C'mon, wouldn't money really make you happier?


Happiness is something that everyone is looking for in life, whether it be in material items or through experiences. In the world today we are being sold happiness through material items. People are being told to consume more and make purchases that they may not necessarily need to bring happiness into their lives. Spending more money and consuming more does not bring lasting happiness in one’s life, it is the things that money cannot buy that bring happiness.

There seems to be a huge trend in self- help books that try to help people live happier and more meaningful lives, or get what they desire out of their own lives. One trend that has emerged in recent times is called positive psychology. This is used by psychologists and in self- help books to positively reinforce individuals to do things that make them happier, and not necessarily with the use of money. Some common trends that exist are; experiences involving volunteering and giving back to others, meditation, and spending time with loved ones. All of these are shown to raise one’s level of happiness for a longer amount of time and can be done without the use of money.



Money – According to merrian-webster, money is something (coin or bills or anything that worth value) used as a way to pay for goods and services and to pay people for their work. I can also represent a person’s wealth.

Merriam-Webster. (2014). Encyclopedia. April 13, 2015, Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/money


Happiness – Andrew Blackman, the journal writer state that happiness had two components, and you need to have both parts working together to be truly happy. But only one of those components keeps improving the more you earn. The other tops out after a certain point. The two components are:

• Evaluative

According to economists Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson, The first measure of happiness is “evaluative.” Prof. Lyubomirsky defines it as “a sense that your life is good—you’re satisfied with your life, you’re progressing towards your life goals.” That’s the measure used by economists Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson, who have conducted extensive research comparing economic data and happiness surveys across the world. “We found very clear evidence that in just about every country around the world, rich people are happier than poor people,” says Prof. Wolfers. “And people in rich countries are happier than people in poor countries.”

• Affective

According to Professor Lynbomirsky, the second component of happiness—“affective”—looks at how often you experience positive emotions like joy, affection and tranquility, as opposed to negative ones, explains Prof. Lyubomirsky. “You could be satisfied with your life overall but you may not actually be happy at the time,” she says. “Of course, happy people experience negative emotions, just not as often. So you have to have both components.”

Blackman, A. (2014, November 10). Can Money Buy You Happiness?. April 13, 2015, Retreived from http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-money-buy-happiness-heres-what-science-has-to-say-1415569538


Meditation is a technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is different from the normal waking state.

Rama, Swami (2013, June 3). Yoga International, The Real Meaning of Meditation.
Retrieved from: <https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-real-meaning-of-meditation>

Money CANNOT buy happiness

Volunteering and Giving Back

Studies show that volunteering and giving back in some way make people feel more fulfilled and content on the inside. In the documentary video “How to be happy” Robert Biswas-Diener a positive psychologist conducts a workshop and tells the participants to do various activities to see how happy they are afterwards. One activity that the participants were told to do by Diener is to do something that is hedonistic and is enjoyable. Dave one of the participants went out to test drive a motorcycle, something that he said made him excited. The next day they were told by Diener to do something for society to give back, Dave the same participant went to a local park and picked up litter and cleaned up the park. When he was asked by Diener to compare both experiences Dave said that while test driving the motorcycle he felt good for a short while and by the next day that feeling was gone. Whereas when he went out and picked up litter from the park he felt happier and felt more “connected, purposeful, and humbled”.

Something as simple as picking up litter from a local park, which required no money at all to do, brought happiness to Dave, rather than riding a motorcycle something he thought would bring him happiness.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2007). “How To Be Happy”, Doc Zone. Retrieved from: <http://curio.ca.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/en/video/how-to-be-happy-1130/>


Meditation is a technique used for resting the mind and detoxing the mind of any waste thoughts. There are many health benefits of meditation both mentally and physically, and it is also proven to bring happiness to people who meditate regularly. In one such study Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard medical school conducted scientific tests to see the benefits of meditation on people who practice regularly. His studies found that meditation can be used to treat a number of physiological problems such as; high blood pressure, heart disease, migraine headaches, some auto immune diseases, and anxiety and depression.

