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Does Money Bring Happiness?

A critical analysis on the philosophical question of "Does Money Bring Happiness" .

Does money bring happiness to you?

This controversial topic debated across the globe has been the deliberated by countless people and yet a single agreed upon answer has yet to appear. Recently, after the Covid pandemic era, many employees have started to pursue job roles which they find fulfilling showing that they are willing to take a pay cut to seek happiness. However, try asking friends or family and they may say that money does bring happiness, opens more doors, leads to more opportunities but that could be our capitalist minds thinking. Everything above and more will be discussed.

Happiness is defined as a sense of well-being, joy or contentment.

The biggest upside to having money is financial security. Knowing that you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is going to come from, or how to stay warm in the winter reduces stress and worry. Imagine yourself walking down an aisle in your local supermarket and putting items in your basket without caring too much or worrying about the price. This sense of financial freedom is likely to reduce anxiety in individuals therefore they can focus on other areas of their life that brings them happiness. Being able to pay for basic necessities without having to reluctantly sacrifice other areas in your life seems like the road to happiness doesn’t it?

Furthermore, the more money you have the more options are available to you. Money may not ultimately make you happy but buying a new car or going on a holiday might be able to. Without money these opportunities simply cannot happen. Money improves quality of life, for example, having money means you can afford a nice house in a safe neighbourhood, therefore allowing one to feel safe and a sense of security. Having these options can lead to more fulfilling experiences and ultimately greater happiness.

In addition to this money can provide access or the opportunity to access social opportunities such as events, eat out and joining clubs or organisations. These opportunities can lead to new friendships and connections which can contribute happiness.

However, many variables are present which can affect happiness. In a study conducted by Ryan J.D and Elizabeth W.D where they gave participants $10,000 to 200 recipients in 7 countries shows that participants with household incomes of over $120,000 did not report any noticeable happiness. This suggests that once a certain monetary threshold is reached, money’s effect on happiness drastically decreases proving having a lot of money doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness.

Additionally many studies and research papers have shown that a sudden boost in income may only provide temporary increase in happiness but over time people tend to adapt to their new financial situation and return to their previous levels of happiness. Human greed or hedonic adaptation may play a role in this. Greed is instilled in us making us want more and more leading to a perpetual cycle of lust and chasing money while not having the time to enjoy what you have.

Similarly, people often compare their wealth to others which may lead them to feel unhappy as they often perceive themselves as less well-off. Especially in the digital age where social media plagues the brain by showing off celebrities’ newest supercars or friends going on luxury holidays 3 times a year. This can often make people to feel like they are missing out on enjoying life leading to envy and jealousy.

In conclusion money allows one to enjoy more experiences in life and gives financial security which can lead to happiness, as a ‘fulfilling’ life without stressing about one’s financial situation can be lived. Money allows an individual to pursue their hobbies and interest which they may have given up on or set aside earlier in life. However, this cannot be generalized for the total population. Hedonic adaptation or greed often leads one to be envious of others as they see that others have more than them. Human adaptation shows that a boost in income means that they may get used to living a certain lifestyle which will become their daily lifestyle. This can decay the novelty of having money therefore decaying the feelings of happiness. That being said, those who are accustomed to money from an early age will likely feel a limited impact than those who had nothing to begin with.

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