Friday, July 20, 2012

Frugal Fridays - Can Money Buy Happiness?

Since my "Frugal Friday" posts are about money and how to save it, I thought I'd write about money itself.  After all, it's a crucial part of our lives and we all seem to want more of it.  After all, money buys happiness right?  Success is often equated with how much money a person has.  With this in mind, many people think they need to have a bunch of "things" to paint that picture of success and be happy.  

You know that old song, "No one knows what goes on behind closed doors" ... I think this is so true when it comes to money and the appearance of success.  It seems that everyone is trying to keep up with their friends and neighbors, not realizing that those friends with the beautiful home, fancy cars, and the latest toys are swimming in debt and miserable.  Before a person knows it, they're just like their friends alright ... broke and stressed!

Ken and I came to the conclusion long ago that money does not buy happiness!  We would say that money can eliminate stress, since a lot of our stress the past few years was due to lack of money.  A little extra sure would have helped!  However, lack of stress alone does not provide happiness.  Happiness has to come from within.  I know you've heard it before, but it's true!  

Look at lottery winners and celebrities ... so many of them have blown through their money and have struggled with depression and addiction.  The money didn't buy happiness, but seemed to exacerbate the hole in their life.  

Finding a passion and living it can fill the emptiness that a person has.  Ken and I have always had a passion for the outdoors and travel.  We've spent many years enjoying our motorcycles and boating.  We're now ready to go a step further and travel by sailboat.

Socializing has also been proven to be a factor in happiness.  Having real relationships with friends and/or family provides a sense of purpose.  If you find yourself trying to compete with someone, or find that someone is always trying to compete with you ... analyze the relationship.  Healthy relationships can be a great asset in achieving happiness, while toxic relationships can destroy it.  Surrounding yourself with positive people with no agenda is crucial.  Being a positive person with no agenda is also crucial.  Be the kind of person that you'd like to hang out with!

While Ken and I have yet to travel to many islands yet, it seems to us that some of the happiest people are on the islands.  The folks are hard-working and they don't want for much.  They have a deep sense of community and culture, and they're never in a hurry.  They don't have a lot of money!

So while money is important and necessary, we're happy without a big bank account.  Of course we'd love to win the lottery and graciously accept donations (side bar), but our happiness doesn't depend on it.  If you're already happy, money can make life even better.  However, if you're not happy money won't make things better, and may actually make things worse. 

I hope all of you reading this have found happiness, but if you haven't do yourself a favor and spend some time on yourself.  Think about your life, find your passion, evaluate your relationships and make some goals ... then start making the changes!

Some more words of wisdom ...

"Everyone needs a certain amount of money.  Beyond that, we pursue money because we know how to obtain it.  We don't necessarily know how to obtain happiness".
Gregg Easterbrook - Author

 Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

*For those that missed the other posts of this series, check them out below:

2 comments: said...

Money doesn't buy happiness, but it does buy freedom sometimes. Like you, I wouldn't turn my nose up at winning the lotto (although I understand I have to play it in order to win..). I'm already a generally happy person, so maybe having a bit more money would make happy people even happier? I will tell you one true thing: If I won the lottery, I'd be leaving the dock pretty quick.

Ken n Cheryl said...

You're exactly right! I should have included in my post that money can make a happy person happier. Our lives would sure be a lot less stressful if we had extra cash! Like you, we'd have already left the dock .. LOL!

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