Dr. Benson also found that every person has a “set point” in their brain for various emotions, his research found that even after winning the lottery or a big life changing event the brain goes back to its set point after about 6 months. This is useful because through meditation a person can change their set point. In this study the subjects meditated for eight weeks, one hour a day, for six days a week and they reported back as feeling much happier. With further testing it was shown that the subject’s set points had changed and their normal level of mental happiness had been raised.
In addition to being happier, the subjects had become better at picking up emotional cues from others which made them more empathetic, and had also found that their immune system response had improved.

In a study conducted by UCLA - researchers used MRI’S to scan the brains of people who had been meditating throughout their life. The study found that meditator's had thicker tissue in the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is responsible for control and attention, which are two traits that can help a person improve their life. This shows that simple meditation can improve one’s level of happiness and it does not cost any money to meditate and achieve this state of happiness.

Puff, Robert Phd. (2013, September 15). Meditation for Modern Living, “Meditation Will Make You Smarter and Happier”.
Retrieved from: <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meditation-modern-life/201309/meditation-will-make-you-smarter-and-happier>

Gratitude and Spending Time with Loved Ones

Whether it be family and friends or pets, spending time with loved ones has been proven to increase ones level of happiness. In the documentary video titled “How To Be Happy”, the last activity that Diener had told his participants to do was called a “gratitude visit”. Each participant visited a loved one and told them how much they mean to them, expressing their gratitude and appreciation. Jennifer one of the participants told her parents how much they mean to her and that she loved them, she said that doing this made her feel “like a child again” and made her feel humbled. Dave the second participant said that telling his long- time friend how much she meant to him and that he was thankful that she was there for him made him feel happy. James another participant said that he felt closer to his wife by expressing his love and feelings to her. And Anne the last participant told her friend how much she means to her, Anne then stated that she felt that this experience had improved her quality of life simply by expressing gratitude to her close friend. Each person was emotional throughout the process but felt much better afterwards and this feeling carried on with them making them feel good on the inside and happier.

Something as simple as expressing your gratitude for a loved one or someone close can cause the feeling of happiness, humbleness and improve your quality of life. People can get caught up in their busy lives that they forget to express their feelings or spend time with loved ones. This is one of the simplest ways to bring happiness and joy into your life and it does not cost any money and has the most lasting impact that we carry with us.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2007). “How To Be Happy”, Doc Zone. Retrieved from: <http://curio.ca.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/en/video/how-to-be-happy-1130/>

Oxymoron: Rich Happy

This is a true story, story of John Caudwell, the founder of Phones 4U, also known as one of the richest people on earth. Having tones of money may sound like a good thing, he or she will have a fabulous life, don’t have to suffer with all the bills and debts that normally, almost everyone has. But think about it this way, you are eager to buy something really badly, and you buying that material when you have lots of money, and vice versa is a completely different happiness that you will be getting. His life story illustrates a good example of how money, richness can bring you catastrophe rather than happiness.

• John Caudwell, the founder of Phones 4U has a £2 billion fortune

John Caudwell possesses a £2 billion fortune and all the grown-up toys that go with it: two vast mansions, a yacht, a helicopter and a fleet of luxury cars. Indeed, the man once known as the Mobile Phone King, and founder of Phones 4U, is the first to admit he enjoys his wealth.

