Many of us think that if we made more money or had more disposable income, we would be happier. But as the old saying goes, money really can’t buy happiness. It can buy security—studies have shown that people who make enough to live comfortably without worrying are happier than those who don’t—but it won’t actually make you happy. In fact, happiness levels increase with income up to an average of $75,000 a year. After that, it stays fairly consistent.
There are a number of reasons money can’t buy you happiness. It turns out, things will only make you happy for so long. A new watch or expensive item of clothing may bring you momentary happiness, but it won’t bring you lasting joy. Things like family, community, connectedness, a sense of purpose and meaning, and self-actualization are what make people truly happy.
Plus, if you set your store in how much money you have, you will eventually want even more. There will always be someone with a higher salary or something that is just out of your financial reach. The income level that used to make you happy will no longer be enough for you. You may start working even more to get a raise or promotion, or change jobs to something with a higher salary. However, that may require you to spend more and more of your time working, eating into your personal life and leaving you with less time for friends, family, and fun. You may also end up taking a job you dislike just to get a bigger paycheck.
Since connectedness, community, and sense of purpose are important parts of overall happiness, it isn’t worth sacrificing your time or doing a job you don’t enjoy just for money. Eventually you will become burnt out and even less happy.
Having money can make you feel secure and even open a few doors, but it won’t truly make you happy in the end.