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money vs. happiness

February 15, 2012

Keith and I had a really interesting conversation a few days ago about money and happiness.

Truthfully I was convincing him that we needed to buy a Powerball ticket! The jackpot was $300 million and I figured I couldn’t win if I didn’t play.

I am sorry to say that I am not $300 million richer. Sigh.

But I digress. I made a comment to Keith about how I didn’t think money made you happy but I thought it made happiness easier to come by. My reasoning for this was that sometimes I think what makes me the most unhappy is financial stress. So I reasoned that if I had millions of dollars I wouldn’t have that burden and would therefore be a little more happy.

Keith said that he didn’t believe that. He believes that the bigger the fortune the bigger your financial stress is. You have all the money and depending on where it is (stock market, investments, etc…) it may cause you stress.

But wait, I chimed in, what about the single mom who has thee kids, a minimum wage job and worries constantly about how she will feed her children towards the end of the month. Surely her financial stress is greater than say, Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, right??

Keith didn’t agree. Thereby saying that if I think more money = less financial stress = happiness that I was wrong. We never did convince the other one that we were right! ha! 😉

So what do you think?

Does more money make happiness easier to come by?

Or does more money equal greater financial stress?

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2012 7:35 am

    kind of have to agree with you! but i think a large part of it (if we did win lotto) is spending/saving/investing it in ways that wouldn’t be stressful…is that even possible? haha

  2. February 15, 2012 8:19 am

    Have you read The Happiness Project? She talks about this and it was actually one of my favorite chapters. I think that money might not make you happier, per se, but it makes life easier.

    • February 15, 2012 4:46 pm

      I have read it and I loved that chapter too!

  3. February 15, 2012 9:05 am

    It makes life easier, which can make you less stressed, which can make you happier. I think that if you are the type of person that did win the lottery and didn’t then turn around and try to keep making more money with that money, you could be happier.

    My dad and I were talking about this recently. He’s an attorney who does estate planning, so he interacts with people wealthy enough to need to plan their estate. His theory is that families that have family money (and didn’t have the pressure of earning their millions) are much happier than those who made all their money. Those who made their fortune become consumed with growing the fortune and working and tend to neglect their families because of it.

    I think it’s the chasing of wealth and the trying to keep up with what society says you ‘need’ that causes unhappiness. If you are a content person who comes into money and you no longer have to worry about unexpected health crises or retirement or paying yoru mortgage, you’d absolutely be happier.

    Wow – this is the longest comment ever.

  4. February 15, 2012 9:14 am

    Gah….I’m on both sides of the fence with this. I see your side and Keith’s…
    I also believe that with more money comes more bills. But also, when I look at my life, money is the thing that keeps me from doing a lot of things (such as buying a new computer, a new car, us purchasing a home, etc.)

    That being said, at the end of the day, I say happiness wins. I quit my job a month ago because I was absolutely miserable. I could have made 100 grand a year and it would still not have been worth going there everyday since I came home in tears most night and had issues with sleeping and a lot of stress-related illnesses.

    Good topic! I can’t wait to read the other replies!

  5. February 15, 2012 9:39 am

    I agree with you. The majority of things that stress me out on a day to day basis are being stuck in the endless cycle of I don’t like my job, but I need to pay my bills, so I need to keep it, blah blah blah.

    • Tina permalink
      February 16, 2012 12:57 am

      @ Kelly, Have you read “48 Days to the Work You Love”? by Dan Miller

  6. February 15, 2012 9:39 am

    I think it can make you less stressful to a certain extent. I don’t need the $300 million powerball. That probably would make life more stressful b/c of everything Keith said. But an extra $1K or $2K a month would probably make things less stressful. Maybe I’m thinking more of our situation since B is commission-only. 🙂

  7. February 15, 2012 9:40 am

    I always talk about this with Lee and my parents. The main cause of stress in my life is money because I worry about it all of the time. I’m sure things would be stressful if I had millions of dollars, but just a cushion to make me comfortable would definitely ease my anxiety and, therefore, make me more happy.

