Does money buy happiness?
November 16, 2022
The topic of money buying happiness is explored through this opinion piece. Our writers of Magnet staff have worked heavily on this topic to explore the nature and happiness that come along with money.
Money buys happiness
The cost of living is skyrocketing – household expenses such as gas, groceries, and clothing are all increasing, and the average American isn’t making any more. Not many people in the high ups seem to be aware of this financial crisis Americans are in except for First Republic who said, “The continued impact of the pandemic, including labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, has increased the cost of food, housing, fuel and more. In fact, over the last 12 months, consumer prices — a broad measure of inflation — rose to 9.1%, which is the biggest increase in four decades.”
The average consumer makes about $4667 after taxes, monthly, but the average person spends about $5,000 on necessities according to First Republic. In 2020, housing was 23% of monthly income, transportation costs 16%, insurance was 12%, and food was 8%. When push comes to shove, there isn’t anything left for the occasional splurge.
Money is important to contributing to personal happiness. Having more money means being able to splurge once in a while and at the same time provides a home in safer neighborhoods. More food on the table means better health and fuel efficient cars can mean more traveling and more leisure time. However, everything does have a limit, normally a higher income means more stressful jobs, longer hours, and less time with family.
A majority of people assume that “things” will provide them with more happiness than experiences. Experiences can be anything from concerts, to a cooking class, a nice vacation, going to a museum, bowling, etc. These experiences will not only make you happy in the moment, but it will also create memories that you’ll have for a lifetime, and these experiences will become great stories to share with others.
One student who believes that money can buy happiness is Kiley Knudson. She said, “People sometimes say that their family is all they need to be happy, but if you don’t have clothing, shelter, or food you would be suffering. All those things cost money therefore just having those necessities contribute to your happiness.”
Being financially stressed can also increase the chances of having poor health. Human Performance Resource says, “Financial stress can increase your risk of poor health and negatively impact your productivity and mood.” People who have more debt than assets have reported higher stress levels, depression, and higher levels of blood pressure. All of this can lead to other medical problems, which in turn can cause even more stress, since many people in America can not afford to go to the doctors.
In America, there is not free health care, this can cause stress to low income families. Becoming sick or injured when your poor is frightening, due to the fact that low income families wouldn’t be able to afford medical bills, especially if you are at the hospital more for a check up. Going in for a check up in America costs between $300 and $600 depending on your insurance, which many low income families don’t have.
Public transportation is another huge expense in America, owning a car comes with many exorbitant costs like gas, insurance, and maintenance. If someone isn’t able to afford a car, they must take public transportation. Working Knowledge talks about how recently, public transportation has become inaccessible and expensive. This greatly affects people of low incomes, often causing tardiness in school and work.
One of the stressors in people’s relationships is money. Money tends to lead to frequent arguments during relationships, especially in low income households. Figuring out how to spend one’s money, where to send the kids for daycare, safe neighborhoods to bring up a family in, food on the table, better insurance, medical bills costs, and more. These are all topics couples fight over. Having more money can provide security which can contribute to your happiness. The less stressed someone is over food, bills, insurance, etc. leads to overall happiness.
Emily Schmidt believes that money does buy happiness. She said, “I think money buys happiness because it helps take the aspect of money away. People who struggle with money problems are normally stressed and aren’t as happy as they could be when they have the money resources they need.” Not having to worry about finances frees people to spend time doing things that make them happy.
Retirement is another topic that can loom over the average person. To retire comfortably, someone would need around 2 million dollars. That may seem crazy, but if someone begins to save when they turn 18 or even 30, the money can add up quick, especially since most Americans put 10% of their yearly income into a retirement account every year.
However, low income households cannot afford to put money into a retirement account. This can bring on more stress, and if a family member gets sick or is just too old to take care of themselves, the family has no choice but to bring the family member into their home. This new addition to the household will bring on more expenses now, because now that family has to provide shelter, food, and that family has to take care of the family member and all medical problems which arise with them.
The Atlanic says that money is a way to bring people closer together. Not only by sharing your money with people who may need it or buying friends nice gifts. Money can do a lot of damage, but it is also helpful to lower stress and increase happiness in the average American family. Raising positive emotions by doing things that bring you joy like being able to afford college, going out to dinner with friends or going sightseeing can bring a lot of happiness into your life. Each of these things and more are all brought by financial security.
