The Relation between Money and Happiness in Modern Life
Money is intervened with human life. It can bring happiness to a certain extent is an established truth. The money and happiness research done by Princeton University showed that the happiness gets increased to a certain point with the increase in the money where all the preliminary needs are fulfilled and beyond that, it doesn’t have much effect on the happiness and determines how one uses it.
When compared with the poor people, money gives financial security and overcome the miseries related to the lack of money which averts one from experiencing the degree of pleasures.
The happiness and money research are done by different universities generally showed the same result depending upon the overall well-being and the emotional level of happiness. Subjective happiness has to do with the emotions that might bring pleasure for one but, distress for others such as finding joy in buying a product from someone with a very low price in any manner might psychologically boost his emotions.
Considering the subjective well-being as a whole here are few important facts about the relation between money and happiness in the present world.
Money and Happiness Correlation
Once the Mughal emperor Akbar asked his clever fellow advisor Birbal “If you were offered with wealth and wisdom, either of which you will select.”
Birbal replied, “I will definitely go for the wealth”.
Akbar felt sorry for the wise man’s reply and said that if it was offered to him, he would go for the wisdom.
On hearing Akbar’s reply, Birbal said, “I am in lack of wealth so I preferred it, you are in lack of wisdom so you chose it.” On hearing this reply, Akbar couldn’t control his laughter.
Money has become an inevitable element in modern life. In the absence of money, the whole technology will certainly collapse within a few days. The extent of the influence of money on the happiness of a modern person is higher than that of an ancient man. It determines a threshold value in the case of basic needs with an average of $ 75,000 total yearly income according to the Princeton University study.
The relation between money and happiness is relative. It is related to the place, society, creed, and culture of the people. Commonly, the amount of money that brings happiness to a person who lives in the city is different than that of a person who leaves in the countryside as related to the minimum requirement of the money to afford the life there.
The near-extinct Awa tribes of Amazon live as part of nature and do not have any connection with the external world. They were more correlated with nature and their cheerfulness has no influence on money rather than getting necessities for their daily life. It doesn’t mean that they are unhappy.
A person who lives in a dynamic world could not ignore the money and remain happy unless he is a yogi. ( Read also Money and Spirituality)
The religious teachings uphold the principle of morality that should be compatible with the people’s lives at all times and it should not rely only on faith and should not be misinterpreted. All the religious teaching says that to focus on the goal that might be accomplished with the wealth instead of focusing on the money which results in unwanted obsession and diverts you from the goal.
But, it is ethical when a poor man goes to money or materials. For him, the contentment relies only on money that could bring his family a better life, enough food, clothing, etc. Money has greater importance in religions such as Hinduism and it is even worshiped as the Goddess of wealth and prosperity ‘Lakshmi’.
How to be Happy?
The majority of the population considers money as an important tool for their happiness. Even for a few others who live the abstained life cannot ignore money and remain happy, which is required for their daily needs. The studies have shown that for some people, the increase in income more than required for a standard life indeed decreased the level of their happiness.
Elizabeth Dunn, professor of Psychology said in her book Happy Money – The Science of Happier Spending “Spending the money for others makes you happier than spending it on you.” When one’s basic needs are met spending the money that brings greater values to others makes you much happier even if it was a little amount.
The standard of life whether one leads a luxurious life or a normal life relies only on their mental contentment for happiness. The greedy man cannot be happy even if he is wealthy.
The money and happiness research done by Prof. Gilovich has shown that spending money on experiences such as visiting a new place, having a vacation rather than spending on the material goods creates more and lasting happier moments. His study suits only the people with the income above the threshold level where others are obliged to spend it on their necessities.
Even though money can bring happiness in one’s life, it is limited as Arne Garborg says, “You can buy food but not hunger; you can buy the bed but not good sleep; you can hire employees but not their faith; you can get knowledge but not wisdom.”
Income and Happiness
The studies have shown that the higher income makes you feel greater financial security, having good control, and to lead a better life. But the joy experienced through this has a lesser impact on the total wellbeing of a person.
Money is only a tool that can be used to do good or evil and the real happiness results in how you use it.
Are the millionaires really going behind the money? They are really following their ambitions that could be fulfilled through the wealth that they are collecting. Their ambitions are such as having good fame in the society, greater status and respect, lead as head of a prestigious company, etc. That is why they struggle to reach the top even if they could buy an entire city with their accumulated wealth. Their happiness relies on the contentment of the goals and the way to success.
After accomplishing the goals, such personalities try to find happiness by different means. As the billionaires, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg say that they would be happy by donating 99% of their wealth that brings greater values to others.
If one has to be content with what he has and what he is, then there won’t be any successful people, he will only become lethargic and lives in his comfort zone. Real happiness resides in the life purpose that doesn’t bring any evil to the world instead elevates the happiness of society.
The successful people are those who are not contented with what they have and what they are now and thereby put effort to reach what they really needed. If a success that doesn’t bring any value to the world, then the success has nothing to do with real happiness. (Read also 3 Amazing Scientific Research on Happiness)