  8. February 15, 2012 9:54 am

    First of all, there would be financial stress with having a lot of money like that, but I think it would be a different kind of stress. I would far rather be stressed out about having a lot of money than be worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills.
    Having a lot of money would take that whole problem away. I don’t think it can bring happiness, but I think it can take some pressure off. Life would be easier, so there would be less to get in the way of finding happiness.

  9. February 15, 2012 11:17 am

    I think its always easy to stress over money….but I for sure wouldn’t mind having more of it for security. 😉

  10. February 15, 2012 11:31 am

    I think having money might make things easier…but not necessarily make me (or anyone) happier.

  11. Katie permalink
    February 15, 2012 1:22 pm

    I can see both sides, although I tend to agree with you. I don’t care to be rich or famous, as I think both come with their own sets of problems and difficulties. But I definitely would like to get rid of my loan debt and have a padding of savings. I’ve always said that rich doesn’t buy taste, smarts or stability. You can be rich and blow money or not know how to save and live within your means (which, for me, is to always live like I’m poor – it just would be nice to NOT be poor someday!). You can be rich and miserable as hell over many things and have so many other problems in life (and maybe for some, being rich means many other problems – fake friends, not having as much to work towards so drugs, etc). But I sure as heck would be a lot better off with a bit more money in my life. Happiness wins, but we’re all kidding ourselves if we think money doesn’t make that easier. Not just because of bills, but think about health care and sickness – being able to afford it all.

  12. February 15, 2012 1:25 pm

    Like Biggie said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”. But I agree that I would be a lot less stressed if I had more money. Less stress may not mean happiness, but peace of mind is better.

  13. February 15, 2012 2:09 pm

    I can see both sides but I agree with your view as well. We sometimes play the powerball and talk about what we would do if we won. Our answers are always the same… pay off house, cars, bills, parents morgages, save and take a nice vacation…. it would make day to day life easier. I think you become unhappy with more money if you constantly chase having more or expect it to solve all the other ares of your life that you aren’t satisfied with. I would love to go to work each day knowing that I was there because I love my job and not just there for a paycheck to survive. 🙂 This is a great topic!

  14. February 15, 2012 2:38 pm

    I tend to agree with you. I don’t think money makes you happier, but it allows you to worry less about truly stressful elements of life– paying bills, kids having enough to eat, a good education, etc. The less stressful your life is, the more likely you’ll be able to achieve some sort of happiness.

  15. February 15, 2012 4:48 pm

    Honestly, money would probably make life a little easier but wouldn’t necessarily make me happier. Happiness comes from within and not from material goods.

  16. Tina permalink
    February 16, 2012 12:51 am

    I agree with Jenn– Happiness is inside of you. You may think that having more money will lead to more happiness..but you will be let down. If you want less stress relating to money, live below your income level. Cut up your credit cards and stop using them. Have a written budget WRITTEN out before the beginning of the month, IF you spend it all on paper before you spend it– your money is working for you instead of you working for it! You may have to tweak the budget some–pay off your bills smallest to largest. Dave Ramsey has a great book-The Total Money Makeover- Its a great read ( I am giving my opinion- for free.:) ) I also think that wanting Now-Now instead of waiting until you have the cash to pay for things creates MORE money stress– My husband and I have not had a Credit Card for 13 years.

  17. February 18, 2012 9:45 am

    I am debating this right now in my life….

    I was offered another job with A LOT more money but I am not sure if I really want to leave my current job. I would be doing something completely different and I don’t know if I would really like it….and I DO like my current job.

    I wish I could do a survey about what I should do with everyone in the world. So I don’t have to make the decision myself..

    • Tina permalink
      February 18, 2012 11:57 pm

      @Jocelyn,
      You could write a list of what this job’s vs. your current job’s future looks like. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Money should not be the only reason you switch jobs. How did this offer come about?

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