Wealth – Does Wealth Affect Your Happiness?

“Can wealth give happiness? Look around and see, what gay distress! What splendid misery! Whatever fortunes lavishly can pour, the mind annihilates and calls for more.” – Andrew Young, Civil Rights Activist.

Think about the rich and famous, the media, our rock stars, and movie stars we watch on television. Time and time again, we watch the rich and famous go through distress of miserable divorces, bankruptcies, bickering among the families when someone dies as to the heir who gets the fortune, and on and on. It is so disheartening. Just recently, a very wealthy and famous female movie star divorced her wealthy and famous husband over the affair he had. Endlessly, we are reading this nonsense, or worse yet, it is forced in our faces when we turn on CNN or pick up a magazine at the airport. So, you tell me…do you think happiness has any association with wealth?

Wealth can make people more comfortable. With money in the bank, you can easily go shopping for gourmet groceries instead of standing in line at Kroger, buy nice bottles of wine, live in a mansion if you so desire, have live-in butlers, nannies for your children, and dog-walking services for your pets. Being a wealthy person, or acting like one to make yourself happy, you could go and receive the very best haircut every three weeks by Garren of NY for only $705.00 and add color to that for an additional $505.00. more. The major steal at Garren’s is the European Spa Pedicure for a mere $130.00. If you really want luxury for yourself and want to be pampered with a facial and massage treatment, you can go to an upscale day spa in NY and easily drop $1500.00 for happiness every week…or not? My beauty day of “girl-treatment” that is once every six weeks cost $225.00 and I think that is expensive. This does not make me happy and in fact, it makes me feel guilty that I am spending money on myself. I am not a wealthy person and am very frugal, so that is why I feel guilty–even though I know I deserve to be pampered.

The truth of the matter is that wealth does not buy happiness. It does, however, enable you to live more comfortably. The happiest people I have ever known are regular working-class people, just like you and me. Furthermore, some of the most wealthy people I have ever personally known are often despondent, fearful of losing their wealth, have numerous anxiety disorders, and are, as a general rule, not happy at all. In fact, these wealthy people I have known are unpleasant to be around. The exception to the rule are those who generously give to others and who are philanthropists.

A survey conducted by Dr. E. Diener in 2003, questioned Forbes 100 wealthiest people and discovered that the privileged group were not much happier than the regular working-class. Dissatisfaction was mentioned by some of the wealthiest people because they felt a need to “be outstanding to keep up with the neighbors.”

Consider a lottery-ticket winner. How often do we hear of relatives and unknown people who come crawling out of the woodwork to make claims of this newfound wealth? Before you know it, the money is gone, the once gleeful lottery winners are no longer happy and usually end up in debt, worse off than before they found their wealth with that lucky ticket.

The quote in the beginning of this article was so perfect for this title. In my own words, I will state this. The mind is overwhelmed by wealth and always wants for more. How can that bring happiness? It sounds like utter misery to me. Happiness is not composed of materialistic things that can be bought. It never was and it never will be.

So, what do you think, other than saying something like, “I’d like to have more money, then I will tell you.”  Your thoughts?

See previous blog titled:  “Ways to be Happy With Everything (The Happiness 5-part series blog posts).

©Copyright — Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD.  All rights reserved worldwide.  None of this material may be downloaded or reproduced without written permission from the author.

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  1. Dr. Gayle J. Hall says

    There was a time in my own personal life that I could go out and purchase any pair of shoes or designer handbag I wanted, as often as I wanted. The more I bought, the more I wanted to buy. My friends, at that time, were shocked at my spending habits. I was shocked also, because this was so NOT ME – not the “real” me.

    The truth of the matter is that I was buying more and more “things” because I was miserable in my life at that time. I was facing incredible challenges, living in a difficult situation on a daily basis, and hated my life. I searched for a way OUT. I had a plan, but my plan was going to take years. Finally, my plan came to fruition.

    Now, I am such a happy person – back to living a normal life and just being me, the same “giving and caring, loving and sharing” person I was when I was only 20 years old. I do not have money to blow, and live within my means.

    I am here to tell you that money and wealth do not buy happiness. I personally have experienced this. I will take this good life, just like this, over wealth and misery. But, alas, I must confess, I still love beautiful shoes and top designer handbags. I buy them now, only when I can afford to do so.

    Why or how do you think wealth could buy you happiness? Please leave comments and share with others. This is a blog…

    Shining my love your way, Dr. Gayle J. Hall.