Sep 082014 4 Responses

Money Can Make You Happy

They say money can’t make you happy.

But they lie.

Money can drastically influence one’s happiness and satisfaction in life.

Recent studies have proven that up to a certain threshold, money can buy happiness. It’s not surprising that if someone has enough money to secure a house, to know where the next meal will come from, and to have their basic necessities taken care with a little left over, people will be happier. (See: I Just Want to Be Happy)

Yet beyond a very low threshold, experts agree that money can’t buy happiness. And it can’t. After we have our basic needs covered, buying objects do not influence our satisfaction with life or feeling of happiness.

However, money can still make you happy.

It just requires us to use money in a different way to experience that happiness.

Up to certain levels, we buy things which lead to our happiness. But having the ability to buy more expensive cars, bigger houses, or nicer clothes does not influence our sense of life satisfaction. (See: Marriage Can’t Make You Happy)

This doesn’t mean money can’t continue to make us happy. It can.

But it only will if we use money in a different way.

While buying things cannot make us happy, giving money and using money to enable experiences can greatly impact our lives.

Money can make you happy when you:

Give it


Do things with it

Thinking money will continue to buy happiness after our basic necessities are secured is foolishness. It won’t. Size of bank account or house or car in no way correlates with someone’s satisfaction with life. (See: A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will)

But when someone uses money to give to others or to secure experiences for themselves, money can make one happy.

Giving may be the most counter-intuitive act there is. How can giving something to someone else make us happy? It makes no sense. From the moment we can distinguish having something or not have something, we want things to be ours. Try to convince a small child that sharing a toy is a good idea and they will not believe you.

However, as maturity comes, so does the experience that giving to others can be a deeply meaningful event. Not only does giving bring us happiness because it helps others, but also because it is an antidote to greed. Giving brings a double happiness—we find deep satisfaction in watching others receive what they did not expect and it prevents us from holding to tightly to that which we keep.

If you have money and you don’t give to others, you will be greedy. Few things make us more unhappy than the presence of greed.

Money can also enable experiences. Unlike buying things, whenever we use money to gain access to experiences it often deepens relationships, creates an appreciation for what we have, and makes us feel alive.

Buying things does not have a lasting influence on our lives; making memories does. (See: Stop Spending Your Spouse’s Dreams)

Looking back on my life, I can’t remember very many things which I purchased, but I can remember nearly every vacation taken, ballgame enjoyed, and special event experienced. Those memories continue to bring joy even though they have long passed.

Whenever we realize the power of experience in our lives and the lives of our children, it should greatly influence how we spend money. We are tempted to purchase things at the expense of experiences. We should deny the temptation.

Buy a smaller house if it frees up money for season tickets to your favorite team.

Buy a used car if it allows you take a vacation.

Instead of buying a boat, spend the money on multiple trips with your family.

Anytime you have a choice between an object or an experience, buy the experience.

Money can make you happy. It begins by giving us the necessities of life. But it continues as we use it bless others and enjoy one another. Buying things will not make us happy, but giving to others and accessing experiences can bring great joy. (See: Three Loves to Change Your Life)

And if you really want to multiply the happiness, give someone an experience.


4 Responses to Money Can Make You Happy
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