Money does buy happiness
Someone smart, probably rich, came up with the phrase “Money can’t buy happiness” quite some time ago. And this mantra has been propagated ever since then. It is time to start dismantling this idea, and open the eyes.
The more I think about that topic the more I am convinced that the original phrase as coined at start by someone rich and thrown into the public as some sort of comforting notion for the rest. Something that the non-rich could utter to themselves when their dinner would consist only of a piece of stale bread.
“Ah, at least we are happy, and money cannot buy that.”
OK, I will admit it, a while ago, let’s say a century or two or even more, this notion that money cannot buy happiness actually made a bit of a sense. After all, it really didn’t matter if you are a king or a peasant, a common cold an pneumonia would kill you. No amount of money would save Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun from infection resulting from his broken bone. Kings died from tooth infections, malaria and more. And even the standards of life were not all that better up until recent history. The castles did not have plumbing, the food was not all that better, and there was not that big of a difference (functional) in expensive clothing versus regular man’s clothing. Generally speaking, the difference of life between wealthy and average income families were not that great long time ago.
Enter modern days, modern civilization.
Modern civilization is vastly influenced by money and power that it brings along, and I am not saying this as a derogatory thing. It is just a fact of life. Today money can provide three distinct things, each of them more powerful than the other, and in combination creates great happiness.
A) Money provides indirect happiness
By that I mean all the psychological events that happen in people’s minds simply by knowing that you have (or not have) money. People who constantly think about how will they pay their bills, mortgage, loan and have to constantly calculate are simply less happy. It is almost impossible to enjoy a quiet dinner with your family while thinking of the next bill. Having a peace of mind provides a happiness boost.
Studies even show that growing up poor, simply because of the psychological effects, is actually bad for your brain.
b) Money provides direct happiness
Absolutely no one can argue with the fact that purchasing things and experiences makes people happy. I am not talking about buying shoes on the Saturday shopping-mall frenzy. I am talking about plain things which enhance your life. Like quality food, basic tools, perhaps a bike or a car. But let’s even forget stuff, physical objects, put them aside. Even tho it is a common joke that “I would rather be sad in my Ferrari than in an old busted car”, let’s put that aside.
Money can purchase experiences. You can travel, see places, meet people, have a drink on top of mount Kilimanjaro, dive to depths of the ocean, see your favorite band play on different continent, … You can reach unobtainable experiences through money. Virgin Galactic space tourism is, guess what, not free.
You can say that all of this, or at least most, is possible without or just a little money. You can hitchhike, ride a bike, sleep in tent. Sure, I will even not debate how sleeping in a tent in the stormy night might be a slightly less enjoyable experience than sleeping in warm and cozy room. The one thing that cannot be argued is the fact that money in this case lubricates and makes experiences greater and more frequent.
Yeah, you could save money for 2 years and then go visit that crazy destination you always wanted. But having more money enables you to visit 4 places at that same time, get to there easily, enjoy them fully and come back to tell the tale. Money can help you get out of trouble as well. If your jeep breaks down in the middle of Sahara Adventure, guess what will solve that problem the fastest.
Besides, we have a limited life span. If you can afford to have one great experience every 5 years, that means you will inevitably regret going to Place A, because you could have spent that time going to Place B.
And the next thing you know, you are old, your bones hurt, and no more travel for you, no more experiences. Other than wheeling around in the new model of Turbo Wheeler 2000. Which leads me to the final point…
Money buys life
There, I said it. This sentence is even getting stronger and stronger with every passing year as technology and medicine advance.
Money can buy better medical procedures.
Money can buy fresh organs. Legally. Oh, you meant illegally? Sure. And please do not go judgmental on me now. If you had millions or billions, and your kidneys was failing, we all know what you would do. Organ trafficking business is a big business.
Money can buy new life. Your family cannot get pregnant? Sure thing, money can buy surrogacy and all sorts of procedures which will help you achieve happiness through creation of new life. Humor me and check out the price on surrogacy.
Money can sustain life. Care to wonder what is happening with Magic Johnson? He got HIV infected somewhere at the beginnings of HIV spread, so basically no treatments were available. Yet, somehow, by some miracle, he is still alive. South Park even has an episode about this saying that the cure for HIV is liquifying $200.000 and injecting it.
As medicine combined with technology advances, more and more procedures will be available, if you can purchase them. It will not be far into the future when money will actually be able to provide immortality. It won’t be free. Yeah, I know, this sounds like Science Fiction. But I guess heart transplantation sounded like Science Fiction to people up until someone actually did it.
Money can already buy and sustain life, imagine what it will be able to provide for you in the (near) future.
“I am rich, but yet still unhappy”
Alright, if you are rich but still unable to find happiness I really feel for you as the salinity of the tears ruins leather upholstery of your Bentley, but here is an idea — hire someone who will know how to spend your money to make you happy.
Which, by the way, is an excellent startup idea; make a company that specializes in making rich people happy. Research the person, and then find ways to make them happy. Boom. Instant hit.
You should abandon this idea that money cannot buy happiness. It can, and as progress marches on, it will be able even more so.
As a side note, please notice how I did not mention the poor here. I am comparing average income versus wealthy. If we were to throw in poor people, situation suddenly gets worse. The poor are actually getting even worse by the day, their graph line goes down as time marches on.