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Can Money Really Buy You Happiness?

The power of wealth and its consequences.

“Money makes the world go round.”

This popular saying conveys just how important money is perceived to be. Indeed, money is incredibly important as, without it, we cannot purchase daily necessities or indulge in holidays and other enjoyable activities.

Acquiring money and achieving financial freedom are regarded as extremely crucial by people from all walks of life. In fact, some people even believe that the amount of money you possess can be an indicator of your happiness in life.

However, it has been said that money cannot buy happiness we get from our relationships with our loved ones. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that happiness can be bought with money as individuals can live a fulfilled life if they possess material comforts and a good health.

I do believe that money can buy happiness as money can be spent on creature comforts which is one of the aspects of happiness. If one defines the best things that one regards in life as happiness, one must acknowledge that to experience happiness in the first place, one must be able to purchase one’s basic needs.

Sadly, these necessary items in life, such as food, water, home, or healthcare are not free. Money is needed to cover all these items. The costs of healthcare have been rising rapidly to respond to the growing needs of individuals in society. For instance, overall healthcare costs in the United States — including all private and public spending — are anticipated to rise by an average of 5.5 percent per year over the next decade — growing from $3.5 trillion in 2017 to $6 trillion by 2027, according to Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

“The costs of healthcare have been rising rapidly to respond to the growing needs of individuals in society.”

Despite the government’s effort to impose policies to help alleviate the problems and lift citizens out of the poverty line, it is still inevitable to mention that some poverty-stricken individuals fail to achieve happiness because of their lack of access to these necessities. Hence, without these essentials, we cannot even satisfy our cravings and live our life with a sense of comfort and security, causing an even more resentment in our life. Thus, happiness is, indeed, essentially derived from individuals’ spendings to satisfy their needs.

Besides purchasing basic needs which are necessary for us to be happy, money can also be utilized to improve our living conditions in other aspects as well such as our health. By being able to maintain good health, we would be able live a happier life. Some individuals might argue that being healthy is free of charge and money is not needed to be in a good physical and mental condition. However, to have good health, money often comes into play.

When we are sick, we normally go to the clinic and consult a doctor. We even afford to buy expensive medications to take to cure serious illnesses we are suffering in a hope to get back to our normal life as quickly as possible. In fact, the healthcare cost per person has been rising in recent decades. For instance, U.S. health care spending increased 3.9 percent to reach $3.5 trillion, or $10,739 per person in 2017. Undoubtedly, these examples prove that happiness, which stems from having a good health, definitely cost us lots of money, reiterating the fact that health is, not at all, gratuitous.

Some people might argue that money cannot buy friends and family love, which comes for free. The deeper meaning of happiness, they say, is that instead of searching happiness by the means of monetary pleasures, it is essential to understand the fact that money only serves to satisfy individuals with material items in life. It cannot buy us warmth and intimacy from our relationship with your family, friends, and loved one.

Even though we can use money to obtain items that are necessary for us, without the support of our family, friends, and communities around us, we would not find happiness. Humans are social beings. Thus, we can only achieve happiness if people around us interact and communicate with us. Instead, we would even be more depressed if we do not get to talk with others, leading to an even more harrowing life.

While it is true that money cannot buy people’ happiness and relationship with their loved ones, not having enough money to sustain oneself and one’s family can cause financial stress which eventually puts a damper on your relationship with others. If people are asked, “Where do they find happiness?”, of course, they will reply that the most important element that causes happiness to most people is their relationship between them and their loved ones, including their friends, families, or their colleagues.

However, if one does not even have ample money to support themselves and their families, their relationships with their loved ones will collapse. Undoubtedly, stable income is necessary to allow us to even forge relationships and bring people closer together.

Furthermore, money also allows us to build positive memories which can heavily influence our degree of happiness. For example, without money, we would not have an opportunity to spend quality time with our families in the first place as most of today activities cost a lot of money. This can cause negative psychological impacts on both individuals and their loved ones, which further prove that without enough money, happiness will never be achieved.

Of course, money is essential in helping us acquire happiness as it can be used as a medium of transaction to purchase our basic needs and to forge, as well as, maintain a meaningful relationship. Thus, as money plays a very significant role in causing us happiness, people should start to be mindful of how much they spend.

“keep track of their spendings, and exercise forbearance when making important financial decisions”

To prevent overspending which can cause financial stress and strain relationships, individuals should learn to control themselves from instant gratification, keep track of their spendings, and exercise forbearance when making important financial decisions. If individuals understand how important money is to sustaining their livelihoods and manage it effectively, financial freedom and happiness will eventually follow suit.

✒️ Writer for ‘The Ascent’, ‘Real Life Resilience’, and ‘Voice Tech Podcast’, currently based in Singapore and Thailand.

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