How can I be happy?
Can money really buy you true happiness?
Happiness. It’s one of those words you have drilled into you almost daily, on TV adverts, in magazines, at the shops. Everyone seems to be on a mission to either sell, find, or achieve true happiness. Some people have found it. Some people might think they have found it...when really, they haven’t at all. Then you have others who crave true happiness more than anything in the world, but just don’t seem to be able to find their way there.
Many believe money is the way to get there; with one goal in life, to be rich and happy. It’s all too easy to jump on the bandwagon and bring out the cliches, "money can’t buy you happiness” or “yes they’re rich, but are they happy?”. Can it really be that black and white?
We’re going to take a step back and begin by looking at money’s relationship to happiness.
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Money and happiness
From one perspective, you could say, having a lot of money can make it easier to be happy. You don’t have to worry about whether you can afford something. Everyday concerns like bills, and providing for your children’s future, or running a car so you can get to work, are non-existent. You can treat yourself to ‘luxuries’; an expensive gym and spa membership, weekends away with friends, a couture handbag or designer trainers. But all these things are exactly that, ‘things’, material goods bought to make you feel happy, even if just for a moment
You could also say that people who truly believe money will make them happy, truly believe they will be unhappy if they don’t have money. They’re money=happiness people. Looking at ‘happiness’ through their lens, you can understand the thinking behind their association between money and happiness. However, if that was the case, surely the more money they have, the happier they would be? This would make the happiest person in the world, the richest person in the world. Has anyone got Elon Musk's number?
But in all seriousness, for people with this mindset, money is like a drug. All the material goods, the handbags, the trainers are all part of the drug. When people take drugs, the vast majority do so, to escape from their reality. They want to escape to a world where everything feels amazing. They want to laugh. They want to feel happiness. But it’s not real, it’s a temporary state of mind that your brain makes you feel is true. It might sound extreme, but this is what relying on money for happiness does.
When ‘money=happiness’ people have lots of money or buy something new they feel a rush of ‘happiness’. For that moment in time, life feels amazing. But when the money is gone, or the new ‘thing’ becomes old news they can hit an all-time low, sometimes feeling even worse! But like people who take drugs, the more they take, the more they need and want to get that feeling again. It’s the same with money=happiness people.....they go from wanting £10,000, to £100,000 to £1,000,000.
It goes on and on, growing and growing.
The shopping trip ends, the bags are emptied, and you’re left feeling equally empty.
The Real Debt Guy
Then we have the bingers. Ever heard of retail therapy? It’s exactly how it sounds, ‘shopping to make yourself feel happy”. A person basically uses shopping as a form of therapy when they’re feeling unhappy. They buy items to make themselves feel better, and it works! It never lasts though. The shopping trip ends, the bags are emptied, and you’re left feeling equally empty. People who use money like this - to try and fill a happiness void – are at high risk of falling into debt problems.
By exploring the relationship between money and happiness in this way, it’s clear to see that money isn’t the source of real happiness.
Let’s take it a step further and look at how money connects with happiness and relationships.
Happiness & relationships based on money
It’s always tragic to see people marry for money. There was a woman we knew who believed so strongly that money would bring her happiness, she was willing to spend her life in a relationship, unaware (or perhaps not!) if she was truly happy. It was a sad situation for her and her partner. There were no true foundations to establish real happiness.
When they first started dating, he pulled out all the peacock moves, taking her to Michelin star restaurants, showing off with an expensive car, buying her expensive gifts and jet setting away for the weekend.
However, it didn’t last forever. As time went on, they couldn’t keep up the charade. Soon the holes started to form as the true foundations of the relationship simply weren’t there, and she left him.
The guy was very wealthy, but he thought the only way that he could make her happy was through showering her with gifts. He didn’t believe that he could make her happy any other way.
The relationship was built on money, and it wasn’t real. Happiness in a relationship should not be based on a bank balance. Interestingly enough, the same woman ended up in a relationship with someone who had far less, and was the happiest we have ever seen her. She realised that the relationship and money was not making her happy. She had to experience it for herself to realise that maybe money can’t bring you true happiness.
Don't forget to read The Real Debt Guy's final thoughts below!