Money can buy happiness

Ysabella Gonzalez, Reporter

“Money can’t buy happiness,” it’s a saying we have all heard at some point in our lives. A saying to teach not only the value of money, but the importance of not using it to solve all of your problems. It is a stand-alone proverb meant to teach a general idea, and it does have good use, but it isn’t entirely correct. Money can buy happiness, at least to an extent. 

As society grows, so does the popularity of this saying and its meaning. In an article published by Vice, Matt Killingsworth conducted a study that looks into the saying by taking a sample of the population and checking on their well-being as well as their current income. Killingsworth found that money can buy happiness, but not with a set salary. He concluded that the message is a general idea that can evolve from a general sentiment to a more personalized definition, from financial security to “living comfortably.” 

This proverb is often taken as clear-cut, yet there are two sides. One side is that money can be the solution to everything and the source of your happiness, while the other is that happiness doesn’t come from money but from the people around you. However, money and happiness are more nuanced than this.

I’m not saying that anyone who disagrees with the saying is wrong, only that there is more to it. As a student who has struggled financially and seen my family struggle, I can say that I do believe there is some truth. Life would be a lot easier if I wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck, if my parents weren’t always at risk if any of us in the house got hurt or sick or if we didn’t have to worry when the car broke down or when prices inflated for bills and other necessities. I know money wouldn’t make all these problems go away, but it would take some of the stress off my parents and I if things were to go wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with having a moment to breathe. Whether it is spent going out or staying in hardly matters because it offers time to wind down, enjoy yourself and be happy knowing that you are secure and don’t need to worry about financial needs. You can focus more on what you want–whether it’s a day out, a longer trip, being able to help a friend or family member without trouble, being able to splurge on yourself a little, building a fund for whatever you may need or whatever else you desire. Your focus no longer has to be on paying off the next bill before it’s overdue, it can be about you too. 

“I feel that there’s not enough money in the world that can help you run away from your problems, that you need to find inner happiness within yourself. However, having money does help in the long run in the sense of making sure you have a stable life and can find that happiness within yourself,” senior Samantha Ecsedy said.

This sentiment was expressed in another article by Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. This article said money can buy happiness in the sense of reducing stress. Without having to worry about financial scarcity, bills, hospital scares or inflation, people are generally happier and less stressed out. Having more money isn’t a great evil, and it can be used to help people get through life’s problems a little easier. As long as it isn’t abused, money can buy happiness. This gray area is also pondered by others who don’t necessarily think of it as just two extremes.

“It’s very hard to pay your bills and live a happy life, but I don’t think you need to be the richest person in the world and have all the money in the world to be happy, but there is a certain amount of money to be content,” Ecsedy said. 

Life and everything that it can throw at you isn’t clear-cut by any means, and neither is this saying. Money can buy happiness, it just depends on how you perceive it and what it’s spent on.