Keys To Happiness Essay

Christian Macias
Mrs. Becker

One of the biggest questions that makes its way into many people’s lives is, “does money make you happy?”.In a short answer to the question, yes. In fact, it has been proven that the more money you make, the more likely it is for you to become happy. Studies have shown that a growth in income, even if it is not a large amount, results in an increase in life satisfaction. Although many people may argue that it is family, life experiences, or respect that makes you happy, money makes these things more accessible, which in part, allows you to be able to become a happier person all together.

Many people have a misunderstanding of the phrase, “money can buy you happiness”. Many believe that the phrase means that if you have money, you automatically become happy and carefree. Of course, happiness cannot be bought, but the things that you use your money to buy can lead you to become happy. Research suggests that overall happiness in life is more related to how much you are respected and admired by those around you. Many people are respected because of the car they drive, the clothes they wear, the house they live in, and many other materialistic items that someone can obtain. But most of the time it is money that affords these people to be able to buy these things that make them respected by their neighbors. Essentially, money itself isn't what makes an individual happy, it is the things that money allows them to do that makes them happy. Reports conducted by University of Michigan professors Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson,found that there is no evidence that proves that advances in income for the rich are met with diminishing increases in happiness. In fact, it is entirely the opposite. Studies have shown that people who make an annual income of $75,000 or more are recorded to have a higher capacity of happiness, while those who make under the annual income of $75,000 are recorded to be not as happy.

In fact, there are very few instances in which money leads to a decrease in happiness. These instances are not due to the fact that the person who is less happy makes a lot of money, these instances are due to a low income earning individual living amongst neighbors that bring in a higher income than themselves. A new study from the San Francisco Federal Reserve concludes that people who earn less money than their neighbors are more likely to commit suicide than their counterparts earning the same income in a less wealthy neighborhood. This is due to the low income earning individuals trying to keep up with their neighbors by buying materialistic items that make them seem as if they earn large amounts of money. The study also reveals that given two people that make the same income, the person who lives in a county where the average income is high, is 4.5% more likely to commit suicide that an individual who is living in a low income county.In Lewis Lapham’s “Money and Class in America” he states that, “Seeing is believing, and if an American success is to count for anything in the world it must be clothed in the raiment of property. As often as not it isn’t the money itself that means anything; it is the use of money as the currency of the soul”(Lapham 1). In this sentence, Lapham is trying to say that many Americans view someone’s wealth by the car they drive, the clothes they wear, or in Lapham’s case, “the raiment of property”. Therefore, unless you show off your wealth through different materials, you will not be seen as a wealthy person, or be credited for the wealth you have. This proves that this idea of “Keeping up with the Joneses” can take a harsh toll on your psychological well-being. Therefore, this proves that there is a correlation between money and happiness, since those who aren't making as high of an income are at a greater risk of suicide.

In conclusion, there is truth in the statement, “money can buy you happiness”. The more money you make, the more likely it is for you to become happy. This is due to the opportunities that money allows you to create. With money, you are able to buy things or have new experiences that you would not be able to achieve without having a substantial amount of money, which will result in the increase of your overall happiness. It is money that makes happiness easier to reach by giving you the chance to act upon ones wealth. Money can make you happy, but only if you use it to present yourself with things that make you happy.

“Money doesn’t make you happy,” time back my grandma insisted, while she was whipping carrots and tomatoes out of the kitchen cupboard, one fine morning. “Money doesn’t make you laugh when you are lonely, or make you full of contentment on a New Year. But wherever you are, you have to work for your living,” she added.

So, do you think that a lottery win would make you happy forever? No, a big payout won’t make that much of a difference. Winning the lottery isn’t a ticket to true happiness, however enticing it might be to imagine never working again and being able to afford anything you want.

It seems that as long as you cannot afford to avoid the basic miseries of life, having loads of spare cash doesn’t make you very much happier.

Our happiness depends on how we feel relative to our peers.

Lottery win may make you feel richer than your neighbours. You may move to a new mansion in a new locality, which may make you feel happy.  But, sooner, you will realize that all your new friends are living in bigger mansions.

Happiness isn’t a quality like height, weight or income that can be easily measured. It is a complex, nebulous state that is fed by transient simple pleasures, as well as the more sustained rewards of activities.

Actually, happiness is having satisfaction and meaning in your life. It’s the propensity to feel positive emotions, and holding a sense of purpose. Happiness is not having a lot of privilege or money. It’s not a constant pleasure. It’s a broader thing: Our ability to connect with others, to have meaningful relationships, to have a better community. People who say they’re happy have strong connections and communications with other people – that is a sort of recipe for happiness. Money increases happiness until about a certain level of earning, and after that our emotional well-being doesn’t increase with income.

Close circle of friends and family is most important for happiness. The material possessions like iPhones, computers, being wealthy and owning a sports car will not provide the same level of contentment.

So, to sum up, true happiness lies in rewarding relationships, and not in material wealth and money.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

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