Can money buy happiness?  Yes!  Here's how!

Derek Notman |

We all strive to be happy in life and rightfully so.  Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed to the fullest.  But, would our lives be happier if we had an abundance of money?  Can we use that money to buy more happiness?


It has been my experience that yes, we certainly can buy happiness with money, but that it is done differently than you may initially think.


As a CFP Professional and world traveler, I have been helping people with their money for over well over a decade.  Through many thousands of client meetings and speaking with people from all over the world and all walks of life I have gained some valuable insight about the different relationships people have with their money.  How they view it, what they do with it, and which ones appear to be happier than others.


Let’s dive in to see how you can use your money to buy more happiness.


Does money lead to happiness?

According to a 2013 study by economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan, who examined World Bank data from more than 150 countries, they concluded that the more money one has, the happier we tend to be.  Other studies indicate that increases in income have a greater impact on happiness below a certain level.  Princeton University economist Angus Deaton indicates that in the USA, a salary of $75k per annum is a meaningful benchmark when it comes to money and happiness.  However, over $75k, increases in happiness begin to wane as income continues to climb.


So, the contradiction seems to be that money matters more if you have very little of it and less so when you have more of it.  A point to ponder is that no amount of money – nor lack of it – can determine one’s emotional state by itself. 


Can money buy you happiness?

I believe we can spend our way to happiness, regardless of our income by following some of these rules. 


Experiences vs Stuff

Buying that special something for a person you love is a wonderful gesture. But the happiness derived from a new bracelet or watch is short lived and becomes routine for the one doing the buying.  This isn’t really contributing to long term happiness is it?


Whereas dinner with friends, an evening at the theater or a boat cruise creates many more valuable memories shared with people who are important to you. When we connect with others, we create meaning and are more likely to engage with people who share our sense of adventure than the person who purchased the same big screen tv. 


Do you see the value and importance of buying experiences as opposed to buying material objects?  Memories truly do last a life time whereas material objects make us feel good about ourselves for a limited time.


Purchase Time

We all know that money is time – so spend it wisely.  Time is a valuable and non-renewable resource, however, the more time you have, the more experiences you get to enjoy.


The gift of giving

I’m sure you’ve experienced the joy of spending money on someone else.  By donating money or purchasing goods for perhaps a child in need or charity creates a sense of fulfillment and is emotionally rewarding. Money is best shard when it is for the benefit of helping others.


Save and be happy

This is a no brainer – but the more money people have in savings, the happier they are.  Why?  Because people with money in savings have peace of mind.


Peace of mind leads to less stress and more happiness.  The more you save, the happier you get, simple as that!


Can money buy love?

We know money and love are important in life and us as humans need both in order to thrive. In our quest for wanting better and wanting things quicker, we must remember that money should not be the main objective of a relationship.  When our relationships are harmonious and work because the love was there, the financial success will follow.  Having both commodities is important and learning how to make both of these work is just as beneficial.


There’s very fine line when it comes to money in a relationship.  When we focus on just earning money, it creates an emptiness within a person.  The same can be said for too little money in a relationship – it creates stress and exasperation.  Whilst money is not the objective of a relationship, it is often money that will affect a relationship.


See Money as a Tool

Money is a tool and without this tool, we miss out on many opportunities and the freedom to make things happen.


Money can help us realize our dreams and our goals.  If you want to travel the world, you can absolutely do this if you have money.  Can you see the correlation of money being a tool that must be used wisely?  Learn to make your money work for you instead of letting money control your life and your relationships.


Never buy into the belief that money is evil – it’s not, but greed is.  Having wealth and money on your side will not make you the bad guy – it will only reveal more of who you already are.  By this I mean, if you’re a kind, generous person and you become mega rich, chances are, you will you do even more good and be more philanthropic as this is in your nature.  The same applies to a person who isn’t as generous and giving – they’ll most likely be a bit more like Scrooge and keep their wealth to themselves or even worse and use it in a negative way towards others.


Yes, Love Can Make You Rich

We have all heard many times over that wealth and success gurus who have amassed incredible wealth do so because they acknowledge that love is important.


Steve Jobs had a great commencement speech at Harvard University, he said:


“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Believe it not, everything in your life starts from love and it begins with learning to love yourself first.  Loving your work and the people around you will ensure your journey to success is indeed paved in gold.   When we perform better in life, we achieve more, and we seem to attract our vibe.  By achieving more, you inevitably earn more and as a result will have more money.  This is the reason why love is so important and can make you very wealthy.


By having love and wealth, deem yourself blessed, as you have someone special to share your success with.  Love is a support structure for you to build your destiny upon and whatever future you desire and methods you follow, knowing that someone believes in you, trusts you and wants to see you succeed is priceless.


There are many resources available both online and in book stores where you can learn how money can buy happiness. The books Happy Money and Money Smart Happy Heart are a great place to start on your road to financial serenity.

Thank you for reading!


Derek Notman