The Truth About Money and Happiness

The two extremes of wealth neighboring each other. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

You know, we all say “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” Even Spike Milligan said, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”

But do we believe it? Do we really think that money doesn’t buy happiness? If that’s the case, why on earth do we crave money? And once we have money, why do we keep wanting even more? Why, if we’re rich, do we give away less money than if we were poor? We seem to protect our money more than we protect ourselves, and this makes banks very happy.

The truth is, money does make you happy. There’s less stress when you have money and you know you can pay the gas bill at the end of the month. There’s also more freedom; you can take your wife out for a fantastic dinner (sorry, I mean girlfriend), travel around the world, or buy a new car or five. Why? “Because I got money.”

But then I look back at the times I had spent in Tunisia, Egypt, Uganda, the Philippines, and India. There’s sadness in the poor people’s eyes, but there’s also an immense joy and gratefulness. They don’t crave money like us westerners, mainly because they haven’t ever seen a shiny car or shoes that cover your entire feet. For them, having a roof over their head, some food to eat, and a blanket to sleep with is all they need. They don’t want anything. They’re need-driven, not want-driven, unlike us.

So, my point is this: for us in the western world, we crave money because we secretly believe that it does, in fact, buy us happiness, no matter what other people say about it. We don’t tell people our view on money, because it’s almost politically incorrect to say something like that. Well, I’m saying it right here.

Some people live in poverty and they’re fine mainly because they’re used to it. Other people live in poverty, and right around the corner, there’s a 5 star hotel. Kind of like in that picture of Sao Paulo.

Money money money, it’s so funny, in a rich man’s world.

Well… they say that giving is good. So give your money to people who need it more than you.