To marry for wealth or love; to work for riches or for passion – the debate has gone on for centuries. Is it true that “Money doesn’t buy happiness?”

An Instagram post said that happiness is something that money can’t buy. As you get older, you will realize that a $300 watch and a $30 watch both tell the same time. A Michael Kors wallet and a Forever 21 wallet hold the same amount of money. A Bentley will also drive you as far as a Ford.

These statements are summed up with this philosophy: “True happiness is not found in materialistic things. It comes from the love and laughter found within two people.” Can this really be true?

I’m shocked that people would buy into a thinly veiled excuse to settle for less. Money doesn’t buy happiness? So poverty does?

So often I hear people not being able to afford the health care they need to treat a medical condition, or families settling for staycations because their dream vacation was too expensive. They justify to themselves that they can “make do” and they don’t need money to be happy.

What they don’t realize is that they are missing a crucial point about the “Money doesn’t buy happiness” debate. What you really need to do is strip away the emotions around this topic and get to the facts: the true purpose for having money.

Watch this video on why money doesn’t buy happiness.

The Problem With These Money Beliefs

People rely on social media for information, so it’s easy to buy into the lies that have been spreading around on the Internet. Ideas such as, “A million dollar home will contain the same loneliness as a $100,000 home.”

This is how broke people rationalize their failures. It’s how they justify settling for less when they could have had more.  It’s interesting, how people look at money and wealth.

They think if people are rich, they must be miserable. They can’t be happy. Wealth and anything good can’t exist together. That’s why people would rather be healthy than rich, or happy than rich. This type of thinking is like asking yourself which is more important, your right hand or your right foot?

Both are important. Your right hand and your right foot. Why can’t you be both wealthy and happy? Wealthy and healthy? Wealthy and loving?

Why do people feel like they must choose between wealth and something else?

We need to take a deeper look at our beliefs to see where they come from. It was because at a young age, you were programmed by your parents, the media, the government, and the school system to think a certain way about rich people. You were brainwashed at a young age to believe in these made up stories. They are not the truth.

I’ve met so many people who are successful financially and people who are struggling financially. When I was in debt and struggling financially, I was sleeping in a sleeping bag and couldn’t even buy my mom something decent as a gift. We had to go to Superstore and eat the expired fruit and vegetables. I wasn’t very happy.

The people you know who are struggling financially, who are stuck in a dead in job, are they happy? 

So why does the media want us to believe that rich people are not happy?

Here’s why. If rich people are wealthy and they are happy, where would that leave you? If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, wishing you had a different job, wishing you could provide a better life for your family, wishing you had more money?

The problem is, you can’t go to the bank and deposit your rationalization or your excuses.

When my father had his first stroke and I was so broke at the time I couldn’t even afford to purchase a plane ticket to fly back to Hong Kong to visit him in the hospital, I was miserable. I couldn’t call up the airline and say I didn’t have money but I had love. I couldn’t use love to buy a ticket to go see my dad.

If only we could use love as a currency! It would be much easier to buy the things we would love to afford, but that’s not the case. What we really need to do is stop questioning whether money does or doesn’t buy happiness.

We need to understand the real function for money.

What Started The “Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness” Debate

Money wasn’t always around. Before people used money as a medium of exchange, people had to barter to get the goods and services they needed. This system wasn’t always efficient.

For example, if you have a cow and you want bananas, you need to find someone who has bananas and wants a cow. But what if you find someone who wants meat or milk and can only trade you with bunnies?

Now you need to find someone who wants bunnies and offers you bananas. Do you see how cumbersome this bartering system could be?

The point is, when money became a currency and medium of exchange, it had a specific purpose. It existed to help you get the things that you want.  You can buy food, clothes, or electronics. But that’s not all it can do.

Money helps you buy things, and it helps you make problems go away.

This is where people confuse the function of money and how money makes you feel.

Most people would agree that life is more important than money. However, in Rich Dad Poor Dad, Kiyosaki’s rich dad believed that money supported life. Each person only has so many hours in a day, and each person can only work so many hours. Why work so hard for money? Why not learn to have money so people work hard for you?

Rich dad said, when you have money, you will have the time to do the things that are important to you, such as spending time with family, taking care of your health, traveling wherever you want, and having money to donate to charities and the community.

When you are busy living paycheque to paycheque, you can’t spend all the time you want with the people you love. You don’t have the money to spare to help others with their projects. But when you have money, you have the ability to do three things.

The Three Purposes For Money

Let’s drive home a crucial fact about the saying, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness.”

It’s not supposed to buy you happiness! It’s supposed to do three things only.

  1. Give you comfort. It makes things a bit easier and smoother.
  2. Extend the good that you do beyond your physical presence. You can donate to charities.
  3. Make problems that make you unhappy go away.

If you have money, you can afford the things that will make your life easier for you. It will make the things that cause you unhappiness to go away. You can buy a video game, a new gadget, or a pair of shoes to make that bad day vanish. And if you’re afraid that having more money will change you, remember that money is an amplifier.

What does that mean? It means if you’re a jerk, more money will make you into a bigger jerk. If you’re kind and caring, more money will make you more kind and more caring. It’s that simple.

Does Money Buy Happiness?

It’s true that a $20 watch and a $20,000 watch tell the same time. But we need to take a closer look at where these money beliefs are coming from. Are they coming from people who are happy and wealthy? Or are they coming from people who are barely able to pay their bills?

So don’t buy into those lies and wonder why people are struggling. Money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s not supposed to buy happiness. But neither does poverty.

What beliefs do you have about money? Comment below.