Money and Happiness

Money and Happiness

Our culture holds a belief that more money is better and also that more will make you happy. Is it true? Here are a few statistics:

Americans’ average personal income has increased more than two and a half times over the past 50 years, but their happiness level has remained the same. However, rates of depression grew 10 fold!

Nearly 40% of the people on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average American.

Once personal wealth exceeds $12,000 a year, more money produces virtually no increase in happiness. Income also does not noticeably influence satisfaction with marriage, family, relationships, or ourselves. Furthermore, research has shown that while you can motivate people in the short term with external rewards, it is short-lived and people feel more passion for and derive more pleasure from doing what they freely choose and most enjoy and these will decrease when external rewards remain in effect.

A recent survey showed that, at all income levels, people think more money will definitely make them happier.

Billions of dollars are spent by advertisers each year to convince you that you’re not ok the way you are and that you need things- lots and lots of them- to make you happy. 3 hours of television will expose you to roughly 68 messages of this sort.

All of this plays into the myth of “I’ll be happy when……” Ask yourself if you find yourself saying or thinking any of these:

I’ll be happy when I have the perfect job.

I’ll be happy when I have the perfect mate.

I’ll be happy when I have the home of my dreams (or owning my home at all).

I’ll be happy when I have a baby, a family.

I’ll be happy when I have more free time.

I’ll be happy when I get recognition or acknowledgement or appreciation.

I’ll be happy when I can retire.

I’ll be happy when I lose weight.

In fact, you can be happy right now even if none of those things has or will happen<ed>.

It’s simply a matter of choice and mindset. Your choice and your mindset.

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2 responses to “Money and Happiness

  1. It is quite amazing how the American culture works this way. Sure, money may help someone be happier by having more opportunities to dive into those things they strive for, however…this seemingly isn’t always the case. I truly believe that some of the ‘richest’ people do not have a lot of money or ‘things’, but rather have a large amount of love, caring, and a solid foundation with their friends and family. Balance is key in this society, unless you want to get sucked into believing you must be the next Bill Gates (in capital) to be happy.

  2. The “hole” is felt/sensed/feared, and rather than confront this dark void, this potential “death,” we shovel “stuff” into it, averting our awareness, and hoping to fill the emptiness somehow.

    Only the short-term goals of a consumer driven culture reward people for blindly following this practice. As a seller of a product, if instead of 1 to be shared, I can sell 4 gizmos to your family by splintering you apart, pure commercial consumerism says, “do it.” …And the happiness ratio does not change.

    Elsewhere in the world, where “stuff” is not so readily abundant, and you are not raised to try and fill the void, but to find yourself, your soul, your God within it, very financially impoverished people have a much higher happiness ratio.

    It is so wonderful that you are bringing this level of dialogue to the subject of money, Kamila. Thank you.

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