What defines happiness? I guess the answer is probably different for everyone. However, I would predict that many people think money would in fact lead to happiness.
I personally feel that money could buy happiness to. a. point. I also wholeheartedly believe that you can be happy no matter what your income level is. After all, happiness is a choice
You will experience some level of unhappiness no matter how much money you make if you;
♦ Have a good amount of debt
♦ Value stuff/things more than experiences
♦ Lack an appreciation of time/people
Of course – if you don’t make much money and don’t currently have much money then YES, an increase in money coming in will inevitably make you happier. But don’t get too excited because it won’t last forever. Your happiness does not keep going up and up and up as the money rolls in.
So how can you increase your happiness even though you might not be making the money you want…or need?
Eliminating Debt and Creating Some Security. In my opinion this is the easiest way you can immediately feel more happy. Even merely coming up with a plan and a budget and feeling motivated to stick to it can make you feel less stressed. Imagine how you could feel when you actually start seeing the benefits of sticking to your budget. When you see your debt dwindling and your emergency fund growing I promise you will feel happier. And yes! – this can be accomplished with any income level. It doesn’t matter if you are making $20k, $40k or $75k. This step is about making choices and taking control of your finances and understanding that it won’t happen over night That means you no longer live outside your means, pay down your debt and start saving little by little.
Value Experiences More Than Things. We get super excited when we get a new gadget, pair of shoes or a brand new car but how long does that excited feeling stay with us? Not very. Almost always the stuff breaks, gets lost and or we lose interest. Sometimes this crap even costs us more money than to begin with if we have to repair or replace something. Experiences however gives us a memory for a lifetime which, again, almost always is worth more than any ‘thing’ you can buy.
Although – this does NOT mean you go and charge a week long vacation and come home to debt. That is a sure way to decrease your happiness and increase your stress. So please do not misconstrue what I am saying. I think you get it though.
Have an appreciation for time and people. It really is as a matter of fact as saying ‘start appreciating what you have’ and don’t get all hung up on what you don’t have. I don’t mean to sound so harsh but time goes by so fast and people die. Screw whatever it is that you don’t have and make the most out of today with your loved ones and for yourself.
This might mean you don’t buy that dream house that causes you an hour + commute to work so that you aren’t missing out on playing with your kids or whatever else you could possibly miss out on. I haven’t conducted any studies but pretty much every person I’ve personally known who commutes hates it and tries to find work closer to home. Ultimately – don’t chase a big salary that will probably take up a lot of your time and could cost you relationships just to have more money.
I try to follow these guidelines and I feel pretty darn happy. We all have our moments of overspending, wanting new things, comparing our lifestyle to others, etc.. It’ll happen. Allow yourself some time to whine and feel bad. But be prepared for it and don’t let it consume you.
Happiness is a choice! No matter what happens you are in control of how you view your life.
Besides – I actually believe that HAPPINESS can bring you MONEY. Generally it seems that people with a brighter disposition on life have more. It seems that these people tend to do what they love and the money just comes. What do you think?