For the longest time, the old adage “money can’t buy happiness” has been relentlessly drilled into our popular consciousness, so much so that it has even been used as song lyrics by the likes of the Beatles and Freddy Mercury.
However, putting pure idealism aside, is this statement really true? Is a large net income or a generous amount of wealth just a hollow quality that ultimately leaves you friendless and alone, like a doddering, old Charles Foster Kane?
According to recent studies, it turns out money does play a substantial role in helping one achieve a certain level of contentment.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, a 2014 survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found there is an undeniable link between the two factors.
For instance, among those surveyed, only 35 per cent of Americans with an annual household income of less than $10,000 reported they were “very happy.” Compare this to those who earn between $100,000 and $250,000, whose rate of being “very happy” jumps to 65 per cent. This trend continues on the same basic pattern for the rest of the survey, with increasing happiness being intrinsically correlated to increasing wealth.
Of course, “wealth” and “happiness” mean different things to many different people, but the facts here are still pretty compelling.
Champions of the opposite viewpoint often make the critical mistake of equating the idea of having money as having the opportunity to fill your life with lots of empty material possessions.
However, what these people don’t take into account is the fact that substantial wealth also allows one access to more than just fancy cars and golden toilet seats. Substantial financial wealth can provide one with a brevity of more meaningful benefits: financial security (not having to worry about bills and debt), career opportunities (startup money for a business), and access to enlightening life experiences (to go on vacations or give to charity).
On the flipside of this equation, living in poverty, or having to deal with substantial financial debt, is a real harrowing ordeal that causes untold amounts of stress and anxiety (most university students could tell you that).
Yes, there are plenty of wealthy people who are cut from the same cloth as the aforementioned Mr. Kane, who blow their good fortune on buying castles, exotic birds, expensive Faberge eggs, and other useless junk. But, in the end, it’s important to remember that it is possible for people to be happy with or without having lots of money, since we don’t live in a world of absolutes.
So, is having a lot of money a guaranteed road to happiness? No, but a fat wallet could definitely increase your chances of achieving everlasting contentment.