• But it recently emerged that his son, Rufus, 19 suffers severe agoraphobia

Mr Caudwell's son Rufus suffers from anxiety and panic attacks due to severe agoraphobia. The affliction is so bad he is sometimes unable to leave his bedroom. Even before his father sold his company for millions, Rufus was already experiencing panic attacks. ‘Rufus started having them aged ten,’ John recall. ‘We took him to see various people but we could never find a reason for it. What happens then is that it becomes a self-fulfilling illness. Rufus started to panic about the panic attacks.’ His daughter, too, has suffered psychological problems, believing her father’s extraordinary wealth contributed to the bouts of depression that blighted her years growing up. On the face of it, Libby Caudwell, now 26, enjoyed a blissful childhood, admitting she was spoiled rotten — she had a £3,000-a-month allowance in the sixth form at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Leona Lewis sang at her 21st birthday party. But from the age of 17 she, too, suffered anxiety attacks. ‘I was neurotic about my studies,’ she said in a recent interview, ‘unable to sleep for fear of failing.
‘Dad became more high profile as his wealth grew and, as a coping mechanism, I developed a false confidence: I told myself that I was interesting and worthy because he was. I lived vicariously through Dad’s success. I began to feel depressed. And, increasingly, guilty. ‘What did I, the daughter of a billionaire, have to feel sorry for? The world really could have been my oyster — but its vastness simply paralysed me.’Things got so bad that she asked her father to ‘cut her off’ and she rebuilt her life in relative anonymity in Australia, where she helped organise upmarket boat trips, before recently returning to the UK to work as a PA.It is, perhaps, no coincidence that the children endured a period of some emotional uncertainty when growing up.

• He has also separated from his partner of 15 years Claire Johnson

In 2001, Caudwell met Claire, a former model and beauty queen, with whom he went on to have Jacobi. Before Jacobi was born, however, Caudwell embarked on a brief affair with Jane Burgess, a celebrated violinist.

• Mr Caudwell says that although it helps, 'money doesn't buy you happiness'

Nor, indeed can Caudwell’s many millions. ‘I would be the first to say that while a lack of money can cause misery, money doesn’t buy you happiness,’ he adds quietly. ‘When it comes to something like this, money doesn’t come into it. It can give you access to different people and help, but it doesn’t change the helplessness you feel when you see your own flesh and blood struggling. ‘The only really important thing, at the end of the day, is your health. If you haven’t got that, then all the money in the world isn’t going to bring you happiness.’

Knight, K.(2014). Billionaire who's proof that money CAN'T buy happiness: He's a mobile phone tycoon with money to burn - and a lifestyle to make your jaw drop. But what's that worth when your family's in turmoil?. April 14, 2015, Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2778696/Billionaire-s-proof-money-CAN-T-buy-happiness-He-s-mobile-phone-tycoon-money-burn-lifestyle-make-jaw-drop-But-s-worth-fmaily-s-turmoil.html

What is Happiness? Winning Lottery?

Many of us buy lottery ticket with a hope that if they win lottery, it will change their lives. Do you really think winning lottery could bring you happiness forever? Winning the lottery isn't a ticket to true happiness, however enticing it might be to imagine never working again and being able to afford anything you want. One study famously found that people who had big wins on the lottery ended up no happier than those who had bought tickets but didn't win. It seems that as long as you can afford to avoid the basic miseries of life, having loads of spare cash doesn't make you very much happier than having very little.
Happiness have a lot of problem in which people have to understand but, one of the most important factor that we must know is that happiness is not quantitative, it is more of our emotional, mental state of matter. How we see, feel, and all our senses determine whether this or that is happiness or not.

An important study by Christopher Hsee of the Chicago School of Business and colleagues showed how this could happen.

Hsee’s study was based around a simple choice: participants were offered the option of working at a 6-minute task for a gallon of vanilla ice cream reward, or a 7-minute task for a gallon of pistachio ice cream. Under normal conditions, less than 30% of people chose the 7-minute task, mainly because they liked pistachio ice cream more than vanilla. For happiness scholars, this isn't hard to interpret –those who preferred pistachio ice cream had enough motivation to choose the longer task. But the experiment had a vital extra comparison. Another group of participants were offered the same choice, but with an intervening points system: the choice was between working for 6 minutes to earn 60 points, or 7 minutes to earn 100 points. With 50-99 points, participants were told they could receive a gallon of vanilla ice cream. For 100 points they could receive a gallon of pistachio ice cream. Although the actions and the effects are the same, introducing the points system dramatically affected the choices people made. Now, the majority chose the longer task and earn the 100 points, which they could spend on the pistachio reward – even though the same proportion (about 70%) still said they preferred vanilla.

