“Money can’t buy happiness” – how many times have you heard this saying? It’s an old adage that expresses a simple idea, yet its implications are complex. It’s usually explained like this:
People hustle through life, believing all their problems will disappear once they buy their next big-ticket item. They believe everything will fall into place once they buy a house. They believe they’ll reach any destination once they buy a car. But once they get what they want, they want more. This pattern repeats itself through life, and happiness is never reached.
This scenario sounds reasonable enough, but is there any truth to it?
Studies on happiness
People who claim money can’t buy happiness usually reason that you can’t purchase intangibles such as love, hope, and friendship. While this may be true, ample amounts of research have shown a correlation between money and happiness. The data indicates that the wealthier you are, the happier you are. This effect is observed up to the point of $75,000, and past this income level, the correlation between money and happiness tapers off.
Poor people are subject to more problems in life and face financial issues that negatively affect their subjective well-being. They may struggle to pay their bills or lack the money necessary to seek out needed medical attention. This can cause stress, worry, and overall unhappiness.
The wealthy, on the other hand, bask in financial stability and afford commodities that positively affect their well-being. They can pay for health insurance, summer vacations, and other finer things in life. In general, they are happier, healthier, and without need.
But studies reveal the correlation between money and happiness drops off once a person’s income reaches $75,000. Past this point, people may feel their lives are going well, but money itself does not bring about good feelings. Most essentials in life are affordable at this benchmark, and material items are simply excess.
So the truth is money can buy happiness up to a certain point, and despite this truth, many rich individuals are still unhappy. This phenomenon is seen among celebrities and world leaders who seem to have it all and still feel discontent with life. Why does this happen?
How to buy happiness?
A report put together by several researchers from renowned universities claims that even the wealthy struggle to find happiness when they have poor spending habits. The key to happiness lies within the ability to spend money wisely, and there are several principles you can follow to buy happiness and live a more fulfilling life.
1. Buy experiences
New experiences bring about more happiness than material items. People feel uplifted when they’re engaged in enjoyable activities and thinking about what they’re doing. We adapt to change quickly, so it’s important to keep life fresh and exciting. If you want to buy happiness, spend your money on experiences.
2. Spend on others
Prosocial spending helps foster relationships with others and leads to an increase in happiness. Humans are social animals, and our acts of kindness help us live harmoniously with those around us. Share your wealth with others by donating to charities you support or friends in need, and you’ll have more positive feelings about life.
3. Focus on small pleasures
Because the luster of material items wears off quickly, it’s better to focus on small pleasures and build up to larger ones. In this manner, you’ll get to experience the thrill of buying more frequently. When you focus on expensive items that take time to save for, the pleasure of purchasing can only be experienced every so often.
4. Pay upfront
Loans and credit cards are sometimes useful, but they can weigh on your happiness in the long run. People who rely on delayed payment methods are often short-sighted in their decision-making and end up in debt. This can be stressful, so if you pay upfront, you’re more likely to feel financially stable and happier about your money situation.
5. Consider the downsides
There’s a degree of delusional thinking that happens when we fantasize about the luxuries of life. Many people imagine the magnificence of their dream homes, for example, and fail to consider the downsides. Having a pool in your backyard sounds great until you realize it’s a maintenance nightmare. You’ll feel happier about your place in life when you realize that for every positive, there are just as many negatives.
People say money can’t buy happiness, but research says otherwise. wealth can lead to a sense of security and give you a positive outlook on life. More money doesn’t always mean more happiness, however, and how you spend it can affect your level of satisfaction in various ways. Use your money wisely, and you’ll have the best chances of living a meaningful and fulfilling life.