Maybe money can’t buy happiness directly. Or maybe I should say – money alone does not guarantee happiness.
If you use it right, however, it can sure buy you a lot of things that can contribute mightily to the ease of which you can realize happiness.
Placing a value on things that you can buy with the money you earn is a practice that we should all do now and then to help us focus and figure out how we should piece together our budget.
I put together a personal top 10 list of things that money can buy – in ascending order.
I’d strongly encourage you to do the same. It was eye opening for me and it might be to you too.
Here’s my list….
As Americans, I think we place a little too much value on being entertained. And I think there’s something negative to be said for our constant feeling like we can’t just relax and be comfortable in a low stimulation state.
That being said, without books, movies, music, and other arts, life just wouldn’t be the same. Does entertainment alone make one happy? Probably not. But it can sure add some zest to life and give us something to look forward to.
Traveling can be a great way to unwind, de-stress, and re-focus. It can allow us to connect to nature and to connect to other cultures, broadening our worldviews. The key with travel is making sure you stop and really take in the experience. Running from one destination to the next to check things off a list can only leave you feeling empty.
Surprised education isn’t a little higher on the list? When you take away the earning impact of an education and let it stand on its own merits, it loses a little value. Sure, it could lead you to a more interesting career, but the grass is always greener on the other side. And I can’t recall much happiness or enjoyment that came from cramming for an exam. But without some sort of passion for learning – self taught, on-the-job, or traditional, it’s hard to imagine a rewarding life.
7. A Roof Over your Head
Someone I knew once referred to a house as “four walls”. That stuck with me. I’ve seen people in beautiful homes be absolutely miserable and people in run-down 1 bedroom apartments be wonderfully happy. It’s hard to imagine a happy life, however, if you don’t have a roof over your head that you can call home.
Insurance is much more than a piece of paper. It can buy you freedom from worry and stress that you suddenly might lose everything you have worked so hard for due to random chance or bad luck. And to me, that’s worth a lot.
Some of you may deem this one as over-rated. To those people I’d ask you this: “how many people in your life have loved you unconditionally and absolutely cannot stand to have you be away from them?”. Pets come with a price tag. Sometimes a big one.
Anyone alive today has been able to get by on enough food to survive. But food can be so much more than survival. I’ve written in the past that there are a lot of things that I can sacrifice and do without. Tasty/healthy food & drink is not one of them. I’m not willing to sacrifice quality to save a few bucks. Great food and spirits and the experience that comes with sharing with others can definitely enrich your life and contribute to your happiness.
You need money to eat healthy, afford exercise equipment, gym memberships, health insurance, and proper medication. Your health is definitely one of those things that won’t lead to happiness on its own, but in its absence, life can be absolutely miserable. Money can help prevent that, or at least prolong it.
This one comes with a big caveat. Time is all about what you do with it. There are extremely wealthy people who have been able to afford to dedicate their entire lives to their own self pursuits who are miserable. For those who use it wisely, there can be no other thing that could contribute more to your happiness. Without time, many of the other things on this list would not be possible.
This is #1 for me. Without freedom, you have nothing. If you have to give up all of your time, health, relationships, healthy food, travel, experiences and everything else because you don’t have a little bit of freedom from the need to earn money to afford those things, then what do you really have in life?
- What would you add or drop from this list and why?
- What would your top 10 list of things money can buy look like?
- Can Money Buy Happiness?
- Income & Happiness Studies: How Much is Enough?
- Money & Happiness: The Psychology of Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Goals
- The Mexican Fisherman Parable
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