Can Money Really Buy Happiness?


Noele Lehnoff

Noele Lehnhoff, Contributor

     Almost everyone wants to know the answer to this age old question, or if there’s even an
answer at all. Most people are inclined to say that money does not, in fact, buy one’s happiness.
They think that such a materialistic concept as money could never have any real effect on such a
pure and fanciful emotion. But is it possible that the relation between the two is much more
complex than that? The entire idea of what it means to be happy could be unique for each
individual person, and there is more than one type of way to feel happiness. How do we even
begin to categorize the emotion?
     Different levels of happiness can be experienced in your day to day life. For example, the
happiness that you feel when you find a dollar on the ground is different from the happiness you
may feel in important life events, such as a birthday or wedding. However, the reasons that a
person can feel this positive emotion aren’t always pure. People can feel a twisted sense of
happiness when inflicting revenge, or by causing other people pain. These facts can affect
whether or not a person is able to use money to gain happiness.
     The idea of what it means to be happy can be different and unique for each individual. Is
happiness as simple as something trivial making you feel good inside? Or is it a lifelong journey,
a goal that takes hard work and perseverance to achieve? If we’re referring to the former, then
the idea of money “buying” happiness makes sense. Do you find joy in simple little materialistic
things? You need money in order to purchase those items. Are you happy spending time with
your friends and family? You can travel to see them and arrange fun things that you could do
together, but you need money to pay for it. Do you simply have to be relaxed and comfortable to
feel content? How could you possibly relax without a decent roof over your head? Money is
needed for everything, no matter how you look at it.
     Referring to the latter, however, we see that money is still needed, but for different
reasons. Simplifying happiness as a lifelong goal doesn’t change the fact that you need money to
get to it. Saying that you only need to work hard and hope for the best is just an unhealthy
delusion. You need money to do the simplest of things, but those simple things add up in the end.
You can work hard, but you still need money to pay for things such as college, a house, a car,
taxes, bills, food, cleaning products, the list goes on and on. Money is a necessity, and you just
can’t survive in today’s society without a stable income.
     Money is something that everyone feels differently about. Some people love to have a lot
of it, some like to have a stable income that can keep them comfortable, and some are fine with
having just enough money to get by. However, there is nothing in the world that you can buy that
will make you happy. When spending time with loved ones, it’s not the thing that you decide to
do together that makes you happy, it’s the act of simply being with them. When enjoying life and
being happy with yourself, it’s not the sacrifices you were forced to make that cause that, but the
accomplishments you had along the way. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it doesn’t really
create happiness either. In the end, you make your own happiness, and money is simply there to
help you do it.
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