This post was inspired by Nikki from Debt Free By Thirty . Every week Nikki features a series of posts The Best Things in Life where she shares her favorite thing of the week.
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and the end of human existence.” – Aristotle
Thanksgiving is the time to reflect on life, time, relationship and family. I asked myself one very simple question that was asked by humans a gazillion times. Can money really buy happiness?
Sure, some of you might say, I can get a boat, an island, an extremely early retirement and be happy. Some of us live according to the belief that if we make more money, we will have a relatively good life. But somehow I am sure that happiness for most of us is not defined by the amount of money we have in the bank.
Money can bring you a feeling of safety, stability and deep sleep at night. Money can definitely be a big part of what we conditioned to think as happiness. However, be honest and answer this (not to me but to yourself):
does your bank account or your 401K really give you the deep satisfaction that your life is accomplished to the fullest?
It might take years and decades for some of us to realize that while we are living our lives in pursuit of money (safety, stability, a better future), we are not living a happy life now.
Things that make me happy are not defined by how much money I have in the bank. My happiness is definitely not pre-determined by my goals such as having a house, a promotion at work, an exotic safari somewhere in South Africa. I would love to achieve all of that, of course. It would bring me a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Sometime in the future. But I want to be happy now, even though I have not achieved my financial goals yet or did not experience that African safari.
For me, happiness is a moment in the present time. It is happening now. It is not something that will be achieved in the future.
I am happy now because:
- I know that everyone in my family is healthy. It gives me an absolute peace of mind because I know that no matter what life throws at us, we will get through it. Together.
- My pets are with me. They are my kids. They are my family. They bring unconditional love and devotion that is priceless. I can be very content just by watching them sleep.
- I love creating memories, spending time with my loved ones and experiencing life together. Right now and right here. We don’t need to be in Paris or Hong Kong to create unforgettable memories. I can be at the coffee shop, browsing through books and stumbling upon a friend I haven’t seen for a long time. I can be walking my pug in the park, and watch him chase Beaker in the tall grass in the early summer morning.
- I have just read a good book from my own home library. I turned the last page of this great book with the realization that I understand it differently now, that I am much older. I feel intellectually accomplished.
- I am writing a lot. Writing is a part of me, it defines who I am. I create something that was not in this world before.
33 thoughts on “The Best Things in Life Should Not Cost You a Thing”
It took me a very long time to get to where you are in this post – that most things that are worth having are free. And I will agree that money for its own sake is pretty pointless – it is about quality of life and life choices. You are lucky to be one of the ‘naturally’ happy people – most of us have to work at it.
Life comes before money both in the dictionary and in reality.
A lot of people focus on future goals that are mostly financial goals. I believe that we choose to delay being happy right here and right now for so many different reasons.
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Oh, a lot of things make me happy. My family. Warm sheets right out of the dryer. Chocolate chip ice cream. The sound of waves hitting the shore. The smell of the desert. Our dog laying his head in my lap. I could go on and on…
I think you’re right, that the best things in life shouldn’t cost you a thing. I do think though that having money helps, because you’re less stressed when you’re not just struggling to survive.
Money is definitely a stress trigger for me. But money is not detremental for my state of mind. 😉
Great reasons to be happy, including the writing part. It brings a certain sense of satisfaction to craft a well-organized sentence, paragraph, and article. No different than completing a small home DIY project. There, I did that.
Or growing your own garden! 🙂 I awlays admire your posts about your DIY projects and gardening.
Happiness is definitely a state of mind and you’ve listed some great reasons to be happy. For me, happiness is about my family. While money can’t buy happiness, it can make life less stressful if you have it and much more stressful when you don’t.
Family is definitely what determines my state of mind. 🙂
Like Dana said, happiness is definitely a state of mind. There’s a lot of really rich people who spend wildly, because they hope that spending money will buy them happiness, which isn’t true.
Yep, I knew quite a few people loaded with money and who in spite of that were depressed and unhappy. Life is not just about money.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Happiness is all around us and we should appreciate it. 🙂
So true, Joe! I did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you did too! 🙂
Wonderful post. I believe we all go through a process. Get good grades in school, get a good job, find a good partner, get a nice house, have some kids, retire comfortably. The list goes on and on. Sadly, the biggest lesson we all have to learn and find on our own. Happiness is really a state of mind!
I’m happy because I have my family, my health and the ability to earn wealth. That’s really all I want.
Money does bring happiness to a lot of people. The problem is that it’s all temporary. When rich are never satisfied because they feel they never have enough money. They always want more. It’s a neverending process.
Well, I think happiness as any other state of mind is a temporary state. But yes, if you rely on money to be happy, don’t expect it to last.
I think despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, I am overall very happy. Happiness should be based on moments, not money : )
I like how you said it: moments not money! We tend to forget it! 🙂
While bank balance gives me a feeling of joy and security, still I enjoy the free things life offers me. Very thought provoking post
Of course money can buy happiness. They can prevent you from being unhappy.
Routine kills the feelings and it is what tends to happen to people at work. My bank account does not give a satisfaction, but I am working on topping it up.
You are trying to put that in pursuit of money and stability people are not happy. This is not true, money comes to people when they are good at something.
Hence people are doing it correctly. Have a look at Tony Blair he has made over 20 million pound sterling since he left the post. He is very happy, I am sure of it.
By the way to have a home and library you need money to. So you level is that, for somebody else it is home in California / South Africa. It is just different inspiration.
My way to Financial independence has been keeping me happy so far.
Money can’t buy you love. Money can buy you a hooker. Working on toping your bank account up doesn’t make you happy. It makes you overworked and stressed. Some people who are good at something are now unemployed. If not for their family and friends, they would be alone in their troubled time. Amy Winehouse was good at what she was doing. Was she happy? Home can be anywhere as long as you with loved ones. Books can be as cheap as $1 at a library sale (shouldn’t break anyone’s bank account especially of those who are working on toping it up.) I hope you reach the financial independence. Happily. 😉
Great post. I definitely think along the same lines as you. To me, happiness is based on those in your life and the experiences you have not the amount of money you have. I just use money as a tool to have as many amazing experiences as possible. Aristotle was very wise.
People and relationships matter the most to me. Money is nice of course, but there is no substitute for family.
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I am sorry I missed this until now.
It’s kind of why I started the series. I am not going to wait until we have enough money before I work on being happy. And I do think being happy can and sometimes does take work. Being present and enjoying my life now is key to having a fulfilling life.
I think happiness is all about now. We should not be waiting for something to happen in the future and then be happy.
I love your series and looking forward for more!
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