March 23, 2021 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: money buys answers, not happiness

Truth Bomb Tuesday: You’re not silly to make money a focus

“Money can’t buy you happiness.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d have enough to buy a semi-trailer chock full of happiness.

There is some truth in the saying obviously. Money can’t directly buy you happiness. It’s not on ebay, I’ve looked.

You have to go that extra step and discover and invest in the things that make you happy. You’ve got to take responsibility. It’s a journey.

But it’s a journey that is just a lot, lot easier to take with a pocket full of cash.

And that’s not just the opinion of some random woman on the internet. This is science folks. Science!

Take a look at this cheeky infographic. It overlays three things: The things people think will make them happy; the things that actually make people happy, according to the burgeoning field of happiness studies within the psychology discipline; and the things the UN tracks to measure national happiness.

And what sits in the middle of all three? Money. Having lots of money.

There’s another interesting chart that charts happiness (a tricky thing to measure, but economists are having a decent crack these days) and poverty rates across US states. The results are pretty stark. 

The more poverty a state experiences, the lower its reported levels of happiness.

And so sure, money can’t buy you happiness, but money and happiness are highly correlated.

And what’s the link?


Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you answers to most of life’s problems.

Got a health problem? Doctors, hospitals, colonic irrigation retreats in Bali – these things cost money but they probably are going to help.

Got a problem in the marriage? It probably isn’t something that a year of top-tier couples therapy and a week in the French Rivera isn’t going to fix.

Feeling like your life lacks meaning and purpose? Take a year off to travel around India, come home and establish a well-funded charity, and you’re probably most of the way there.

I’m being a bit facetious, but the data backs up what I’m saying. Wealthier people have better health outcomes and life expectancy. Arguments over money are the leading cause of divorce. Once you’re free from the 9-5, your sense of meaning and purpose drastically improves.

So yes, money’s not the point. We get that. Don’t be accumulating money for money’s sake.

But financial security goes a long, long way towards creating a happy life.

And money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy answers.

And isn’t that what most of us are looking for?