Money can buy many things, but can it purchase happiness? To find out, GOBankingRates asked several popular personal finance writers and bloggers whether money can, indeed, make you happy.
While all agree that cash can’t actually purchase contentment, they say money can offer people the opportunity to do things that will bring joy to their lives. Money also helps eliminate some of the worries that make it hard to be blissful. Read on for 12 ways money can bring happiness.
1. Money Lets You Live the Life You Want
Robert Farrington’s blog The College Investor helps millennials get out of student-loan debt and build wealth. He has learned that money can help create happiness because it lets you live the lifestyle you want — whether that is taking vacations, going out to dinner with friends or even buying things that make life easier.
For example, Farrington wanted a lifestyle that revolved around his family. “Money has brought me happiness because it has allowed my wife to fulfill her dream of staying home to raise our son,” he said.
“Remember, work to live, don’t live to work,” he added.
2. Money Makes Frugality a Choice
Although she claims to be a “broke girl” living in New York City, Stefanie O’Connell of The Broke and Beautiful Life said she recently has started to make enough money that frugality has become a choice rather than a necessity. With more money, she now has more options.
“Being limited in what you can buy, or do, or give, or experience because of insufficient funds is undeniably frustrating. Money is a tool that can be leveraged to lift those limitations,” she said. “Having that kind of flexibility in my finances, and in my life in general, makes me happy and grateful every day.”
3. Money Can Buy Experiences
Lance Cothern, a certified public accountant, said he has been interested in money for as long as he can remember. He created the Money Manifesto blog to help others better manage their money.
Cothern said that having money enables his family to have adventures that continue to bring them joy long after they have returned from their travels. “I believe money brings us happiness because it allows us to experience the things we dream of doing,” he said. “Without money, many of us would never be able to experience that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe or Alaska that you’ve always dreamed about.”
4. Money Lets You Give Back to Others
Lazy Man, creator of Lazy Man and Money, has been able to turn his passion for personal finance into a money-making blog. Since he created Lazy Man and Money in 2006, he’s learned a few things about the connection between money and happiness.
“Studies show that having $75,000 is a magic number for those who say they are happy,” Lazy Man said. But he added that more money doesn’t necessarily buy more happiness.
However, having money does give you the ability to give back to others — and having a purpose through volunteerism and charity is also often cited as a key to happiness, he said.
“I’ve found all that to be instrumental to my happiness … though, I’m still working toward the $75,000 number,” he said.
5. Money Helps Eliminate Financial Stress
Nick Loper is the creator of Side Hustle Nation, a site that showcases his successes and failures with side businesses as well as lessons from other entrepreneurs. He has found that money can buy happiness in more than one way.
“The first is the obvious: material comforts, food, shelter, entertainment, travel, etc. But the second way is maybe even more important, and that’s the mental anguish it helps dissolve,” Loper said. “If you have a healthy savings cushion, you live with far less financial anxiety than someone living paycheck to paycheck, because you know you can weather a job loss, a trip to the ER, or unforeseen car repairs.”
6. Money Offers Stability
Alexis Schroeder chronicles her journey to a happy, healthy lifestyle on FITnancials. As someone who has provided for herself since the age of 16, Schroeder knows first-hand how money can bring happiness.
“Money brings me stability and secureness,” she said. “I’m able to take care of myself financially without relying on anyone else to keep me secure.”
7. Money Makes Life Easier
Philip Taylor created the PT Money blog in 2007 as a way to share his own experiences managing his money and learning more about personal finance. Now he’s the one teaching his loyal following how to take control of their finances.
“Money — or my mastery of it — certainly has made my life easier,” Taylor said. “I have a ton of options, freedoms and protections. But an easy life doesn’t equal happiness. I have to choose that daily.”
8. Money Buys Safeguards Against the Unexpected
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner knows a thing or two about making money. She was able to pay off nearly $40,000 in student-loan debt in just seven months by working side jobs in addition to a full-time job and creating the blog Making Sense of Cents. Now she’s entirely self-employed and pulling in more than $20,000 a month through her online endeavors.
Schroeder-Gardner said that money has brought her happiness because, by managing it well, she’s been able to safeguard herself against the stress of unexpected expenses. “I am saving more money than ever and have been able to build my retirement and emergency funds,” she said.
9. Money Lets You Do What You Love
Jon Dulin dug himself out of $10,000 in credit-card debt and now plans to retire by 50. So the creator of the Money Smart Guides blog has seen how money can give you more options in life, he said.
“For me, money has brought happiness in this way,” Dulin said. “Because my wife and I worked hard and saved a lot every month, I took advantage of starting my own business. Had we not saved as we did, I wouldn’t have that option.”
10. Money Allows You to Help Friends in Need
William Charles of Doctor of Credit has found that money makes him happy when he can use it to make others happy.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to help somebody you deeply care about when they are in relatively small financial trouble that is causing them great stress,” he said.
Charles once helped a friend pay off credit card debt — and the friend paid him back over time.
“It meant the world to him and it was a relatively small monetary gesture from me,” Charles said.
Read: 3 Things Money Can’t Buy
11. Money Helps You Enjoy All Stages of Life
Ben Edwards aims to help people have a better life through the money tips he offers on his Money Smart Life blog. He has learned that the amount of happiness money can offer may vary throughout life.
“For example, right now we’re raising our three kids,” Edwards said. “It makes us happy to be able to afford to pay for the extracurricular things that help them develop and learn.”
Because he doesn’t know what will make him happy in the next phase of life, he said it’s important to save to have the money to pay for what will bring him joy then.
12. Money Offers Freedom
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is an award-winning teacher of financial empowerment and founder of the Live Richer Challenge. Yet, she doesn’t believe that money brings happiness.
“I believe that money brings options and greater freedom to choose,” she said. “It’s through those choices that happiness is found. Money has enabled me to travel the world, give back via donating, and to start my own business by doing my passion. It’s those choices that have made me happy, not the money itself.”