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Moneys link to Happiness

Moneys Link to Happiness Rebecca Burke Argosy University

Moneys link to Happiness

Abstracts Money and its link to happiness have always been debatable. The following will proceed to address the role of money, what to do with it, and what will bring the most satisfaction. Gilovich (2006) addresses the issue of buying experiences versus buying material possessions. Wilmar (2011) addresses the importance of perspective.

Moneys link to Happiness

Have you ever wondered what you might do if you entered a local convenience store, bought lottery tickets using the birthdates of your family members and less than 24 hours later, found out you were the winner of one million dollars? Would your family jump up and down in excitement? This is what happened to neighbors of mine earlier this year. Granted, experiences such as this do not happen to everyone, but considering the impact money has on happiness and overall well-being is still beneficial. If an individual takes the time to consider what makes them happy, keep a perspective on the role of money, and help others from time to time, they will find that money can be a tool to bringing about greater satisfaction. In short, money can be the means of finding stability, peace of mind, and happiness in life. Money is the vehicle used to change a dark present into a brighter future. Yet many people still hold onto the argument that money cannot buy happiness. On the surface, this statement is true. Money in itself is useless. It can, however, provide opportunities to buy experiences. Psychologist Tom Gilovich said, People who are happiest are those who are best at wringing experiences out of everything they spend money on (Gilovich, as referenced by Futrelle, 2006, Para. 19). When considering the price of everything in todays world, it is not difficult to see the majority of our personal hobbies, activities and social experiences all need money to support. Perhaps this is what inspired the unknown Irish author to write the proverb, A heavy purse makes a light heart (Gleason, 1994, p.167). Having the financial means to enjoy a variety of experiences can lighten our hearts and enrich our future. Whatever experiences and interests make us happy, it is important to keep proper perspective moneys role. The Oxford American Desk Dictionary reminds us that perspective

Moneys link to Happiness

means keeping a mental view of the relative importance of things (Oxford American Desk Dictionary, 2008, p. 616). Ones perspective on money, therefore, means keeping money in its proper place in our minds and not expecting too much out of wealth. There are people who hold the belief that money will increase happiness while lifting individuals out of poverty, but does nothing to increase it in the long term. Although this statement might be true, it can also be argued that those who feel unsatisfied with wealth may be individuals who have lost perspective on the role of money in their life. To explain it in a different way think of a favorite sundae (mine is Oreo and hot fudge). The sundae represents money. Most likely, the sundae tastes delicious. But as most children can relate, if a sundae is eaten without anything else, there is a good chance the sundae will cause a stomachache. A delicious sundae is not enough to satisfy the body by itself, just as money alone will not provide happiness all the time. In order for the sundae to be truly enjoyed, it must be eaten with something healthy. This something extra represents perspective. Having money (or a sundae) will only satisfy for a short while, unless a proper perspective on its role in life is present. Life coach and educator Joe Wilner said, Its not money that makes us happier, but our perception of money and what it allows us to do. For instance, it provides a greater sense of control, and can offer us a chance to create the life we truly desire (Wilner, 2011, Para. 7 & 8). Having a proper perspective and perception of money allows us to make informed choices when deciding how to spend it. As a result, this not only benefits individual lives, but those who are closest to us-such as family and friends. That is the power of proper perspective.

Moneys link to Happiness

Money has the power to positively influence an individuals happiness, but even greater satisfaction can occur from using it to do service or spend on charitable causes. In todays world it is not hard to find examples of greed, selfishness, and arrogance. Many claim such character traits come as a result of wealth. However true this may be, it can also be mentioned that one does not have to be rich to display these negative behaviors. Although negativity seems to be rampant in the media, acts of generosity performed by good people who possesses even a modest amount of money can be found. A study in 2008 found that happiness comes from using money to help lift others. Participants in the study were given a sum of money of either $5 or $20. The participants were divided up into two groups. Those in the first group were told to spend their money on themselves, while those in the second group were assigned to spend the cash on charity or someone else. Each group was told to go out and spend the money by 5 p.m. At the end of the day, the participants from both groups rated their level of happiness. The individuals who spent their money on someone else reported experiencing more happiness than those who used it on themselves (Dunn, E., Aknin, L. & Norton, M., 2008). As the writer of this essay, I personally wish to testify that I know these results are true. I recently used my last $12 to buy flowers for a friend who was having a rough time. Sacrificing my own desires in order to witness someone elses smile made my heart soar. Although money has its limitations, the fact remains that money is necessary to live and survive in the world each of us lives in. Without it, stress levels and health may suffer from the lack of financial stability. With money, peace of mind and happiness can be enjoyed as experiences occur, needs are met and kindness is practiced. Now may it be so.

Moneys link to Happiness

References Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319(5870), 1687-1687-1688. doi:10.1126/science.1150952 Futrelle, D. (2006, July 18). Can money buy happiness? Money, 35(8). Retrieved on August 8, 2011 from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/2006/08/01/8382225/index .htm Gleason, N. (1994). 1047 proverbs from around the world. (3rd ed.) New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group Perspective. (2008). The oxford American desk dictionary. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Wilner, J. (2011, May 23). How money relates to life satisfaction. Retrieved on August 8, 2011, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/positive-psychology/2011/05/how-does-money-relateto-life-satisfaction/