NEWSWEEK Article You Should Read: Why Money DOESN’T Buy Happiness

This has NOTHING to do with photography but surely we’ve all contemplated the question: does having money guarantee happiness?

Having been raised Buddhist, the moral & spiritual lessons taught me to look inside and create my own happiness – never turning to external forces or objects of desire, most of which only offer fleeting happiness.

But as I got older, started working, paying taxes, paying off student loans and going without the luxuries many around me enjoyed – I too began wondering if life would be sweeter with a bank full of ca$h. There’s even a saying in my family from an uncle that goes, “Money isn’t happiness but it’s the closest thing to it!”

Over the past 30 years, I’ve met folks from all over the poor-rich spectrum. I have to admit that I’ve had more fun and more genuine human interaction with those of lower economic status. And I’ve seen that rich folks have problems too, sometimes far worse.

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, then at least read these 3 paragraphs:

“Depressed debutantes, suicidal CEOs, miserable magnates and other unhappy rich folks aren’t the only ones giving the lie to this. “Psychologists have spent decades studying the relation between wealth and happiness,” writes Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert in his best-selling “Stumbling on Happiness,” “and they have generally concluded that wealth increases human happiness when it lifts people out of abject poverty and into the middle class but that it does little to increase happiness thereafter.”

That flies in the face of intuition, not to mention economic theory. According to standard economics, the most important commodity you can buy with additional wealth is choice. If you have $20 in your pocket, you can decide between steak and peanut butter for dinner, but if you have only $1 you’d better hope you already have a jar of jelly at home. Additional wealth also lets you satisfy additional needs and wants, and the more of those you satisfy the happier you are supposed to be.

The trouble is, choice is not all it’s cracked up to be. Studies show that people like selecting from among maybe half a dozen kinds of pasta at the grocery store but find 27 choices overwhelming, leaving them chronically on edge that they could have chosen a better one than they did. And wants, which are nice to be able to afford, have a bad habit of becoming needs (iPod, anyone?), of which an advertising- and media-saturated culture create endless numbers. Satisfying needs brings less emotional well-being than satisfying wants.”

Read the full Newsweek web exclusive by Sharon Begley.

+ There are no comments

Add yours