Money can buy happiness

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Surprisingly, yes — The phrase “money can’t buy happiness” has been used for years, but money can buy happiness in more ways than one might think. Research also shows that people with more money have higher levels of happiness.

Sydney Bigelow, Opinions Editor

Well, sort of. Kind of. Not exactly. The phrase “money can’t buy happiness” is an age old expression, typically used in response to someone showing excitement towards an object or when discussing the wealth of a romantic partner. This phrase emerged as a way to keep people from revolving their lives around money and valuing it above all else. Although money can not create true euphoria, it can certainly be used to achieve happiness.

Happiness is an emotion and an idea, not a physical object. Feelings and emotions can not be bought, sold, exchanged, or any action such as that. People can achieve happiness through a variety of experiences, and some of those methods are possible with money, meaning money could theoretically “buy” happiness.

The word happiness is too often used interchangeably with words such as euphoria or ecstasy. Although happiness is a strong, positive feeling, simply being happy is not the same as being truly ecstatic or experiencing pure joy. Happiness can be achieved by things as small and simple as an item of food or a birthday card, things that are bought with money. When evaluating the phrase “money can’t buy happiness,” money is certainly capable of achieving happiness.

Happiness can be a result of an incredible experience, such as skydiving or a concert with a significant other. These moments are not meaningful because they cost money, but in the economy we live in they are only possible with money. If referring to these physical experiences, then it is accurate that money bought the experiences, therefore resulting in happiness.

The happiness that may come from things which cost money will never compare to the feelings that come from family, friends, self achievement, etc. Risking any of these things for the sake of money and wealth is a mistake. Money may buy happiness, but you will never experience love or accomplishment if the feelings that money “buys” is a priority.

On a much larger scale, studies and research also support the claim that money can actually buy happiness, reporting levels of happiness and salary. In a study conducted by the General Social Survey, adults in households making over $100,000 a year reported that they were “very happy.” Of course, these individuals could simply be lying about how content and happy they were, but there is no doubt that being happy and being in the top one percent go hand in hand. A poll conducted by Harvard University found that 97% of adults in the top 1%, those whose salaries are over $500,000 a year, reported that they are “living the American dream” and are extremely happy.

Emotions are subjective things, meaning there is not one clear definition. One’s feelings can not be described or evaluated by another person, so we can not tell a person what does or does not bring them happiness. Other people’s feelings are unique to them, so it is possible for them to believe they can achieve happiness with money, even if you do not personally agree with it.