Does money buy happiness?
Money is a central aspect of our lives and is often considered as something of the utmost importance. It is a tool we use to buy the things we need and want, and it provides us with a sense of security and stability in our lives, leaving some feeling like they cannot survive without it. However, the question remains, “does money buy happiness?” Many people believe that having more money will bring them joy and satisfaction, while others argue that money cannot buy true happiness. In this blog, we will delve into the relationship between money and happiness, considering important research from a variety of sources, looking at the different perspectives considering the matter. The information in this blog should help to inspire you and maybe consider the topic from a new perspective that you perhaps haven't thought of prior to reading this.
Does money eliminate stress?
Money is often seen as a solution to many problems, and it’s no surprise that many people believe that it can eliminate stress. On one hand, having enough money to meet basic needs and being able to enjoy the pleasures that money enables, can certainly help reduce stress. When people have financial security, the worry of paying bills, buying food and clothing is eliminated. This can help them feel more relaxed, reducing their overall stress levels.
However, money can also create stress, particularly when people have more than they know what to do with. For example, high-income individuals may be under pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle, meet expectations, and to show their wealth and success to others. This can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and social pressure, even if they have plenty of money. An example of someone who is well off financially and doesn’t enjoy the repercussions of it is Kylie Jenner who said that she wishes her life were “more private” and claimed she “wasn’t made for all the cameras and fame”.
An argument against money eliminating stress is that people who earn high salaries may still struggle with stress related to work-life balance, relationships, health, and other personal issues. Adhering to this point of view, money can only solve financial problems rather than emotional or psychological ones.
How do people spend?
Another factor to consider is how money is spent. Spending money on experiences, such as traveling could lead to greater happiness than spending money on material items, however this differs from person to person therefore making it another hard metric to apply to this situation.
People often place a high value on material items as they provide security and happiness. For example, owning a nice car or a watch can make you feel more confident and successful which will boost mood temporarily. However, material items are not permanent. Applying this to a financial standpoint, having access to lots of money can mean that the individual may never be content as there is always a next best thing, making trend more significant as you have access to whatever you want.
Experiences, on the contrary, create memories through activities, events, and interactions with others. These experiences often provide more of a sense of happiness and fulfilment than material items, but again, it can differ from person to person. Whereas some people may value living in a high-end property, others may prefer to live in a cheaper property but perhaps travel multiple times per year. A study looked at two groups of adults which were material and experiential. They would receive texts which monitored their emotions and purchasing behaviour. Happiness was higher for participants who consumed experiential purchases versus material ones in every category, regardless of the cost of the item.
Overall, these points of view highlight that experiences and materialism can both be a stimulant of happiness but it differs from person to person.
Money and relationships
It is also important to consider the impact of money on personal relationships. While having more money can provide greater access to material luxuries, it can also create emotional distance between people. For example, wealthier people may not fit in with certain groups due to the socio-economic differences.
When investigating romantic relationships, there are two points of view which need to be considered. When both partners in a relationship can meet their expenses, it will relieve some of the stresses which people who are less wealthy may experience. Couples who are financially stable, can focus on other things contributing to a healthier relationship as financial stress is less prominent.
Money can also create problems in a relationship causing many disputes. When in a partnership with your significant other, if one partner spends money irresponsibly, it can cause tension and depending on the extent, it can make it difficult to achieve financial stability if over a prolonged period. Money problems can also cause strain on relationships. For example, if one partner is unable to contribute equally to the household expenses they may be criticised.
Within the dating scene, as of recent years, with the rise of social media, money has played an even bigger part in how people perceive each other. This can cause relationships to be built on false pretences as people can appear wealthier than they are, just by using material items. This can mean that couples are getting together for the wrong reasons so if the money was to disappear, problems could be introduced.