Money Can Buy You Happiness — Kinda!
How Can Money Buy You Happiness?
- **Disclaimer — I am not by any means super wealthy or a financial advisor. Use this information to guide you to make improvements in your own life accordingly with what is right for you and your family. And, as always, do your own research.
While most will say money cannot buy you happiness and technically, they are right. You can, however, improve your mental health overall using money as a tool, which in turn can lead to greater happiness. Money can buy you happiness in that it can buy you more time and freedom. Those factors ultimately lead to more overall life satisfaction and can allow you to use your time to help others. Time, freedom, improved mental health and helping others are key factors in terms of long term “happiness” or rather the feeling of contentment and peace. Money can buy you happiness and here’s how.
Having more money can lead to improved mental health in several ways:
- Reduces financial stress: Having a sufficient amount of money can reduce financial stress and anxiety, as it provides a sense of financial security and stability.
- Improves access to resources: Having more money can increase access to resources such as therapy, medication, and healthy lifestyle choices, which can improve overall mental well-being.
- Increases sense of control: Having financial resources can give a person a sense of control over their life, which can contribute to improved mental health.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into these concepts.
Financial freedom is the ability to pursue one’s goals and interests without being constrained by the need to work for financial reasons. There are many ways to achieve financial freedom. Your definition of financial freedom might be different than others, so that will be something specific to you. While one person might feel free with $5,000 in the bank, another might only feel freedom after being able to completely retire from their “9–5” job.
The following are some of the advantages of financial independence:
Financial independence allows people to spend their time however they want, rather than being tied to a job to make a living. Once you have the time to work on things that truly matter to you, that sense of freedom can significantly improve your mental health. For some, not having to report to a boss or feel confined to a life of work is enough to greatly improve how they feel.
Some things to consider before working towards the goal of financial freedom; do I want to move up in my current field, do I want to change my field entirely, or should I start my own business? Are there things I can do now to positively impact my current financial situation (i.e., investing, savings, paying down debt, etc.)?
Financial freedom allows people to reduce their stress and anxiety about money in general and thus increase their feeling of financial “security.” Being financially free can even improve relationships by reducing financial stress and allowing people to focus on what truly matters to them.
Once you reach a certain level of “security” monetarily, you will notice that you now have the ability to focus on things that you need to improve like your mental health. Having more money will open up access to facilities and providers that you might not have had before. Not having to worry about surviving paycheck to paycheck will even allow you to consider things a bit outside of the box. Unfortunately, in our country, many alternative health options are not covered by health insurance but are significantly beneficial. Things like acupuncture, wellness retreats, mental health gadgets, IV supplementation and access in general to “holistic” doctors and organic clean foods can make the world of difference for your emotional health.
Being able to have control over your finances creates a sense of control over your life. While we truly cannot control everything, having this freedom allows you to make better decisions for you and your family.
Reaching specific financial goals can make you happier.
If you want to be happy, it’s important to know that happiness is a choice. While it might not seem this way especially at first, feeling happy truly is something you can choose to do to with the right tools in your toolbelt. We can’t control what other people do or think — but we can control how we respond and react in situations where others may try their best to make us miserable. Not worrying about money, helps you work on parts of yourself that help you attain better self-awareness, understanding and allows you to start to focus on those parts of your life. Switch from “surviving” mode to “thriving” mode. It’s not easy, but it can be attained.
Money is not evil, but it doesn’t automatically bring happiness either. You will need to start to believe that money is a tool and all tools or “matter” in our physical world are comprised of energy. Essentially money is also energy. Energy can be positive or negative (and yes, some people do use money for “evil” things). This is where you can decide what kind of energy you want money to represent in your life. Is money something to be feared, stressed about, “evil” or lacking in your life? Challange yourself to start visualizing and try to really believe that money is something that can help you achieve your wildest dreams and beyond. Then take action and get creative!
There are many ways that money can buy happiness if used wisely: paying off debt; buying experiences over things; saving for retirement; investing in yourself by taking classes at school or college…the list goes on and on! The key here isn’t just getting rich quick — it’s making sure your finances help improve your quality of life rather than hinder it.
Happiness also comes from controlling your debt and having enough money to get by every month.
Does money really buy happiness?
It’s a question that has been asked for centuries, with no clear answer. But there are some things you can do to increase your chances of being happy with what you have, or at least not miserable about it.
As comedian Daniel Tosh once said, “Have you ever seen a sad person on a Wave Runner?” Seriously though, have you? I think not!
First off do an assessment of your current financial situation and make a plan to deal with it…TODAY! Be realistic and honest with yourself. Start by making sure that the money in your bank account is enough to cover all of your needs every month and avoid going into debt by sticking to a budget. There are many websites and apps that can help and allows you to track your own data automatically. Once you get a real picture of where you are at, start setting some goals.
