Money can buy a lot of things, some say it can even buy happiness. Despite the negativity that is generally associated with comments like this I tend to agree. Money is a necessary part of life, it is how we trade services and resources in the world. I’m not sure who said it, but a there is a saying that encompasses much of this thinking:
“Life is like a shit sandwich, the more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat”
Definitely a cynical view on life and probably not really a mantra to live by, but rather memorable all the same. Everyone needs money in one form or another and having more can often buy power, but is power really happiness?
The happiness equation
I know that I said I agree that money buys happiness, but this is only true to a point. My personal view is that sufficient money buys less hassles. The happiness part is actually up to you, having fewer money hassles just helps reduce some of life’s stresses.
Let’s face it, money can cause tension. If you don’t have enough money, you feel unhappy and restricted, it can cause relationship problems. If you have too much money you can have similar feelings and problems, you start to worry about losing everything that you have gained and become enslaved in a similar way to having none at all.
OK, so I don’t personally suffer from having too much money, but comfortable was a state that my wife and I did achieve at one stage. As we are about to go back to one income at home it is likely that comfortable is going to take a back seat for a while, but I’m working towards getting there without my wife and I needing to work full time in the future.
I’m not a math nerd, so I can’t present you with a complete equation here (feel free to help out though), but my theory about money can be summed up with a pretty simple bell curve.
Different people have different needs, so the actual figures will vary accordingly. Your job is to work out what you need to be comfortable and happy.
This is your goal amount weekly, monthly, yearly or as a grand total. How you choose to reach this is also up to you, my personal plan is to find ways to do it that don’t involve working for someone else five days a week. This should free up time for me to do what I want with my family.
If the idea appeals to you, you might like to subscibe to see how it goes, I promise to share what I learn along the way.
How much money do you need?
While there are certainly limits to the amount of money that one needs to survive and some make do with far less than others, everyone requires some money to live. Past a certain point though you are just spending money on the things you want, which is fine as long as you know the difference.
Personally I’m pretty interested in the ‘wants’ as well as the needs. I want to be able to dine out when I feel like it, go on holidays, buy things for my family and friends and generally feel like I’m not heavily restricted by my finances. As a result, the amount I need in order to be happy may be higher than some people, but I’m guessing not as high as others.
I don’t have a magic number or mathematic formula, but knowing what you need is very simple to work out. Your income just has to be more than your expenses (not the same, that will get you into trouble when surprises crop up), plus you have to factor in the cost of fun as well.
Happiness actually has nothing to do with money
To be honest with you I’m already very happy. I have a beautiful wife and daughter, with another child on the way. I have my own home, investments and zero consumer debt. Things are looking pretty good. I’m still a long way from being financially free, but I don’t really mind if it takes me a while because I already feel wealthy.
Yes, it would be nice to be less restricted by my finances and especially good to have the choice to work on the things I want to, rather than the things I have to, but I’m getting there. To me wealth creation is so much more than just money which is why I think anyone, in any position can be wealthy if they chose to be.
What makes you happy and how big of a role does money really play?
Image by Bob.Fornal