Does Money Buy Happiness?

I’m sure you’ve heard the age old saying, “money can’t buy happiness”. Have you ever stopped to think why?

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Think of having an abundance of money as similar to reaching your desired healthy weight. When you reach that optimal weight, is a happy switch flipped? Do you immediately have an abundance of confidence, your life is perfect, and all your troubles go away? No, of course not!


You may have more confidence. You will most likely feel a lot better. Hopefully you’ve developed sustainable healthy habits. Bottom line, just because you’re at your happy weight, doesn’t mean challenges evaporate. Happiness begins with your mindset, and how you feel about yourself. Therefore, other people and possessions (i.e. money) do not define your happiness.


Here are some facts…

Earning more money may make you happier in the short term. It can reduce stress levels, if you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck. However, according to psychologists, humans quickly adjust to additional wealth. Their spending habits increase. This is called “hedonic adaptation.” It’s the human desire to always want more, based on changing circumstances. Studies show, that once a person’s basic needs are met, having additional income has little impact on overall happiness. Sure, you may have a more expensive house and car. Over time, these things lose their appeal, hence the desire for a new car with the latest bells and whistles.

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What tends to bring more joy is lasting experiences. According to Happify, a well-being website, 57% of Americans say that experiences make them the happiest, especially when they include family and friends, provide a memorable story, are linked to their personal values, and are unusual. Even if these experiences aren’t perfect, our brains tend to focus on the positive moments, forgetting the negatives (ex: the airline lost your luggage, your oven broke while cooking your Thanksgiving turkey).


Another study showed that spending money on others makes us happier. Gift giving has been shown to increase joy.


So, the next time your inner voice tells you that everything will be perfect once you get that raise, receive your tax refund, lose the weight, have that dream house, think again. Focus on those experiences that bring you lasting joy.

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