Setting goals will be different for everyone, but some examples might be if you are in debt, set a goal to pay your debt down monthly with automatic payments or consider checking out Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball plan or if you want to change careers to something that will pay you a higher salary, start thinking about how much you want to paid and which careers will get you to that level.
Once you get your goals clear, create a plan and start implementing it immediately. Creating financial freedom will not happen overnight, but with time, patience, effort and diligence it is inevitable. If you want to fast track your financial goals, consider the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early). Graham Stephan on YouTube has numerous videos about the FIRE movement.
Reducing debt or even getting rid of it all together is huge step towards happiness.
Debt can be a burden, but there are ways to get out of debt and build up your savings and investment accounts. If you are able real estate can level up for financial game tremendously. Robert Kiyosaki has a wealth of knowledge (no pun intended) in regard to real estate, building wealth and being realistic about money.
One way you could do this would be using a personal loan from the bank or credit union that would allow you to pay down your debts at an accelerated pace over time so that when they are eventually paid off, it will feel like such a relief or use that money to invest in yourself (i.e., education, starting your own business)! NOT ALL DEBT IS BAD! I highly encourage you to start following successful people online (stop thinking they are all evil) and do some research about how the wealthy stay wealthy and create generational wealth to bring their entire family out of poverty for future generations.
Challenge yourself to question your own limiting beliefs tied to money. Start thinking in terms of managing money, investing and buying assets vs. buying things you cannot afford, looking like you’re rich and hoping you get rich by “dressing the part.” Have you noticed that most billionaires dress modestly and do so to eliminate the number of important decisions they make in a day by eliminating unnecessary worry tied to “dressing the part.” Invest in the brand, stop wearing the brand and then go a step further by creating your own brand!
If you can afford to spend a little extra on yourself or personal life that can also go a long way in helping you feel good.
If you can afford to spend a little extra on your personal life that can also go a long way in helping you feel good. Especially prioritize self-care.
You might not be able to save enough money for a big trip or expensive hobby, but there are ways around this. For example, if you want to go on vacation but don’t have enough money for it yet, consider renting a home of Airbnb for a quick staycation instead of spending money you don’t have or just staying at home. If something brings you joy and does not break the bank, do it. For me, it’s an occasional massage. Stress relief that money can buy!
The same goes for donating money: If someone else needs help and doesn’t have much themselves — especially if the person is younger and has no job — you could help out by giving them some cash (and maybe even buy them some food). It’s an easy way of making someone’s day better without having any impact on your own finances! Helping other people has been proven to benefit your own mental health.
Giving back is good for mental and physical health, but it’s not always possible when you’re struggling financially.
Giving back is good for your mental health as mentioned above, but not when it will burden you even more. Just be mindful of your personal situation. I have heard that just like anything with energy, if you give, you will receive (wink wink).
It’s one of the best ways to boost your self-esteem and make you feel like you’re making a difference in the world. The act of giving someone else something can also help relieve stress, which is especially important if you’re struggling financially — money can be tight when you’re trying to pay off student loans or save up for retirement. It may seem like giving money away would have little effect on the person receiving it, but studies show that people who receive charitable donations tend not only feel better about themselves but actually perform better at work and school as well!
Giving back makes us feel happier by showing others how much we care about them; even if they don’t return these feelings (or even acknowledge them), giving will still give us a sense of satisfaction because we know there are other people out there who need our help more than ourselves.”
Once you reach the level of financial independence that you want, keep in mind that most people need to continue to work on something meaningful to them and continue to help others or they tend to make their mental health worse.
An example of someone extremely wealthy that let his own needs get the best of him is John McAfee (Netflix has a current documentary out detailing his life, here is the trailer). While John might have started out with good intentions, and many people have mixed feelings about him, he ultimately paid a huge price in the end and helped very few close to him.
Many wealthy people recommend having another plan for your life after you reach your goal, or you will become someone that keeps searching for the next thing to make you feel “happy,” which can lead to risky behavior and worsening mental health issues.
Appreciating the things you have now, helps to grow feelings of gratitude and contentment immediately.
In the end, money can buy happiness, but only if you’re willing to make sacrifices for it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in material possessions and forget about the things that really matter. That doesn’t mean money can buy happiness for everyone — it just means it buys more happiness when you do have enough of it!
Changing the way you view and use money is the key. Having money does not give you the right to be a douchebag, so don’t lose sight of what matters most and use money as an energy tool.
However, it is important to note that having more money does not guarantee improved mental health, and other factors such as relationships, social support, and personal attitudes towards money also play a very important role.