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October 26, 2007


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To me, money is merely an arbitrary form of conversion.

If money is spent towards bailing you out of misery or affording you a lifestyle that you really, really wanted, perhaps it can be construed that it can bring you happiness.

If money is spent towards the gaudy, hollow, and the meaningless, then perhaps it will not.

The bottom line is, money is only the means to an end, and not the end in itself. As such, it is only as meaningful and as happy-producing as the owner can intelligently apply it.

That's my personal opinion anyway.

Money doesn't buy happiness at all. Money is a physical thing that can only be exchanged for physical things. Happiness is an emotion that can be influenced by many factors, but never controlled directly.

So many people argue that money can or can't buy happiness. That's like arguing that hammers do or do not build houses.

Having a tool as powerful as money available can lead you to influence your life and discover what makes you happy and therefor can in fact be said that indirectly it can mean it influences how happy you are.

If happy to you is sitting on a beach reading good books while asking your personal assistant to mix you another drink, then you are going to need money to do that. If instead it's throwing on a backpack and traveling the world and living off the hospitality of others and learning about other people . . . guess what, you won't be any happier with a couple million in the bank.

This is truly a great question, one that people have debated over for years. I would argue that money does not buy happiness (and can not), but that it can create the illusion of happiness. Most people tend to believe that by having more money, or getting a raise that they will have more happiness, but in reality for most of those people having more money just causes more grief or issues for them.

An example of this is the guy would is making $45K a year and is able to pay all of his bills, but is wanting that raise. When he finally gets that promotion and he is now making $55K a year (big increase I know), he decides its time to purchase a home instead of rent, and its time for that new car he's been wanting. Now this raise that was going to make him happy has bought him a house and a car and he's in more debt and now needs more can obviously see the cycle.

One the other hand, having an understanding of how money works and how to use it can lead you toward happiness. It is not about having a lot of money or about having a lot of things, but happiness can come from being content with what you have and knowing how to use it and or budget it. Everyone defines happiness for themselves. Some people are happy when they see the number in their bank account, some people are happy when they buy something new, others are happy when they get to take a day off work and go fishing...the list is longer that I can think of, but the point is the same.

That's true after middle class, you do not feel any different. Once I hit $50K a year, after that my life have not changed

Personally, money is just a way to make life a little comfortable. Happines on the other hand is way beyond that. Watch the movie TITANIC (which you probably had) and it explains it all. Way to go Jack. People with lots and lots of money (some of them anyway)are happy with their lives not because of what they have but because of how they look at life in general.Rich people look for rich friends, poor people want to have rich friends. That is just wrong!!! To be happy, have some genuine friends who will like you regardless of what you have, for me thats happiness.

I suspect the point varies with individuals according to expectations; middle class covers a wide territory.

I think it depends to a great extent on how people approach money and that it means to them. If you want more money for a specific goal, you probably would be happier, even beyond a middle class. Maybe you have a passion to help people, or promote art, or have a great business vision, etc., once you have an opportunity to actually take advantage of these endeavors, then you would be happier, I think. But when its more money for the sake of having more money without having a slightest idea what you will use it for besides buying a larger house, a more expensive car, etc., then your happiness might stay at roughly the same level it was when you had a simply "comfortable" lifestyle.

You know what... I would rather buy my own kind of misery any day of the week...

I agree with the studies that say money only buys happiness up to a point. As much as we might like to think otherwise, our basic psychology is pretty much the same.

The psychologist Maslow wrote about the hierarchy of needs. Meeting basic needs increases human happiness alot, of course - food, shelter, clothing. When you achieve a sustainable standard of living, happiness becomes a lot more fine-tuned. It rests on connection - family/friends/iintimate companion, meaningful work, community, and spiritual connection. Obviously people achieve those in different balances - a manic entrpreneur is happy succeeding at work, a monk focuses on the spiritual. Material possessions don't do much in this equation. They are a way to give momentary pleasure and to measure status, but they don't love you back.

Here in Thailand there is a popular saying that is on many a T-Shirt "No Money No Honey"

I was never happy until I'd started making real money. That was the first jump from earning $35K/yr to $70K/yr (entry level pay to a five year experienced position).

Then, my happiness quotient started to wane, as I knew that I'd have to keep working for the money and that the companies I'd worked for, started curtailing benefits and vacation time. Now, for me to re-experience happiness, I'd need to go from $90K/yr to $250K/yr with a complimentary 1-2 mos off per year since the costs of travel and decent hotels have gone up, and realize, I'm also counting saving for layoffs and retirement in my equation. The key here is to make the money, a liberator than a master.

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