Does Money Buy Happiness?

This is an important question for us to consider: Does money buy happiness? Many people seem to think so. They work long hours for difficult jobs they don't seem to like to buy things they believe will make their family and themselves happier. In such a case, one might wonder if the trade-off of the tough, unlikeable job is worth the it for the objects that could potentially bring happiness. While many people seem to think they want money (and the stuff it can buy), they are often surprised to find that they actually desire freedom and peace of mind.

Interested in learning more about happiness? Pre-order my new book,The Post-College Guide to Happiness today!

Does money buy happiness?

When I hear people talk about money, it's usually in terms of earning enough to do whatever they want. But what if it's possible to have that freedom without working 60 hours a week. Take me for example. When I started writing freelance and selling books, I actually worked less than 40 hours a week and made more money. Without the travel time to work and with the ability to work wherever I pleased, I found that I was worrying much less about money, even though I had some of the same financial troubles. By giving myself more freedom to do what I wanted, I found that despite not having abundant income, I was happier.

So, does money buy happiness?

Would I be happier with more money? This question was put to the test when my book sales started to increase and I did earn more money. Did that directly make me happier? Yes and no. I was less worried about how the next bill would be paid, so it certainly had an indirect effect on increasing my peace of mind, but it didn't solve everything. I still had many issues of fear and success to deal with. It turned out that working on my internal causes of unhappiness worked much more effectively at bringing a smile to my face than money did. Having some money is great, but it's much better to be happy when you're at neutral or as Marci Shimoff calls it, being "happy for no reason."

So, the answer to "Does money buy happiness?" is no?

I think the answer may be different for different people. For me, money has been a solution to some problems and has had no effect on others. I think that having money does less for your happiness then building up your self-confidence, self-esteem and character. The strange thing I've found though, is that as I've worked on these three internal issues, my income has dramatically increased. Maybe we should really be asking the question, "Does happiness buy money?"

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.
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