Money does not buy happiness
The great outdoors is a technical yet widely used term. Fast fashion is also becoming a more common term in the new generations. The quick buying of many products for a short amount of happiness can never compare to a nice stroll in the great Minnesota outdoors.
Understanding what may make someone truly happy and what may make them happy for a second used to have a very defined line and still should. The University of Nebraska Department of Physcology studied this idea. They said, “Doing makes us happier than having”, money should not be able to buy long lasting happiness. Treating yourself from time to time can be beneficial. But the brands listed above convince people to buy many things in the way that the happiness of an arriving item will only last for a little bit. Sooner or later that item will get lost, thrown away or worn out. Therefore, the person has to buy another item for ‘happiness’ and the cycle never ends.
Happiness can very much depend on your own preference of things in advance. Although some people may enjoy their own time more with the idea of shopping rather than spending time outside with loved ones. To a certain extent spending for yourself may be beneficial, but when is a good time to stop?
Many people in today’s society want a quick idea to give them a ‘boost’ of happiness easily. OHS English teacher Mr. Doug Wanous said, “If we try to find happiness in a quick way, that usually is fleeting, you know, the happiness that’s really true happiness is accumulated over time.” Mr. Wanous expanded on the fact there is more of a quick fix society coming to be. Understanding how little quick fixes can start to impact society is essential. Whether it’s “hey google” or if it’s on the cell phone, these things allow us to have comfort in fixes that may bring us joy for the few seconds society can use it but then it’s over.
Soon people are going to be wanting more and more of a ‘happy fix’ and then people can’t really appreciate what true happiness is without green paper. It is important to understand that these impulses can highly impact someone’s cognitive thought.
What someone considers happiness differs from person to person. The Greater Good Magazine said, ”The pursuit of Happiness is on an individual level.” Now understanding that each individual person may have their own idea of money, fame or success, yet also understanding these fixes should no longer begin to patch our already quite broken way of thinking.
There are so many other things that one can enjoy without stressing about money in today’s day and age. Enjoying the nature outside should come into play. Maybe understanding and harnessing Mother Earth will allow humans to make better decisions without money heavily involved. Allowing this topic to come into play may cut off fast fashion brands.
Many brands such as Fashion Nova, Zara and Wish are causing chaos in peoples’ mentality when deciding what happiness may be defined as. Having apps and game purchases right at the fingertips of young people really destroys the way society might view happiness. Using this system creates a “‘retail therapy’ that many young teens are now experiencing.
The UN Environment Programme has researched that adding a quick stop of fast fashion will “redesign fashion future.” This company is resigning actual fashion but also the more metaphorical ‘fashion of our actions.’
Adding a stop to fast fashion will only allow society to realize that the money they spend is not worth everything. Considering that now people would have more awareness of our outdoors we can help prevent fast fashion companies from spreading and continuing to ruin our happiness, gratification and the outdoors. You can help by donating to local and national charities such as the National Wildlife Federation, Frank Woodfill Refuge, and Outdoor Alliance for Kids to support the outdoors rather than make the outdoors seem like another ‘quick fix.’
Supporting and volunteering time to local and more global foundations will truly improve our overall well-being and happiness. Besides cutting out fast fashion completely and volunteering or donating our time not money, there are other ways society can work on impact. Another way to implement a slower stop to fast fashion could be to stop online returning and allow people to realize the impulses they may be experiencing. State of the Plant said, “Online shopping, available day and night, has made impulse buying and returning items easier.” Having the relaxation of a fallout plan if you need to return an item will greatly benefit your thinking before purchasing an item.
Although it is one’s own choice on how to spend their money, rather than investing in a cute top from Wish that will fall apart in three days, can’t we invest our time in something to better society? There is no cost but your time to put towards this. Using the nature and the outdoors given to us would be a much better cause to invest in.
Anyone can donate their time to charity. This week, also known as ‘Max Week’, is more focused towards donating our time and some money to charities. During this week, OHS is supporting a foundation for abused children. Though they may be donating money and time, to help any organization will make a lasting impact on our society.