Can Money Buy Happiness?

By Madeline Crowley

A one in a million chance of winning the lottery leads to the all important question containing so many different answers, opinions, and arguments: can money buy happiness? The various takes on this topic include the positive thoughts of being able to buy anything you want, but also the fear that the money will be spent inappropriately and later put you in debt.  If you are seeking the true answer to this question, however, there is none, it will forever be up for debate. 

Although I do think there is some sort of direct correlation between money and happiness, I do not believe that money can actually buy happiness. There are many reasons one cannot buy happiness, but one is that the purchase of physical items does not bring ultimate satisfaction. Truly, this is because happiness can only be acquired through the opposite of buying; giving. Have you ever wondered why so many people call Christmas and Hanukkah their favorite holidays? You may say it is because it is the time of year where people are most excited to receive gifts from everyone they know. But on the other hand, it may be because you enjoy seeing everyone in the magical holiday giving spirit and seeing the faces of loved ones when they receive the new pair of shoes you bought them. As a child, the excitement of Santa Claus and receiving presents was overpowering for me, but now that I have grown up I am able to reflect on my new feelings of excitement for Christmas time. I find it to be a much more wholesome and happy experience focusing on finding the perfect gifts to give rather than receiving anything. True happiness is found not in buying items but rather giving them. In fact, a study done by the Happy Money personal loan platform in 2022, proved that all consumers who decide to donate their money or spend it on making others happy are reportedly far happier than those who keep the money for their own sakes.

Another reason I believe money cannot buy happiness is because we as humans adapt to change so quickly, and would soon adjust to our new wealth. For example, if your boss gives you special raise, it may be super exciting for a while but eventually you will adapt to the accumulation. The big things will not seem so big anymore and the little things may disappear. If a real estate agent makes $10,000 more than they did the year before for 10 years in a row they may not even notice on a day to day basis that they increased their income by $100,000 over those years because humans are so flexible to change. 

To restate, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or happiness is in the eye of the consumer. Maybe money can buy happiness if spent in the right ways, but for now there is no single answer, you can just do your best to justify how spending money makes you feel individually.