Does Money Buy You Happiness?

According to Financial Samurai‘s thesis, if you say money doesn’t buy happiness then you’re either poor or super-rich, and since I don’t have a super-yacht I guess that leaves poor.

I guess Sam hasn’t heard of necessary and sufficient conditionality. In general not having enough money results in some form of misery. Micawber was right there.

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six pence, result misery.”

And having more money does buy you many of the things people say it doesn’t. It often buys health, since it enables you to eat right and avoid living in polluted places. And yet, as one gets older, money does lose some of its lustre. Part of that is simply that one’s net worth usually increases over time – for instance I own my house outright, so I don’t need to service a mortgage. I don’t need to push myself to earn the money to buy a house; I’ve done that.

And yet, as I consider retiring early, I am weighing this up, and for me greater happiness would be achieved in being able to stop doing certain things and get unwelcome influences out of my life – and these are nearly all to do with earning money. I want more of my time back – each day that passes is a day I won’t live again, and each of those spent in an office is in some ways a day wasted.

So on balance, for me, I’d have to disagree with Sam. Obviously for him this isn’t true, but I would say that money only buys me happiness up to a point, if I have to work for it. After that, the opportunities I have to pass up to get more money actually cost me happiness. Getting the balance right is what I want to nail these days.


2 thoughts on “Does Money Buy You Happiness?”

  1. Hi Sam, thx for a thought-provoking blog!

    > Gotta find that job you love to do!

    You got too much Protestant work-ethic in you, or mebbe I am just a lazy toad 😉

    There’s more to life than working, and due to vagaries in the British way of occupational retirement saving I got the long-term retirement sorted post 60.

    So in a couple of years I got enough saved to carry me comfortably for nearly ten years. For sure, I could probably earn the equivalent of a half-decent lottery win in those 10 years since income would be all excess on spending. But I can’t take it with me – it is time that I am short of, not money.

    I don’t need the Lamborghini, or the yacht. I’ll probably start the odd company or so to share the results and profit if I solve some of the telemetry solutions I want for my own projects, but hey, I’m not going to sweat it or take crap from pointy-haired bosses. Been there, done that.

    Money’s overrated – you need enough to have a good time. Time is what they ain’t making any more of these days…


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