Money Can’t Buy Happiness

money and happinessThis past weekend I helped my daughter work on a research paper.

The title…Money Can’t Buy Happiness. An area where you can see she would want my unique perspective on the subject. Hey, sometimes you have to get a teenagers time and attention anywhere you can!

I thought this would make a great article for The Diligent Advisor.

I really did agree with her argument that money and material possession don’t make people happy. At least not long-term anyway. There are way too many examples of just the opposite.

I discuss money everyday. I see some common things going on. Most people feel that if they just make a bit more money or saved a bit more, that their situation would improve and they would be happier.

I’ll give you a few examples of what we argued in her research paper:

Argument #1 Materialism
We are encouraged from a very early age by Saturday morning cartoons to consume certain cereals and buy certain toys. Materialism is engrained in our society. In fact, about 65% of U.S. gross domestic product consists of what we buy. It fuels the economy. Materialistic consumption is a way that people compensate for being unhappy.

Look at people who have shopping addictions. They compensate for missing other things in their lives. Parents and grandparents attempt to “buy love” of their kids with gifts.  Children eventually develop a misguided value system based on materialism. Therefore, human identity is not based on what one does, but what one owns.

Argument #2 Lottery Winners
There is lots of evidence that shows that lottery winners do not cope well with their new-found riches. Many have been hospitalized for depression.

Our research looked at the common threads. What we discovered is that most of these winners had depression and relationship issues before winning the money. Therefore, being able to spend sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars never gave them any happiness. Their problems were still there.

Argument #3 Millionaires
Howard Hughes was one of the richest men in the world. He was successful in many different areas. He was an entrepreneur, aviator, filmmaker and philanthropist. He also dated some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. Hughes vast fortune allowed him to go anywhere, be anything and buy anything he wanted. Yet he still suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and died a lonely hermit.

Then again, I’ve also know some financially successful people who are some of the happiest I’ve ever seen. They have great relationships and enjoy being together. It’s doubtful that money had anything to do with it.

Our society really does believe that materialism equals happiness. That’s part of the American Dream. We’ve all pursued it. Happiness comes from another place within. I believe you can be happy in spite of your financial situation.

Then again, if money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own kind of misery! Don’t procrastinate, subscribe to my blog right here for free! I’ll send you my articles every Friday morning.