Money Can’t Buy Happiness, But… by Phil Covington

The phrase, "money can’t buy happiness," used to merely be accepted as an old adage or proverb. However, substantial research has now been done over the years to shed a little more light on this long standing saying.

Studies now clearly show that there is little difference between the level of perceived happiness between richer and poorer groups of people. In fact, around the World, poorer people in poorer countries often have seem to have the edge in reporting a greater sense of happiness. Naturally I’m not referring here to people who are in a state of starvation or other dire circumstances, but rather people who simply live a less hectic and materialistic lifestyle than most of us in more industrialized settings.

Numerous theories abound, but generally it’s thought that poorer people report greater happiness because they have less to worry about and so it takes less to make them happy. With fewer possessions and fewer options for entertainment family activities and other relationships occupy a greater percentage of time than might typically be observed among people who are better off. Some studies surmise that because marriage and family relationships bring some of the greatest feelings of happiness that poorer people are happier because they spend more time engaged in family activities and build stronger family bonds. Of course, people don’t have to live in a poor country. The same findings have been reported among poorer people in industrialized countries like the United States.

I won’t cite actual references and statistics because the studies are so numerous that you can easily find all of the studies you want simply by entering the phrase, "money can’t buy happiness," into your favorite search engine.

That’s not to say, though, that if you want to be happy you should try to remain poor, or seek to be poor if you don’t happen to be. Speaking of which, while most of us have a concept of what poor is, have you ever stopped to think that most people don’t really know what a true definition of, "rich," is?

Some people erroneously conclude that people with big homes and nice cars are, "rich," though, in most cases, such items are more likely to be greater indicators of debt than wealth. A big home with a big mortgage or a nice car with large monthly payments represents debt, not wealth.

Likewise, many people feel that anyone who makes a certain amount of money is, "rich," especially if they happen to make more than the "magic" threshold amount of $100,000 a year. Wrong! Just ask anyone who makes $100,000 a year and they will quickly confirm that most people who earn that much are not rich.

In fact, because most people who earn more tend to spend more, yearly earnings amounts can range quite high without a person being truly, "rich."

So, what’s a good definition of what it means to be rich? My personal favorite is the one that Bill Cosby gave when asked by his children on his popular TV show, "The Cosby Show," which aired from 1984 to 1992. While discussing with them the topic of what it means to be rich he said the difference is that, "people who are not rich work for their money, whereas rich people’s money works for them." Not only is that about as good a definition as you’ll find, but it happens to be one that’s universally accepted as true.

Another well accepted definition of what it means to be rich is that rich people work because they want to and not because they have to, whereas people who are not rich work because they have to.

Still think that money can’t buy happiness? If it’s true that the happiest people of all have been found to be those who spend the most time with their family, then is it possible that if you are in the financial position to be able to work less that you could spend more time with your family, thus making you, and your family, happier?

Here is something else to think about: Did you know that the majority of wealthy people are business owners? Over 70 percent of all millionaires own their own business.

What’s more, are you aware that even if you aren’t rich you can enjoy many of the same benefits simply by owning a successful home based business?

It’s already been established that spending time with our spouse or family is what makes most people happiest. So, if your current job or occupation is preventing you from spending time with your family, or doing the other things in life that you enjoy, due to mandatory long hours at work, mandatory travel, etc., owning a home business can provide you with extra income, which can in turn reduce the need for you to work as many hours away from home (or, again, whatever in life it is that you enjoy).

Also near the top of the list of things that equate to personal happiness is good health. In fact, when people are asked if they would rather have money or good health, most people answer that they would rather have good health. After all, what good is money if you don’t have the good health to enjoy it?

Did you know that, for most people, income and money equate directly to good health? Poor people, for instance, typically cannot afford to feed their families properly to maintain optimal natural health, or afford quality medical insurance to maintain optimal medical health — whether preventative care such as routine checkups and dental visits, or care when something goes wrong or treatment is needed.

Just one of the things that money buys is choice. People without money are forced to buy what they can afford, whereas people with money have the luxury and advantage of choice. People with money can not only afford to buy the best medical insurance, but they typically have more options and more choice when it comes to medical care. People without money may have very restrictive health care options, or may not even have insurance at all.

And, of course, good health also starts with what we eat. Have you ever stopped to realize that junk food is by far cheaper and more affordable than the quality food items that have been proven to be best for our health?

Fresh fruits and vegetables, for instance, are far more expensive than things like potato chips, snack foods, junk food, and less healthy food items. Quality meats (with less fat) are more expensive than cheaper cuts of meat. Organically grown produce is more expensive than regular produce. and It’s been well proven that, typically, the higher the education and income level that people have, the healthier they eat, the better insurance they have, and the healthier they actually are. And, healthier people are happier people. Still think that money can’t buy happiness?

Yet another item that ranks high on the list of what people equate to happiness is safety. The opposite of safety is fear, and fear is closely related to stress, which we’ll talk about in a minute. Are you driving a lesser car than you would like to that doesn’t make you feel quite as safe as you would like to feel? Better built and maintained homes can be safer and more comfortable than homes that are less so. If someone can’t afford to be in the kind of home and neighborhood they would like to be in, they are likely to be less happy than if they were.

We’ve talked about some of the things that researchers have universally found to be responsible for greater happiness, but how about one of the greatest causes of unhappiness: stress?

Not only does stress make people unhappy, but it’s also been determined to be unhealthy. Stress can lead to health problems.

On the one hand the more money people have the more they have to worry about. And, of course, some people are never satisfied. The more money they make, the more things they have to buy, and the more responsibilities and headaches they seemingly create for themselves. But that certainly doesn’t describe what everyone does with money.

Not including people who are never satisfied and can never have enough, more money can equate directly to less financial stress. Less stress equates to a happier person.

Someone who doesn’t have enough money to pay his or her bills, or who is constantly living paycheck to paycheck is likely to be more stressed than someone who has extra money in the bank.

And, of course, money can buy luxury, relaxation, and pampering, all of which equate to less stress (more happiness), and even better physical well being.

Celebrities and the well to do are often admired for looking good for their age, younger than their age, etc. Plastic surgery not withstanding, it’s largely due to all of the perks mentioned above. Celebrities typically lead pampered lives and often have the best of everything. Better food, less stress, more relaxation and pampering, fewer wrinkles :)

More often the people likely to be found saying that, "money can’t buy happiness," the most are people who either don’t have it, or never have. After all, how would they know? Wealthy people also sometimes say that, "money can’t buy happiness," but they are also just as likely to follow that statement by telling you that they would also, "rather be with it than without it."

How about you, do you still think that money can’t buy happiness? If so, maybe you better think again…

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About The Author

GRPMAX, L.L.C. was founded by CEO Phil Covington in 1979 and is the parent company of ABCIncome.Com. GRPMAX specializes in developing Uniquely Innovative Technologies & Solutionsâ„¢ and has worked with clients ranging from small business, to government, to the Fortune 500. Specifically, GRPMAX creates solutions that automate processes that previously required human staffing and interaction. Mr. Covington’s interest in the home business field started in the 1980s and developed out of relationships with some of the industry’s most talented and highest earning individuals, during which time he has actively pursued the creation of the ultimate home business passive income solution.