Can Money Buy Happiness?

754 words | 3 page(s)

Everyone’s lives depend on the decisions they make as well as goals that they set for themselves. Though the definitions will differ, most people want to live a happy life. However, how can one find it if we all invest different meanings in this abstract concept? Some believe that romantic relationships bring happiness and satisfaction, while still others find it in fame and wealth. Though the end goal for most people is different, many believe that money will bring them closer to it. In this essay, I will argue that money can indeed buy people happiness as supported by both scientific research and my personal experience.

Studies show that there is a positive and statistically significant relationship between money and happiness, at least to a certain income level. In his article, Nield (2017) refers to a study, which has found that money can buy happiness as long as we spend it on making more free time. This research finds that ‘buying’ time gives individuals a better sense of well-being than acquiring material things. On the other hand, Rampton (2017) suggests that happiness is significantly correlated with income up to approximately $75,000 in annual salary. After that, the author states, “there tends to be little correlation between income and happiness” (Rampton, 2017, para. 1). This means that the conventional understanding of the relationship between money and happiness is wrong. Most people believe that more income implies more satisfaction. However, the research shows that people only need to pass a certain threshold; after that, they carry about their income less. This figure is not random. Having approximately $75,000 in annual income gives one freedom to be their true self. In his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation”, Abraham Maslow stressed that “healthy human beings have a certain number of needs, and that these needs are arranged in a hierarchy” (Burton, 2012, para. 1). The psychologist famously proposed that higher needs come into an individual’s focus only once their most basic needs, such as food, shelter, safety, and stability, are met. Thus, the empirical evidence, as well as psychological studies, seem to be unanimous that people need money to be happy, not necessarily because of money itself but rather as a result of feeling more secure and free to be their true self.

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My personal experience also tells me that money is an important component of happiness. There are several primary reasons that support this statement. First, money allows to enjoy various experiences. Gordon (2017) suggests that experiences help to put a positive spin on our recollections. She argues that we can put a positive spin on any experience, even if it did not seem to be perfect at the moment. Material things, on the other hand, get worn out and forgotten over time. In addition, experience is less subject to comparison with other individuals. Gordon (2017) proposes that, when focusing on gaining material things only, it is always possible that someone else will have something that’s more expensive, better, faster, larger. Experiences, on the other hand, are hard to compare. Thus, money invested in a good vacation or a conference will always bring one a personal satisfaction, which is not affected by their social circle. Second, money allows to invest in oneself. Money gives one a freedom to be their true self. Ever wanted to learn French? You can go to France for summer and study a language there. Always dreamt of playing the piano? You can hire a private tutor and learn how to play in a no time. Money helps individuals to focus on developing themselves.

In conclusion, the objective of this essay is to support the argument that money can buy happiness as suggested by scientific studies and my personal experiences. However, I have shown that money is not a goal in itself. More money in one’s bank account has nothing to do with happiness; instead, what matters is how this money is spent. In my opinion, spending money on experiences and self-development, instead of material things, is exactly what will help us to build a better and more prosperous society.

  • Burton, N. (2012). Our Hierarchy of Needs. Psychology Today. Retrieved 31 March 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com
  • Gordon, A. (2017). Can Money Buy You Happiness? Psychology Today. Retrieved 31 March 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com
  • Nield, D. (2017). Study Shows Money Really Can Buy Happiness – If You Buy Free Time. Science Alert. Retrieved 31 March 2018, from https://www.sciencealert.com
  • Rampton, J. (2017). Science Says Money Does Buy Happiness If You Spend It the Right Way. Entrepreneur. Retrieved 31 March 2018, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/309814

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