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18 Apr 2019


Can money buy you happiness?

International Happiness Day just happened on the 20th of March, and it reminded me of this famous question.

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I read about this famous psychology research conducted about financial incentives. Unfortunately, I can't recall the author/title but it's something like this.

Basically in that research, two groups of subjects were paid certain amount to complete various tasks and payment will be awarded for the completion of the tasks.

The first group of subjects were paid x dollars for the completion of the tasks whereas the second group of subjects were paid y dollars (a few times higher than x) for the completion of the same set of tasks.

After the experiment, both groups of subjects were asked how much they think they deserved to be paid, both groups indicate that they deserved to be paid more than they were.

Anyway, linking the result of this experiment back to the topic, maybe its not about money that brings about happiness because if that is the basis of measure, we will forever be unhappy because like the subjects in the experiment, no matter how much we have, we have feel a sense of entitlement and feel as though we don't have enough of it.

In my opinion, the key to sustainable happiness lies in being contented with what you have (though that is not saying that you shouldn't work hard or that having money won't bring you happniess). All I am saying is that more money does not equate to more happiness; it is how you value whatever money that you worked for - that brings about happiness

Personally, I believe it depends on what you intend to use the money for.

If I use the money to buy ice-cream, and ice-cream makes me happy, then yes. In this case, it brings me happiness. Perhaps a short-term happiness, but nevertheless still happiness.

If I use the money to pay my bills, giving me a sense of emotional peace knowing that I can continue using my phone, water, electricity for the next month or so, then yes, it brings me happiness.
If I save money in a bank and that makes me feel shiok (happy) when I look at the amount I have for whatever weird reason, then it has bought happiness for me already.

Money can help one to get a lot of things, and can bring you happiness if those things bring you happiness. However, there are some things that money can't buy - relationships with people, time, knowledge. Thus, I feel that money should be seen as a means to get something, not as the end goal. Knowing what you want to do with the money, and what you can’t get with the money is key :)

It is what you do with your money. If you use your money to seek happiness and do the things you like, it could give you happiness. If your seek a simple life, money is secondary, just enough for you to get by.

However, if you spend all of your money and you have no savings, it would not be a happy ending after all.

This was a question I always asked myself throughout my financial journey of 10 years and counting.

The law of diminishing returns apply here.

In the begininning when I was working multiple jobs and saving alot to pay off my education and bills, it was very satisfying and also provided a peace of mind. Money is an enabler and a lubricant. That said, after a certain point (and this certain point would be different for everyone), every incremental dollar of money does not make a person incrementally happier to the same degree as the first dollar did.

TL:DR: $10 to a homeless person is going to make his day, since it could mean having the means to buy essentials/get a meal/get warm clothes. One can't say the same for a billionaire who has acquired an incremental $10.

Gabriel Tham

21 Mar 2019

Tag Team Member at Kenichi Tag Team

Yes. Imagine you have no money worries, able to pursue any dream, any hobby you so wish.

Your fami...

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