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Monday, October 29, 2012

Motivational Monday: "Can Money Buy Happiness?"

''The best things in life are free, But you can give them to the birds and bees, I want money, That's what I want, That's what I want.'' In 1959, these words were written by Barrett Strong in a song called ''Money (That's What I Want).'' The song was later made famous throughout the United States and the UK when The Beatles covered it in 1963.

One year later, The Beatles again topped the charts with the hit song, ''Can’t Buy Me Love.'' When asked about the meaning of the lyrics, Paul McCartney said, ''The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well, but they won't buy me what I really want.'' However, when reflecting on the perks that money and fame had brought him, he was to later comment: ''It should have been 'Can Buy Me Love.' ''

Paul McCartney and The Beatles are not the only ones who have contradictory views around the age-old question, ''Can money buy happiness?'' Put another way, ''Does money, or lack thereof, impact how happy we are?'' Psychologists, philosophers and ordinary folks have debated this question for years.

What we are finding out is that happiness is the ultimate currency. Not only do happy people enjoy life more and have more fun, but they also practice positive lifestyle habits and have stronger immune systems. When faced with illness, happier and more optimistic individuals have been shown to be more proactive in their medical care, more compliant with treatment and medication, have quicker recoveries and show better health outcomes. So, if we want to be healthier and happier, it’s worth figuring out where money comes into play.

So how can you develop the right attitude toward money and keep it in a healthy place in relation to your happiness level? Here are some tips:

Cover Your Needs
If you are struggling to meet your basic needs, do all that you can to foster a more secure future. Get the help of professionals, whether it’s with career planning, financial planning or government assistance. There are many no-fee or low-fee agencies who can offer you guidance.

Save for the Future
Determine the amount of savings that would allow you to feel a sense of security toward handling emergencies and your future. Develop a savings plan that works for you, and be consistent.

Foster Connections
Focus on building stronger relationships with your loved ones. Research has shown the happiest individuals have the strongest commitment and connection to family and friends. Money doesn't guarantee happiness, but good relationships most certainly do!

Don't Make Comparisons
Savor the pleasures of your spending without comparing yourself to others. Comparison almost always leads to feelings of inadequacy, and often for no good reason. Bask in the joy of your new car without coveting your neighbor’s more expensive one. Appreciate your long weekend vacation instead of wishing for an around-the-world cruise.

Create Experiences and Accumulate Memories
Spend your energy on having experiences that will make memories instead of having stuff. Many of life's greatest pleasures cost very little money—and can even be free! Socializing, spending time in nature, embarking on work and/or hobbies that are meaningful, volunteering, and listening to music are some of the many activities that people report bring them the greatest joy.

Additionally, here are some examples of experiences that are generally worth spending money on due to the enhancements they can bring to your life:
  • Experiences that help us to grow and develop as individuals, such as education, lessons and entrepreneurial pursuits.
  • Small pleasures, such as a massage or a private Pilates lesson, rather than an extravagant purchase.
  • Gifts for others, rather than for ourselves.
  • Donations to charities that have a personal connection to us.
  • Purchases that have been worked and saved for.
Do I think that money can buy me happiness? No, but it can sure bring enjoyment to my world. I will continue to believe that my happiness is not dependent on money. Although important, if I had to make do with less, I could simplify my life, and I would still be happy. I am surrounded by family and friends I love and enjoy, and do work I find amazingly meaningful, purposeful and rewarding. I will continue to work hard and enjoy the fruits of my labor, and hopefully never, ever take all that I have for granted. I hope you will do the same.


Zoey said...

Great post Sondra! Love it!

The Jones Family said...

Excellent thoughts. My husband and I read Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover" and we have followed the steps and our now debt free. It feels great. Proper money management is vitally important to happiness. Being in debt is slavery, and who can be happy when they are enslaved? Thanks for sharing this article.

Valerie said...

I agree. Having lived through some hard, scary economic times, knowing you have enough money can make you happy and free your mind to work on other things.


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