Growing up we’ve all been told that money doesn’t buy you happiness.
If you observe people in your day-to-day life, some wealthy individuals or families live very luxurious lifestyles. From the outside looking in, no one knows what’s really going on, but they may be extremely miserable. You wonder how the hell is this possible.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are genuinely happy individuals who live in extreme poverty, but never let their financial situation dampen their spirits.
So why is this the case? How can someone with money falling out of their pockets be unhappy, while someone who isn’t well-off constantly full of joy?
In this week’s post, we’ll see how money relates to your overall happiness!
Effects of “Too Much Money”
The whole notion that wealthy people make boat loads of money while lying around beaches, toes in crisp, white sand, drinking margaritas 24/7 is total BS. There’s a reason they do well with money. Whether it’s a high risk, or high work load job, it’s usually no walk in the park. The amount of time spent at work to maintain their income drastically changes their lifestyle. Most wealthy people do not have the time to travel or spend time with their loved ones. They are too busy working.
The biggest issue with being financially well off is the lifestyle that tends to come with it. Typically, people who make more money on average adapt their lifestyle to reflect it. This puts more pressure on them to continue their new, expensive lifestyle, and never really feel secure about their financial situation.
I’ve noticed happy, wealthy people live very minimalist lives. You wouldn’t be able to tell they were well off unless you really got to know them. Even then, their wealth isn’t noticeable. This is what I call “true wealth”.
Not Being Financially Free
All people, Americans especially, are severely impacted by stress from money. The American Psychological Association surveyed how money and finances effect peoples’ stress levels. They were able to conclude:
- 54% of adults say they have “just enough” or not enough money to make ends meet.
- Most stress comes from unexpected expenses.
- Adults in lower-income households are twice as likely to stress about money all or most of the time.
- Younger generations report more stress over money than older generations.
Being able to secure and maintain a job that allows financial freedom opens so many possibilities in your life. You can focus on finding meaning instead of having to worry about your stressful financial situations. Millennials tend to save money better than previous generations at our age. Unfortunately, our money is spent paying rent (since we can’t afford to purchase a home) and high student loan debt.
A Happy Medium
So, what’s “enough” money to be happy?
A study done by Princeton University researched how satisfied and happy people were from various income levels. First off, satisfaction and happiness are two separate entities. You can be happy while not being satisfied, and vice versa. From a quick Google search, happiness is an emotional state of the mind, while satisfaction is an absence of want or desire. Knowing this, their results concluded:
- Beyond $75,000 provides no improvements to individual’s happiness.
- High income can buy satisfaction but not happiness.
- Less money can associate with emotional suffering from events such as divorce, ill-health, and loneliness.
- Low income associates with low life satisfaction as well as low emotional well-being.
You can enjoy your free time, avoid pain and disease, and spend moments with the people you want to be around with a good paying, but not excessive, job. Finding a career path or specializing in a market that pays well enough to sustain financial freedom AND allows you to pursue meaning is key to life.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s post! If you missed last week’s post on mastering your interviews in college, then click here! The next CAREER post will cover the rising student loan debt in America! Don’t forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe!
“If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.”
Book of the Month: “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl