can money buy happiness?

how emotions are affected by affluence


Frannie Lamberti, Publication Editor

Whether you have a lot of money, none at all, or somewhere in between, this question can be answered differently. 

From the perspective of someone who is not rich, money would be able to buy happiness, at least for a short time. From the perspective of someone who has it all, money might not be able to buy everlasting happiness. 

According to Time Magazine, earning less than $20,000 to making over $50,000 can double a person’s regular amount of happiness. 

H.L. Mencken once said that a person with $100 more than their neighbor is happier. Scholars have found that you have better well-being when you are more successful than others around you.  

But on the other hand, once money can provide basic needs, people tend to not be satisfied with what money can buy them. Once you get used to a large amount of wealth, you are now on a “hedonic treadmill”, which is when you have a relatively stable amount of happiness despite having major positive or negative things occurring in your life.

A 2015 study about emotion and decision making says that your idea of how something is valued has nothing to do with the emotional outcome it provides. That is called the appraisal-tendency framework (ATF). 

More money can also bring more stress; working long nights, putting in lots of time and effort, and spending time away from family and friends can be a burden on a person’s well-being. 

It doesn’t matter the amount of money you have, but the experiences you share with other people around you. Just because you are well-off doesn’t mean you have found happiness in things like love, passion, and adventure. Money can enhance your ability to find those things, but it ultimately cannot grant them. 

In my opinion, money can buy short-term happiness, but not life long happiness. It is always said that you take things for granted that you already have; remember when you wanted what you have now? It is better to have amazing experiences with the people you love than to have materialistic things. 

If you are looking for happiness it is better to invest in relationships with the people around you, spend time doing your favorite hobbies, and care about your health. It is better to be happy than to chase after the next best thing.