Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you a few things that ultimately lead you to happiness. Let’s explore further below.
The great debate: can money buy happiness? It’s something I also have thought about a lot since starting my personal finance journey back in 2014.
You’ll get many people, financial experts, and extremely wealthy people who are on both sides of the fence as to whether money actually brings you happiness or not.
Many times unhappy people strive to make money thinking it will completely help. They potentially become wealthy and quickly realize they are still unhappy.
You know the saying, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.”
Of course, you can become happy with big-time wealth (I’d be pretty happy zipping around a Ferrari in Miami), but it depends on many other factors in your life too.
Things like: Do you have great relationships? Have you found your passions? Are you treating your mind and body well? Too many things to list that help you obtain happiness. Wealth is only a piece to the puzzle of life.
However, money can buy you a few things in your life, many of which coincidentally can contribute to your overall happiness.
Money Can Buy You Peace of Mind
One of the strongest aspects of building wealth and pursuing money is the sense of calm and peace it can bring to your life. (That’s not to say wealthy people don’t have somewhat chaotic lives at times).
Of course, chasing money and working extremely hard can be stressful, this is more about worrying less about your finances.
How often do you feel stress about bills? Student loan debt? Medical costs? Finding a place to live? What happens if I lose my job?
Money is a huge stress factor and strain on your mentally, physically, and within relationships.
And living paycheck to paycheck is rough, I’ve been there and so have many, many people.
Having higher income and saving money consistently can lead to less stress when it comes to personal finance — if you’re smart about your lifestyle and spending.
Once you have money and have a decent buffer saved or invested, you can have peace of mind knowing you are prepared. Whether there is an expensive unexpected bill, job loss, or car troubles, you aren’t worried.
That $400 repair doesn’t cause you anxiety or make you rack up credit card debt just to pay bills off. You can gladly pay the bill and move on with your everyday. This does wonders for your mental and physical wealth too because stress can be debilitating.
Money Can Buy You Experiences
There is so much more to life than money. Ironically, money is also what can buy you experiences to see and do more in life.
While you can achieve new experiences without a ton of money, having it can afford you to do almost anything in the world. These experiences create amazing memories that last a lifetime and help mold you into a diverse cultured person.
Want to travel to another country and experience the food, art, and overall culture? You can. Maybe you have friends or family that live in various states. Now you can go visit them and experience what those locations have to offer.
This is not just limited to travel, it can be anything.
Always wanted to learn
This has been the main driver in my pursuit of financial freedom and my interest in adventures and traveling. Life is short and moves fast, I don’t want to look back regretting that I never experienced anything other than my local environment because I didn’t have the means or I was too afraid to see what was out there.
Money Can Buy Opportunities
It’s actually quite similar to experiences, but money can buy you new opportunities you didn’t have before.
The opportunity to travel if someone asks or somewhere you are interested to go, that may have been too expensive before.
When you have money ready to go, it also buys you opportunities to invest in more stocks when the price is good.
I would have missed out on a few good buying opportunities had I not had some cash reserves. Now, I’ve accelerated my compound interest in the future and portfolio growth.
Additionally, if there is a business opportunity that you want to venture in, you can. If you want to start your business, you have the money for start-up costs now.
But it also buys you opportunities to expand your wealth in other ways like buying real estate, attending a top tier school to boost your salary more, attend a conference that costs thousands of dollars, opportunities for your children and family to have the best in life, to network, etc.
Money buys you opportunities to do so much more in your life that you might not have the chance otherwise.
Money Can Buy Freedom
This does not mean money will buy freedom for everyone.
We each have our own path to how we achieve money and wealth, so pending on that path this may or may not be obtainable.
Does that mean we shouldn’t
For me, financial freedom is waking up when I want to, working being optional, and choosing to do what I want when I want. This means, not being stuck in a cubicle all my life and working until I’m 70 in a job I hate.
Money buys you this freedom to pursue your passions, to work when you want (if you want), to spend time with people that matter most to your life, and only you make your choices.
While I’ve found a great full-time gig where I work remotely and I’m happy with the salary, I’m not entirely free. I still wake up to an alarm and work for someone else.
However, I’m not a drone in a cube, I have saved a decent amount (and make a comfortable living) to where I can travel wherever, and if I have internet, I can work from wherever.
Money of course was a factor, but career choices played a role in this option too. Eventually, I’d like to have my own project I can run full-time and work when I want.
But once you have money, you can pursue your passions full-time, retire early if you chose, be free the corporate world and daily traffic, and live your best life.
All these things are great, but I think a hurdle for many pursuing money and wealth, is to know when to draw the line.
If you become too attached to pursuing money, you may find you never have enough, or become obsessive, and unhappiness may still linger.
There is nothing wrong with making more money either after you retain a certain level of wealth, the goal is not to let it consume or control your life.
In the end, can money buy happiness? Well, if you can manage your money and life quite well and combine all those things above when you become financially free, then yes it can very well lead to happiness.
I don’t think there should be an exact number to how much money you have, where happiness will kick in. Even though I’m pursuing much more than I have now, I’ve been able to buy all the above with the work I put in since 2014.
And no, I’m not even close to being a millionaire.
Ultimately, my goals for pursuing financial independence and wealth is to be able to obtain all those things mentioned above.
I’m already (and fortunately) living a very happy and comfortable life, but I know there is more to obtain and see.
Pursuing money is not about the material items and lifestyle upgrades (although not completely against it), it should be about freedom, peace, experiences, opportunities, and even escape.
What do you think? Does money buy happiness? Let me know in the comments below.