Money can contribute to happiness up to a certain point, but it is not a guarantee of happiness. Studies have shown that having enough money to meet one’s basic needs and a little bit more can increase happiness.
Once people reach a certain income level where their basic needs are met and they can afford some luxuries, further increases in income do not have a significant impact on their happiness.
Moreover, there are many factors that contribute to happiness beyond money, such as good relationships, a sense of purpose, meaningful work, and good health. People who prioritize these factors tend to be happier overall, regardless of their income level.
Examples of how money is not the sole source of happiness:
- Relationships: Having strong and positive relationships with family, friends, and loved ones is a crucial factor in overall happiness. Money cannot buy genuine connections and meaningful relationships.
- Health: Good physical and mental health is essential for happiness, and money can only do so much in improving health. A wealthy person can still suffer from illnesses, injuries, and mental health problems that money cannot cure.
- Purpose and Meaning: People who have a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives tend to be happier. This comes from doing work that they find meaningful and fulfilling, contributing to society in some way, or pursuing passions and hobbies.
- Personal Growth: Happiness can come from personal growth and development, such as learning new skills, challenging oneself, and experiencing new things. Money may provide some opportunities for personal growth, but it is not a guarantee.
- Positive Attitude and Perspective: Lastly, happiness is also influenced by one’s attitude and perspective towards life. Money cannot buy a positive outlook, gratitude, or mindfulness, which are essential components of happiness.
Several studies that have shown that money is not the sole determinant of happiness. Here are a few examples:
- The Easterlin Paradox: A study by economist Richard Easterlin found that, while income and happiness are positively correlated within a country, once a certain income threshold is reached, further increases in income do not lead to a corresponding increase in happiness.
- The World Happiness Report: The World Happiness Report, produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks countries based on happiness. The report considers factors such as income, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. Countries with higher income levels do not always rank highest in happiness.
- A study by psychologists Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich found that people who spend money on experiences, such as travel, concerts, or classes, are generally happier than people who spend money on material possessions.
- A study by psychologist Tim Kasser found that people who prioritize materialistic goals, such as wealth, status, and image, tend to be less happy than people who prioritize intrinsic goals, such as personal growth, relationships, and community involvement.
The Bible has various teachings about riches and wealth,
For instance: Wealth is not inherently bad – The Bible acknowledges that wealth is not inherently bad, but it can become a temptation and a stumbling block for those who pursue it at the expense of their relationship with God and others. For example, 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
The Bible teaches that our ultimate priority should be seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, rather than pursuing wealth for its own sake. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”