Does Money Buy Happiness?

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Does having more money actually make you happy? This is a question that has been on my mind since I was teenager. I never really knew what is was like to have lots of money (filthy rich), but I felt that my parents were  financially solid and never knew want.

We always had new cars and our house was always in perfect shape- my dad built the house and also fixed everything as soon as it was needed. I went to good schools and enjoyed a wonderful childhood. I had all I needed, and to me, we were rich. As I got older, I realized that we were not rich, but my parents were very good at keeping on budget and prioritizing things in our lives.They took care of it all, so I had no worries.

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In contrast, my older siblings were children long before I came along. They were around when my mom and dad first started out (I came along almost 20 years later). Over the years, I heard how they had a hard time when they were young. Although they went to private schools, like I did, my father was just getting his footing in the workforce. Whereas when I came along, he was talking about retirement.

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I am sure that they did not think they had it bad at the time. I think that when they compared it to how I had it, they seemed to think their upbringing was not as extravagant. Also, my parents had to split their time between multiple kids at once, as opposed to just me. When I came along, they were essentially out of the house. Also, my father was basically retired when I was young, and we did so many things with each other until the day he died. The dad I knew was somehow different than the one they knew.

Money was never an issue in my mind, and I really do not know when it started to become such an issue. I do know that seeing my father retire early put a serious notion in my mind about living up to my father’s legacy. I was so proud of my dad, and I wanted to do, for my kids, what he did for me. Along the way, the dream has gotten bigger and so has the potential expense. I see the budget and know that there is only so much that can be earned and spent and invested. What do you do in that case? Do you say, ” No?” I know that I have been saying that recently. I do not want to do it, but what is the alternative? Go into debt? Stop contributing to the savings and retirement? Hard to say, but more money seems to be the answer. But, how much more?

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I do think that a certain amount of money can bring happiness in our society. When you have way more money each day or month or year than you have to or want to spend, the day to day worries in life would seem to disappear. Oh, I am sure other worries would push their way in, but they would be a reality either way. If money issues were not part of everyday life, I am more than certain that life, as we know it, would be much less complicated, and day to day life issues would probably smooth out as to be hardly noticeable.

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For example, the average person who’s car breaks down either has to do it themselves or have a mechanic fix it. The cost could be an issue either way. However, for those with lots of cash, the issue is just another phone call away from being fixed, and while it is being fixed, the rental car or taxi is a non issue. If the roof is leaking, the well off person calls a repairman, whereas the less well off person might have to have to empty the buckets for a while.

I am quite sure that the well off person would just take those things in stride and get on with their day. However, for those who do not have the money or time for repairs, life might feel like it is weighing extremely heavy on their shoulders.

I know in my case, if my current income was increased by a few thousand per year, my life would be so different. I would like to be in the position to fund my retirement and have that same amount of cash available to add to the living expenses right now. If that was possible, I would not even dream of adding more things to my life such as a bigger house or a new car. I would just live my life, while saving and investing the rest. Also, enjoying my time with my wife and kids would be even more pronounced.

I do not know how excited I would be at the thought of actually going out to work more in some form of labor to get that extra cash. Working at a job for more time than I currently do would not allow me to do the things that I want with the money. However, passive income from dividends and rental property is a possibility. The only thing is that in order to get more dividends, I have to put more money in the accounts. Well, that is not possible because I am already doing everything possible. Also, I do not have any desire to buy any more rental property. It just is not on my agenda at this time. It seems that I am in a catch 22. I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.

I know that I add up all kinds of numbers each and every day. Sometimes I wonder how much it would cost to just live in Disney 365 days per year. Could I make a deal and get an absolute bargain? Should I rent out my house and go travel to another country and live off the land? So many dreams, and yet, all of them require tons of money-at least from my perspective. All of these questions are difficult to answer. However, I do know that if I had passive income of $1500 per week and all my expenses covered, I would be the happiest dude walking. That was pretty much the number I had planned for when I was a teenager. However, things change and life adds to the pile. I made a few “wrong choices” along the way, and the number never really materialized as such.

I did not realize that property taxes would quadruple and insurance would do the same in the matter of a few years-For each and every house. My income has never increased at such a rate. Food has skyrockered, and although gas has fallen in the past few months, it was almost $4/gallon for quite some time. Expenses keep rising, and unless you do without, it is inevitable that income must move higher in order to pay for basic life expenses. I guess I could stop driving, or stop eating as much, or stop using my phone, but where is the fun in that?

I guess the best way is to continue the path that I am currently on. The dividends will, over time, be the main source of income. If I put the money in the Roth’s to good use, that potential income, when added to the other accounts, could eventually be enough to finance my retirement dreams. However, by that time, my rental income will be taxed quite extensively because, by then, the depreciation might be virtually 0. Then, the taxes will increase rapidly. Regardless, time will tell.

I may not know if money buys happiness quite yet, but I sure would not mind having a nice tidy sum coming in that was not to be used for bills or retirement to really test that theory.

How much is enough?

Do you think you would be happier with more income? How much more?

Keep cranking,

Robert the DividendDreamer

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About dividenddreamer

Doing what I can to make the best of today and the most of tomorrow.
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18 Responses to Does Money Buy Happiness?

  1. ChasingGains says:

    I would love more income, who wouldn’t! But if I had to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week for a whole year I’m not quite sure how much money (probably a lot!) would make it worthwhile.
    Hopefully I can test the theory if money buys happiness as well!

    • Well, I work in a very noisy environment, so I have really had my fill with my job over the years. I would might love to do some type of office work if I was working 84 hours a week at the same job, but I am in no way going to try to do it in my profession.