Based on this, and other experiments [5], Hsee concluded that participants are maximising their points at the expense of maximising their happiness. The points are just a medium – something that allows us to get the thing that will create enjoyment. But because the points are so easy to measure and compare – 100 is obviously much more than 60 – this overshadows our knowledge of what kind of ice cream we enjoy most.

This study illustrates a great example of how we feel happiness. For the amount and effort that is paying out, make a wise decision on what really brings you happiness.

Stafford, T. (2013, March 27). Why money can't buy you happiness. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130326-why-money-cant-buy-you-happiness

Money CAN buy happiness

"The Wealthier are Happier"
Money!! Who doesn't want money?

Here is a university research that shows money can buy happiness:

'We found there was a strong link between having money fall upon you and being happy,' said Professor Oswald.

'We calculated that to turn a really unhappy person into a very happy person using money alone would take about £1 million. In reality, most people get small sums of money. Even medium size amounts help.

'I think most of us really suspected that money makes people happier, despite what our grandmothers might say.

'We think it is that money buys autonomy and independence.

'All the psychological evidence shows that people who can control their own worlds and destinies are much happier.
In 2005, Robert Frank argued:

"When we plot average happiness versus income for clusters of people in a given country at a given time, we see that rich people are in fact much happier than poor people"

Wolfers, J. (2008, April 22). The Economics of Happiness, Part 4: Are Rich People Happier than Poor People? Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://freakonomics.com/2008/04/22/the-economics-of-happiness-part-4-are-rich-people-happier-than-poor-people/

BETH HALE, (). Money can buy you happiness, says study. Daily Mail. (), pp.1

Poppick, S. (2014, June 9). The Money-Happiness Connection. Time, 1-1.

Satisfaction obtained by spending money on others

The researchers persuasively suggest that the proclivity to derive joy from investing in others may well be just a fundamental component of human nature.Thus the typical ratio we all tend to fall into of spending on self versus others — ten to one — may need a shift. Giving generously to charities, friends, and coworkers — and even your country — may well be a productive means of increasing well-being and improving our lives.


What inspires people to act selflessly, help others, and make personal sacrifices? Each quarter, this column features one piece of scholarly research that provides insight on what motivates people to engage in what psychologists call "prosocial behavior" — things like making charitable contributions, buying gifts, volunteering one‘s time, and so forth. Investing in others can make you feel healthier and wealthier, even if it means making yourself a little poorer. There are chances that money directly may not make someone happy, but when it's someone's birthday and we give them gifts and surprises the happiness they get by that is priceless. Hence it proves that Money does make people happy.


Donation- the act of giving something to others and gaining happiness is one of the major factor that shows how money can buy happiness. This can be proved by studies that were done in USA by people:
Many of America's richest people give away huge sums to charities, scientific research and other worthy causes each year. The combined sum donated by the top 54 totaled just $3.3 billion, the smallest amount since the magazine started tracking donations in 2000. In 2006, donations from the top 50 totaled $50.7 billion.

Zeveloff, J. (2011, November 1). 25 Super Rich People Who Use Their Money To Help The World. Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.businessinsider.com/most-generous-biggest-philanthropists-occupy-wall-street-2011-10?op=1

Flynn, F. (2013, September 25). Research: Can Money Buy Happiness? Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/research-can-money-buy-happiness

Social Service

There are many great celebrities who are rich and donated in social services, this was only possible because they were wealthy. Here are some of the examples that shows how much people donated :

  • The $10 billion donation Microsoft founder Bill Gates gave to his foundation in January 2010 to distribute vaccines to children across the globe was the largest single charitable gift ever, according to the UK Daily Mail.
  • Natural disasters can strike at anytime, as the world recently witnessed with the typhoon in the Philippines. Justin Bieber has already said he would sign the paint cans he used to spray graffiti on a wall in Los Angeles and donate the proceeds to a yet-to-be named charity benefiting the victims.
  • Actress Sandra Bullock took it a step further when a massive earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. The star of “28 Days” and “The Blind Side” was so touched by the images of devastation that she immediately donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders.
  • Mark Zuckerberg made headlines in 2010 when he donated $100 million of his own money to the Newark, N.J., school system, despite having no personal connections to the area.

