How Money Can Buy Happiness and Why You Want to Believe It Can’t

White Piggy BankHave you ever shared your desire to amass financial wealth and received the response, “Money can’t buy happiness.

Is permanent bliss the expected payoff for accomplishing your goals?

After achieving your financial objectives, do you think you’ll experience everlasting joy?

Through the loss of a loved one, physical illness or the cancellation of your favorite TV show, do you trust your cash will comfort you?

Of course not. That’s silly.

But you wouldn’t knowingly chase a dream that’d make you unhappy.

Money won’t protect you from all of life’s disappointments. Then again, nothing will.

Why set such a ridiculous standard for money?

Many factors contribute to happiness. It’s okay to admit that money is one of them.

Although you may associate financial affluence with fabulous designer clothes or lakefront mansions, money also provides intangible benefits that are often ignored.

Money Talks. It says, “You did good.”

Money is so much more than copper, nickel, and cotton fiber paper.

To a certain extent, it’s a measure of your service.

I often log in to my PayPal account just to gaze at the deposit transactions. To me, those payments look like an enthusiastic thumbs up paired with a toothy grin. They’re my customers’ way of saying, “Thank you for what you do.”

Oh sure, there are people who receive outrageous sums of cash for destroying customer value.

And there are people who do amazing work for society who don’t even receive a living wage.

But sandwiched between the obscenely overpaid and the absurdly underpaid are people whose income fairly depicts their level of service.

Money Frees You

You wanna go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do, say what you wanna say.

You want to enjoy life without restraint.

It’s not always the case, but money grants you access to certain freedoms.

Recently, a friend and I were talking about the gentrification that’s taking place in his neighborhood.

If you’ve never witnessed it, here’s what gentrification looks like.

  • Investors flock to a rundown neighborhood with desirable traits such as close proximity to a major job center.
  • They snap up properties from existing owners in hopes of later selling or renting them at a higher price.
  • No longer able to afford skyrocketing housing prices, people living in these areas, who are mostly renters, have to move.

Residents often claim they’re being pushed out of their homes (which they don’t own by the way) because of their ethnicity.

That’s a bunch of bunk.

If they had the funds to pay the new rates, they wouldn’t have to go anywhere. They’d be free to stay (or go).

But the freedom money provides isn’t just about being able to afford pricey real estate.

In many instances, without money, you’re stuck.

It gives you the mobility to pursue your passions.

To escape a life devoid of fulfillment.

To take risks.

Money Kicks Fear In the Chest and Builds Courage

I’ll be honest with you. A lot of things scare me.

  • Not being able to feel my nose running on a cold, windy day.
  • Passing out in a sports conditioning group exercise class.
  • Losing my train of thought mid sentence while guest hosting a national morning talk show.

None of these fears have anything to do with money. And sadly, money won’t make them go away.

A lack of financial resources may be enough of an excuse for you to accept the unacceptable.

For years, I wanted to leave my job so that I could completely focus on my business interests. I didn’t hate my job, but I also didn’t want to spend decades in a profession that I had lukewarm feelings about.

I’ve always had the right to leave, but there were a few roadblocks standing in the way:

  • Internet
  • Food
  • Rent
  • Gas
  • Health insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Shoes
  • Taxes
  • Other items necessary for basic living

The only way to tackle these “problems” is with money.

Once I scrounged up enough cash to pay my bills for a couple years, I found the courage to quit my job.

Despite all the good it provides and despite all the joy it spreads, money continues to get a bad rep.

They Say Money is the Root of All Evil

After hearing this nonsense your whole life, you start to believe money is inherently bad. And if it’s bad, how could it possibly be responsible for a positive emotion like happiness?

There are two problems with what “they” tell you about money.

  1. They’ve misquoted 1 Timothy 6:10 of the Bible which says, “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”
  2. Even when the quote is corrected, it’s still wrong.

Empirically speaking, there’s plenty of evil in this world that’d occur without money.

If You Want Money, You Have to Work for It

It would be a rare occurrence indeed if a perfect stranger handed you cash for no reason.

As indicated earlier, giving someone money is one way of expressing approval for her work. If you want more money, you have to work harder giving others what they want.

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to work hard. Heck, work is exhausting.

For some, it’s much easier to feign contentment with their current financial state than to make the effort to change it.

Having A Lot of Money Makes You Seem Greedy

In order to get rich, you have to earn a lot of money. Then, you have to keep it.

You will not be wealthy if you spend all your money. 

But you already know that.

Surprisingly, that simple truth escapes many broke people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a financially destitute individual rebuke a rich person for being rich. She contends the rich guy should give more of his money to charity.


Because “He doesn’t need all that money.”

What I find peculiar about people who say such things is their defense for not giving more of their money to the less fortunate. But they can’t. They spent it all on themselves.

Money can’t be the sole source of your happiness. But it can be used as a tool to buy what would otherwise be priceless.

What ways has money contributed to your happiness?

About the Author

Shawanda Greene is a free thinking, frugal gal whose only vices are boxed wine, lip balm and money grubbing. You can find more of Shawanda's musings at You Have More Than You Think – a productivity focused guide to maximizing the money you have to obtain more of what you want.