannot be compared with the neglection the children experience when spending time with their nannies and private tutors instead of their parents. To justify themselves, parents tend to buy off with expensive toys and gadgets. Instead of family celebrations, trips to the country, and time happily spent together, and the children get new phones, tablet PCs, and branded clothing.
From the side, it may look like happiness, but the child, no matter how contemporary and tech-savvy he/she was, would be much happier taking a walk in the park with its parents. According to most economists, in order to be successful in the future, the children’s human capital requires the investment of both money and time (Mayer, 1997).
Money allows you to have what you want
Money is a means with which people can afford high-quality food, medical care, as well as gym and fitness club membership. All of this helps them maintain their physical health. At the availability of funds, individuals can evolve intellectually, buy the necessary books, and earn a degree in the best universities around the world. With the necessary funds, people have the opportunity to travel, visit any places on the planet, get inspired, and develop the way they wish.
Money increases confidence
Money helps stimulate emotions that lead to positive results. For example, new clothes often make people more confident. The acquired self-confidence can help get the desired position, make a good bargain, or just add a little bit of abandon to your manner of walking. Money can buy fresh impressions and equipment, one’s favorite hobby.
Because of this, an individual develops his/her creativity and achieves balance. For those who are concerned about security, the availability of money on the bank account helps to gain confidence in the future, because these funds can be used to cover the unexpected expenses such as car repairs or an emergency medical care for a family member.
Financial stability can consolidate the marriage
There are various examples when financial problems destroy the family. This statement was once again confirmed by Jeffrey Dew in his 2009 work, where he showed the relationship between financial problems and divorce. According to Dew’s research, couples with no assets were about 70 percent more likely to divorce over a three-year period compared to couples with assets of $10,000 (Dew, 2009).
What is more, being single and not having a partner casts many people down and drives them to despair; needless to say, a comfortable partnership becomes a source of happiness. In this case, money plays an important role in creating and maintaining good relations in marriage while minimizing stress. One can afford to hire a nanny, a charwoman, or other household staff in order to spend more time with the family and avoid being distracted by minor issues.
Money can only buy happiness up to a certain point
Despite this, one cannot just buy happiness itself. The work of Angus Deaton, the expert at Princeton University, and Daniel Kahneman showed that despite the fact that rich people have a more positive attitude to their life, there is no direct relationship between wealth and the emotional state of contentment (Kahneman & Deaton, 2010).
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In addition, they found that the more significant performance measures of daily emotions are health, loneliness, smoking, but not money. The researchers argue that money can buy satisfaction but not happiness; however, the lack of sufficient funds has a negative influence on both.
Despite the fact that in the majority of cases, people associate happiness with material prosperity, it is the satisfaction with the financial situation, rather than happiness, that they feel. Although money has the capability of increasing one’s confidence, consolidating the matrimony as a result of financial stability and providing various opportunities for the development, it cannot buy true love, health, friendship, and faith of the people.
Sometimes, earning money may take all of one’s time, preventing the individual from building a relationship or spending time with its family and friends. In addition, money is not a guarantee of happiness, since people both with low and high income may be equally happy or unhappy.
DeLeire, T., & Kalil, A. (2010). Does consumption buy happiness? Evidence from the United States. International Review Of Economics, 57(2), 163-176. doi: 10.1007/s12232-010-0093-6
Dew, J. (2009). Bank on It: Thrifty Couples are the Happiest. Web.
Kahneman, D., & Deaton, A. (2010). High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, 107(38), 16489-16493. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1011492107
Mayer, S. (1997). What Money Can’t Buy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.