      Keep cranking,

      Robert the DividendDreamer

  2. mstcourtjester says:

    Happiness is just a thought or attitude. Money is a tool. Contentment is learned. Great topic, it is better to be happy than rich, but being rich and happy, now that is the ticket. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hey Robert
    Thank you for sharing your post.
    Having more money will never make you happy. Buying more things or just spending is not happiness. For myself, Being happy is a state of mind. Being grateful for what we have. Our health, our family and friends and living in a country full of opportunities. Just accepting who you are and loving yourself is the start. Life’s too short not to be happy. Your time spent with your dad was a happy time, not him buying you toys and gifts. Sharing time with each other just doing nothing is happy. Well, It’s such a complicated subject. I know that since I’ve found ways to generate passive income and not having physically go work for my money, I’ve became “more” happy because it’s another tool for myself to one day generate more passive income so I can spend time with my family and just chill out.
    Take care of yourself Robert. I hope you find your peace.
    Much love Tyler.

    • Thanks for the comments. It has been quite difficult to find peace while living in two places at once. My immediate goal is to take care of my mother for as long as I possibly can do it while giving my wife and kids the same level of attention that I gave them before my father died. My dreams and desires have been put on the back burner, but writing about them seems to keep them front and center. Other people have needs more important than my own and I know that I have been and am doing the right thing. Although I may not be working for money as much as I once did, I am putting time into taking care of my family, so there is some peace in that. Thanks for stopping by.

      Keep cranking,

      Robert the DividendDreamer

  4. Henry says:

    Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it certainly does improve the quality of your misery. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Vivianne says:

    Happiness is a state of mind. There is a TEDex talk about a happiness exercise. Everyday, you write down three things that make you happy. After a month, your brain is trained to think positive and scan for happy thought. That in turn release dopamine helping you to think better, more creative, and satisfaction to the current situation. Happiness is a state of mind that can be tricked.

    Money can’t buy happiness. Somebody wrote an article about you can trade health for money, but can the opposite work? ๐Ÿ™‚ money can give convenience, can buy good healthcare, but can’t buy happiness or health or wealthiness as people expectation on happiness, health and wealthiness very differently. You ask a guy who’s blind, he only want to see. You ask a nearsighted guy, he wants 20/20 vision. Ask 20/20 vision, he wants x-ray vision. You asked the guy with X-ray vision, he wants lazer eye, ehhehehe. It’s never enough.

    • I see your perspective perfectly, but I guess I did not ask the question correctly. I guess what the question is really asking is that if all things being equal, would you rather be poorer or richer? I would rather be rich. I worked all day for a pittance, and I am just wrapping up. At the moment, I look homeless. I do not like it a bit. I cannot wait to get cleaned up. I would hate to be in this condition day in and day out without the option to actually get clean. However, I do understand about not being able to buy health. I take care of my mother and she talks about all the money in the world is not anything if you do not have your health. However, I try to tell her that I would rather have everything I want and need than to need and want for everything, and I would be healthy or sick either way. Thanks for stopping by.

      Keep cranking,

      Robert the DividendDreamer

      • Vivianne says:

        I do like the convenience and choices that money can bring/give. But I probably would not be happy in Britney spear’s shoes. Having a spot light on me all the time, people in the bushes try to take pictures of you and your family. On top of that, I’ll have to constantly guarding my wealth. It would make me very heavy.

        I won’t change my healthy eating habit, I won’t inflate my lifestyle, so I just need enough to cover my expenses. The rest is just bonuses. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • That sounds like a nice balance. I would not mind following that same tragectory myself. Nice thoughts.

        Keep cranking,

        Robert the DividendDreamer

  6. DivGuy says:

    Money sure helps in our world’s happiness. We live in a capitalist country, we need money to pay for our living. We can say all types of beautiful sentences, but at the end of the month, we don’t pay the bills with rainbows! ๐Ÿ˜‰ As for happiness is a state of mind… I agree, to a certain point. Tell me, really, would you be that happy with no money, no house, no job, no clothes, no nothing. Just yourself and the streets? I doubt most people would!

    All that being said, I’ve changed my mind a lot lately. I used to think about ways to make more money, and more again. I was quite good at it too. Then, I realize I made my life more comfortable but not more meaningful. I’m now working on downsizing all assets, achieve financial freedom faster and just do what I like to do, that includes work, yes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I am with you in those thoughts. In our society, money sure does allow a perso b to have an easy way through. I guess there is a point where more is not important, but I think there is a number for most people who live normal lives where worrying about money is no longer an issue. I want to be in that group.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Keep cranking,

      Robert the DividendDreamer

    • Vivianne says:

      Okay! Let’s get back to my philosophy class. ahahah. I had a fun time in college. I remembered my professor raised this issue. I hope we have some fun with this discussion here, too.

      He used to take students to Cuba. He praised their system. Where the children would get milk and education is free. Noboby is really dying of famine. But they don’t have freedom of speech like us Americans. Many Cubans risk their lives to swim/boat over to America to seek for freedom.

      Let’s go back to America, we have clothes, shelters, etc (basic physical necessity for survival), and freedom of speech, and etc (basic human rights). And people still commit suicide on a regular basic.

      Now there is a story that religious people like to use:
      There is a millionaire that go to a back-country for vacation. He’ll go out to fish for leisure. He saw a man fishing. He asked the man: “why don’t you use a boat and a bigger net. You’ll get more fish. To get more money and profit.”

      The man then ask “What would I do after I get more profit?”

      Millionaire: “Well, then you’ll get a team of boat, and more net, then you’ll get more money, and become a millionaire like myself”.

      The man: “What do I do after I become a millionaire?”

      Millionaire: “Well, then you can go to the back-country, fishing for leisure.”

      ๐Ÿ˜›

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