Money and Happiness – What Really Matters in Life

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

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Money and Happiness

In earlier days of civilization, the barter system was the only way. Though the opportunities were limited, life was still uncomplicated. Then came the ‘root of all evil’ money. Opportunities increased manifolds, as did complicacy, greed, and pride of possession. To this day, it is hard to determine the exact relationship between Money and Happiness.

Money provides us with a sense of security and peace of mind. But can it really buy happiness? It is a matter of hard debate. Many argue that you can’t find an unhappy billionaire. On the other hand, there are examples of rich businessmen like Jonathan Wraith, Christopher Foster, Paul Castle, Peter Smedley & ReiJane Huai who killed themselves.

Money Vs. Happiness

Money and Happiness

1. Money Can’t Buy True Happiness

There is an old saying, “Money can’t buy happiness. However, it is better to cry inside a Lamborghini than on a cycle”. Fans of this quote often overlook that the person inside a flashy Lamborghini is also crying. The car worth $399,500 couldn’t take away their sorrow or wipe their tears.

True happiness can’t be bought with money. Things you want to have can make you happy, like a car, a nice gadget, or some fancy jewelry. Earthly possessions can offer you a sense of temporary satisfaction but not happiness. Your fancy car, gadget, or jewelry will be out of fashion soon. You will crave a newer model, but the model of happiness always stays the same.

2. Best Things In Life Are Free

Most things that bring true Happiness to us are free by nature. How would you put a price on the warm rays of the sun after a cold night or the hug of your beloved ones? Happiness is an emotion; it doesn’t come with a price tag, nor can it be labeled. Even small things can feel you up with Happiness.

Suppose you are sitting in a park & a little puppy decides to come to you, wagging its tiny tail & licking your hand. That warm feeling can’t be bought with any amount of money. When stressed, we are often advised to go to a park or spend time in nature.

You can buy food, but you can’t buy appetite. You can buy a comfy bed, but you can’t buy sleep. Money and Happiness often go hand in hand, but they are not the same.

3. More Money, More Anxiety

There is an old story that goes like this. Once a billionaire was traveling & he found a poor man sleeping beside roads. The billionaire felt sorry for the man, stepped out of his car & gave the poor man a handsome amount. After some days, he found that poor man on his doorstep. The poor man said, “Please, sir, take back your money. After you gave it to me, I am always worried someone will steal it from me or rob me.”

The billionaire shockingly said,” Why are you being so foolish? You can use the money to have a good life. “The poor man asked,” What can a good life give me?” “Peaceful sleep,” the billionaire replied. The poor man asked, “What do you think I was doing when you gave me money?” It is a fact that if you have more money, you need to worry about how to protect it.

You need to think about investing it productively or depositing it somewhere safe. You can’t keep it all to yourself. If you can’t explain your income source, you will be in legal trouble. If you start a business with that money, you need to worry about the progress of your business. It is not desirable to lead a poor life, but more money doesn’t guarantee peace of mind.

4. You Will Never Be Satisfied

 Money and Happiness often contradict, as you can never be satisfied with money. Remember how you were satisfied with a pair of sneakers bought from a Thrift Store with your earnings from newspaper delivery or working in a diner in school days? But after getting a corporate job, even those shiny shoes from Louis Vuitton aren’t good enough for you.

The more you have, the more you will want. As your income increases, your lifestyle goes up. So does your need & desires. Earlier, a Cheeseburger from McDonald’s was good enough to satisfy you. Nowadays, even fancy restaurants like Atelier Crenn fail to satisfy you. It is all because as our income rises, our desires arise & even money fails to satisfy us sometimes.

5. Money Can Bring Flatterers, Not Well Wishers

In the popular video game Max Payne 3, a rich businessman says, “Do you think a pile of sh*t feels popular because it’s surrounded by flies?”  Though later we found he & his entire family got killed by the conspiracy of his brother. It all happened as he was rich.

It is not being said that money will get you killed, but it will surely bring sycophants to you. As you lose your sweetness, aka money, over time, they will disappear. People often say real friendships are found only in school days. As you make friends become who you are before you make a career or money.

6. Money Can’t Buy Freedom

If you are still wondering, Does Money Make You Happy? Consider this. Some may believe that money can buy freedom. However, this is different. Freedom is a position of being free from restraints & limitations. It’s the power & ability to act, speak, or think without obstruction from others. Money is just a form of currency used to exchange goods & services.

Money can buy commodities like clothes & food, but it can never buy freedom. Freedom is a thing that must be experienced personally. It cannot be bought or sold. It must be earned through hard work & resolve. Money can buy many things, but freedom is not one of them.

7. Money Can’t Take Away All Your Pains

Money can’t take away all the pains in life, like sickness & death. There are certain things that money can’t buy, & this becomes more & clearer as we grow older. We t like to think that if we have adequate money, we don’t need to worry about life’s problems & pains.

But this is untrue. While money can free you from worrying about your financial condition, it can’t protect you from the pain of loss. Whether it’s the loss of someone’s beloved or your health, being ill, getting old, or watching your beloved people die is a reality everyone must face. No amount of money can protect you from these predictable pains of life. It is unwise to consider Money and Happiness the same thing.

Things Money Can’t Buy

The debate about Money and Happiness will go on & on. Money can indeed buy many things. There are also many things money can’t buy, such as:

  • Experiences.
  • Skills.
  • Love.
  • Meaningful Life.
  • Equal Society.
  • Solid Relationship.
  • Time.
  • Family.
  • Patience.
  • Humility, Kindness, or Respect.
  • Trust.
  • Passion.
  • Positivity & Optimism.

Money can buy you material things, not the meaningful things in life.


Q: Money can buy status; why not respect?

A: Status & respect are not the same things. Respect comes from your actions and ideology. Drug lord Pablo Escobar was rich, but people didn’t respect him.

Q: People say there is no novelty in poverty; is that true?

A: There is no sense in savoring poverty. We need to make sure of a healthy & easy lifestyle.

Q: Rich people are often seen in high regard; does it show otherwise?

A: It is unfortunate that society often flatters rich people to gain something from them. Once they run out of usefulness, people discard them easily.

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