Can Money Buy Happiness? Experts Say Yes – If Used Wisely.

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If you’ve ever wondered ‘can money buy happiness?’, you’re not alone. That’s not just because you’re reading a blog called Money Can Buy Me Happiness either. 

When I started this blog, I had some criticism. One person told me she associates the name of my site with the desire to “accumulate more and more money before I can be happy”. I was a little hurt by this but I respect her opinion. It warrants further thought.

I feel like the luckiest person alive. I live 50 metres from the beach in Spain. I spend lots of time with my son and husband. This past year we have been able to travel with members of our family on three separate occasions.

Wanna know what makes me happy? Spending the European summer with family in Ireland, knowing there are snowstorms at home. Seeing my son create memories with cousins that live on the opposite side of the world from us.

Hearing him whisper “Hola, perro” to every dog we pass on the street in Spain. Money has enabled us to slow travel across seven countries over the past ten months. Money is paying for us to stay here in Spain for an extended period.

Snow - in December! What a novelty.
Snow – in December! What a novelty for us antipodeans.

A friend recently told me I was living the dream. She was right. And yet I come from an area where poverty is the norm.

I grew up in a hard-working family with parents that gave me all they could, but I always knew that only I was capable of changing my future.

So what’s in this name?

I believe mastering money can give you freedom to spend your time how you wish. That is the key message in everything I write.

I know that my own life would be pretty miserable had I not figured out how to get out of debt and save for the future. The simple truth is the average person can buy stuff or they can buy time. They can’t have both.

If you choose to spend your money on shoes, nice clothes and car payments that’s your choice. You just have to accept the consequences of those choices – that you will likely need to work for a very long time to pay for your choices.

Me – I’m using my money to secure my future as a young retiree who can travel the world with her family. In the meantime I’ll be driving an ugly, 23-year-old car that I paid for with cash and re-purposing the boxes full of clothes I have accumulated over a lifetime.

Can Money Really Buy Happiness? the Experts Say Yes.

It’s been proven that money spent on experiences contributes to increased feelings of fulfilment in life. Rather than the one-off hit of a material purchase, money spent on experiences can have a longer lasting effect on one’s happiness.

Research published in the journal Psychological Science by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology shows that the anticipation of an experience such as travelling brings more joy than the anticipation of making a material purchase. I know that I enjoy planning a trip almost as much as I enjoy taking one.

This excellent TED talk shows money spent on others bring much more joy than money spent on oneself. Use your money to do the things you have always dreamed of doing. Give generously to others. Your life will be richer for it.

Emma

Emma

I'm a mum on a mission to achieve financial freedom and have fun with my family along the way. You can find out more here.

16 thoughts on “Can Money Buy Happiness? Experts Say Yes – If Used Wisely.”

  1. I guess you could say money buys freedom, which engenders happiness. I see money more as security and freedom, the family provides the happiness.

    Sounds like y’all are having a blast, I would love to like 50m away from la playa!

    Reply
  2. I totally get it, and came up with the name “Root of Good” for my blog for many of the same reasons.

    You don’t have to pay for happiness (they don’t exactly bottle the stuff and stock it on the shelves in the grocery store after all), but having money allows you the freedom to do anything you can imagine (and afford).

    Reply
  3. I’ve only recently come across you blog. I must admit that the name, along with the pink, initially put me off. I thought your blog would be about shopping!
    Thankfully I took a closer look and I am so glad I did.
    I always say it’s not what you have in your house but what you have in your heart. My partner and I have made conscious decisions to prioritise other things (variously study, travel and now time with our son) over the accumulation of stuff. We are in the financial position to do this not because we have a huge income (although above average) but because we are smart and intentional with our money. Its not always easy, but it always worth it.

    Reply
    • Thanks for taking a closer look Amy. I was a marketer in my past life and I can see how you would associate pink with shopping. I’m trying out black for now (my favourite colour). It sounds like you and your partner have cracked the code, being intentional with your money is an excellent skill to have. I was so flippant with my money in my past and I’ve had to work hard to change that way of thinking. Giving every dollar a job is something I’m focussing on now.

      Reply
  4. I love your title- it grabs your attention & makes you pause to think.
    It is so true that living less acquisitively allows you to use money to buy experiences and the time/space to treasure them.
    I promise you it is even more to be appreciated as you get older. To be able to sit in the sun, enjoying lovely surroundings, instead of being worried to death by financial insecurity when your earning capacity is over or severely limited, is a huge blessing and improves the quality of later life immeasurably..

    Reply
    • Thanks Wise Grannie. That is my intention – to question what we usually think about money, to think of it as an enabler of dreams and freedom. Very wise words regarding worries about money when your earning capacity is lower. I’m conscious of the cost of assisted care facilities for when I am older. Although New Zealand currently has a non-means tested pension for over 65s I’m quite sure the scheme will either not exist or look entirely different by the time I reach that age. The onus is on me to pay for my future.

      Reply
  5. I think your title is great. Nothing in life is free, we need money to survive and therefore we need a certain amount of money to be happy. Having money has allowed you to enjoy what makes you happy, as you mention slow travelling, spending time with your family, living in Spain. Money is a means to and end, that end is often our own version of happiness.

    Reply
  6. No, money can’t buy happiness. But it can put you in a secure enough place that you can find happiness through whatever means you like.

    It’s hard to be happy when you’re constantly worrying about bills. It’s harder, if not impossible, to find money to fund classes/hobbies/travel/concerts. Those make us more well-rounded, which is a good path to happiness.

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    • So true Abigail, I’m pretty sure that fear and anxiety one feels when they can’t meet the rent payment is the polar opposite to happiness.

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  7. I love this post! It totally resonates with me. Last year hubby and I went to Alaska and saw bears in the wild. We also saw Mt McKinley, huge glaciers, humpback whales, and a red fox strolling past our bus in Denali National Park. To experience nature and wilderness like that is an experience that we will never forget. It was worth every cent and was our 10th wedding anniversary. A new car just wouldn’t have felt as good.

    Reply
  8. I agree Emma.

    Money is really nothing more than a stand in for what we believe in. How we spend our money shows what our true values are–and you’re right–Money can buy us happiness if we’re in tune with our values!

    I love the new header too!

    Reply
    • Thanks Tiffiney. I’m guessing you guys are in the thick of your own money journey right now. It’ll be so worthwhile once you are debt free and sailing into the sunset.

      Reply

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