Brooks, M. (2013, November 21). Celebrities Get Charitable: Big Names Making a Big Difference. Retrieved April 12, 2015, from https://www.looktothestars.org/news/11131-celebrities-get-charitable-big-names-making-a-big-difference

Buy moments, not stuff

According to Dan Gilbert, Harvard University psychology professor and author of Stumbling on Happiness, the key is to spend your money on experiences rather than material things. Some people love to have happy moments with their loved ones. This is only possible if we have money. In a survey, Gilbert found that 57% of respondents reported greater happiness from an experiential purchase. Only 34% said the same about a material purchase. Doing things with friends or family, even if it’s not as exciting, makes you happy because it fosters a sense of togetherness and connection between you and other people. “The guy who had the extraordinary experience had a harder time fitting in,” Cooney tells.

White, M. (2014, October 29). 5 Ways Money Can Buy Happiness, Backed by Science. TIME.

Mental/Physical Health

Not having enough money for child's education, or to make your spouse happy can stress you out and affect your health mentally. Poor people sometimes do not have enough money to pay for the operations of themselves and their loved ones and lose them. One of the example of how being wealthy can help one maintain good health is shown in the study done by Corley:
"Being rich creates an overall sense of happiness, improves your marital relationships, eliminates stress associated with money problems — which improves your overall health — and enables parents to give their kids a superior education, which lays the foundation for success in life. Various studies identify money problems as the leading cause of divorce in our country. Researchers at Kansas State University surveyed 4,500 couples and found fights about money are the biggest contributors to divorce. When it comes to marriage, money does buy marital bliss."

Corley, T. (2015, January 13). My 5-Year Study Of Rich And Poor People Shows That Money Can Buy Happiness. Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.businessinsider.com/study-shows-money-can-buy-happiness-2015-1

Life is never disappointing

Richer people are more satisfied with their lives than poorer people, at least up to a certain point when their most important needs are met. But life satisfaction is different from happiness, which is less how we feel generally about how lives and more how we feel emotionally at any moment. Ben Schiller mentioned this in his study:
"The relationship between income and sadness is as strong as the relationship of income to life satisfaction. A richer person coming home to a leak in their roof, say, might treat the problem as an annoyance—something they need to call someone about. A poorer person who can't fix it immediately would know they'd have to deal with dripping for months. The greater difficulty in dealing with such misfortunes may make poor people feel a lack of control over the vicissitudes of life, with greater consequences for sadness than for happiness."

Schiller, B. (2015, February 2). Rich People Are Less Sad—But They Aren't Any Happier Than The Rest Of Us. Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.fastcoexist.com/3041397/richer-people-are-less-sad-but-they-arent-any-happier-than-the-rest-of-us


From the research we could finally conclude that money can buy happiness but only till some extend. Being rich is not the most important thing in life to survive; apparently we do need specific amount of money in order to survive. One cannot get educated without paying fees, need money to buy food, and you need money to buy a house or to pay rent. But money is not the only thing that makes you happy. One does not need money to love someone, or for friendship, and without friends and family you are not happy in life, as there is no one to love you or take care of you.Adults who self-identify as being in the upper or upper-middle class are generally happier, healthier and more satisfied with their jobs than are those in the middle or lower classes. And they are much less likely to have suffered economic hardships as a result of the recession. In addition, those in the upper class are more satisfied than those in the middle or lower classes with their family life, their housing situation and their education. Upper-class Americans even report experiencing less stress. Only 29% of those in the upper class say they frequently experience stress, compared with 37% of those in the middle class and 58% of lower-class adults. Therefore, no one is satisfied in life but being rich can get you what you want and not so rich people have their families with them to support.

Parker, K. (2012, August 27). Yes, the Rich Are Different. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/08/27/yes-the-rich-are-different/

These video shows how being rich is good but only till some extend, and can make you happy if you do certain things that are shown in the video:

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