Can Money Buy Happiness?

Sonja Lyubomirsky published an article titled “How To Buy Happiness: What Good Is Money If It Cant Buy Happiness?” on September 2, 2013. In the article there was a survey in 279 colleges where college freshmen were asked what was the most important goal in their life 77 percent of them answered “being very well off financially”. Sonja spoke to an Ivy League plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon had everything he could ask for with his wealth. With time he said that he didn’t feel motivated anymore, it was hard for him to get up from his bed. He also said he had everything he wanted but didn’t feel happy. Research shows that if someone has the basic needs to survive the amount of money one has doesn’t matter, what matters is the way the money is being spent. Wealthy people have much more opportunities because they are able to afford anything they want, but don’t seem to be happy. Wealthy people were asked how happy they were yesterday and they were didn’t report to feeling happy. Sonja found that people usually get used to positive changes. Cornell University and University of Colorado at Boulder shows that experiences makes people happy not material things. Material things don’t change over time and they get old. People will want to replace them with time to get something better. Experiences will never get old. People can always think make to the memories and feel happy about the time they enjoyed. While material things doesn’t give someone long lasting happiness experiences and memories do. People could increase their happiness by using their money for need satisfying pursuits. Need satisfying pursuits such as making someone grow as a person for example setting a goal and then achieving their goal. This will make them feel good and confident about themselves which will make them happy. Another way to boot up happiness is by treating others with your money. Studies have shown that when sharing with others has a great impact in you well-being and happiness. It is seen that in the United States people that are already wealthy seem to work long hours instead of cutting hours since they are already wealthy and going out to enjoy free time. The major aspect of happy money is in the way people spend it not how much the person has of it.

This article is very similar to the article “How to buy happiness” by Elizabeth Dunn and Micheal Norton. Both articles said that people get more happiness from experiences than from material items. I agree because just like Sonja said material items get old and people will always want to buy something new, but memories last forever. Another point that both articles had in common was that giving to other increases ones happiness. Which is true because after you give you will feel like you did something that will make the other person feel happy, making yourself feel good and happy of what you have done. I found interesting that Sonja mentioned that wealthy people work long hours. It is true because they are money hunger and will not be satisfied with the amount they have.Thinking that the more money they have the more happy they will be which is false.

How much is happiness?

In this day and age money is displayed and worshiped immensely. Many believe that with money you have everything. When in reality, what you make of your wealth is what you make of yourself.

In the article, “How to buy happiness” by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, money, generosity and experiences are juggled to see which can have the ultimate outcome of happiness. They question what would one do if they were to wake up with one million dollars to their name. Due to research they share that when people have new found wealth the first thing they think about is themselves. Of course all sorts of material things such as clothes, shoes, bags, gadgets etc. come into people’s minds that they may not have been able to afford before. After thinking about all the nice luxurious things you can now obtain it’s hard to think that happiness doesn’t have to be expensive if it even costs anything at all. In the article they state, “studies by a generation of behavioral scientists show that material goods often fail to deliver lasting happiness.” In reality a lot of material things that are believed to bring happiness, don’t. One of the examples in the article is a family who moved because they didn’t like their old home. Years later when asked about their current state,they reported that they were living comfortably but their overall happiness hadn’t changed. Which further proves that happiness cannot be based on objects. Instead why not use the money in a way that someone else besides yourself can benefit? Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton believe that both sharing with others and experiences create happiness. An experiment is tried out on a campus when the question of, what would happen when you combine experiences and generosity. The students were given Starbucks gift cards, some were told to go buy something for themselves, another group was told to buy something for themselves and someone else and the last group was told to buy something for themselves and someone else but also had to hang out with the person at Starbucks. The people that were happiest were the people who bought something for someone else and shared the moment with them by just hanging out in Starbucks with them. Throughout this article it is shown that you shouldn’t wait around for an extra dollar to start living your life and enjoying yourself. Instead of missing out on events to be able to purchase a materialistic item later, live for the moment because it wouldn’t compare to the great memories you could be missing out on currently.

I believe happiness can’t be bought and agree with the points made in the article. A person can save to finally purchase a Chanel three thousand dollar purse and feel excited upon buying it but shortly after it’s just that – a purse. Compared to using that money to going on a vacation with family or close friends that would make life long memories. Material things are sometimes given too much importance because money brings out the selfish side of individuals.