Does money buy happiness?

by boum5470 on Décembre 18, 2017 - 2:10pm

Sustainable Happiness Portfolio: Activity 7                 Marie-Jeanne Boudreau

Does money buy happiness?

It is a question that has been asked for many years now, and yet, many people do not come up with the same answers on the subject. That is mainly due to the fact that people have different views on money and on how it can be beneficial in the long run.

In the society that we live in nowadays, money is one of the most valuable resources one can have. Without any money, people do not and cannot go far in life. Money is used to buy some of the most basic necessities, such as food, clothes, and even a home. Living without any money is very difficult and is called poverty. Living in poverty is definitely tough because it can sometimes mean going on with your life even if you are lacking basic necessities. Despite the fact that many difficulties can occur, it is not impossible to live without money. The main reason for that is that not everyone grants money importance, some people think it is not useful to reach happiness. To them, happiness and money cannot be linked, they are two separate things that need to be achieved in different ways. On the other hand, lots of people think money can buy happiness. They feel happy when they buy new clothes or when they are able to buy their favourite food at the supermarket. Most of them are happy when they simply have a home, a house to be living in, and that can only be afforded with money. Studies showed that money can have an impact on a person’s happiness and well-being, but only up to a certain point. For example, psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton, from Princeton University, found out through their survey that “self-reported levels of wellbeing [out of 1000 Americans] increased with salary up to $75,000 (roughly £50,000) a year. But after that, increasing amounts of money had no further effect on happiness.[1]


Does money buy happiness? I, for one, certainly think it cannot. I do think that buying material goods can lead to happiness, even though this feeling of pleasure and satisfaction usually does not last long. Buying new clothes you have been wanting for a very long time is going to make you happy on the moment, but that is only short-term happiness, which means you will get over the happiness your clothes brought you fairly quickly. I do believe that you can buy happiness with money, sometimes, although it seems that true happiness is directly linked to the concept of generosity, and many other factors for that matter. Researchers of Zurich University studied the impact of generosity on the happiness of others and the results were shocking. They did an experiment in which they gave 25 Swiss Francs to the 50 participants who they later separated in two groups. The first group, the experimental group, was asked to use the 25 Swiss Francs to buy something for another person or to use the money to take the person out for dinner. The other group, the control group, was asked to spend the 25 Swiss Francs for themselves. They monitored the participants’ reactions throughout the four weeks that the experiment lasted to see their final reaction. The researchers came to the conclusion that the “experimental group reported a greater increase in happiness than did those in the control group”[2]. Generosity is one of the many ways that allows a person to be happy and to make others happy.

To conclude, it is safe to say that money does buy happiness, sometimes, but in the short-term only. Some other factors can directly be linked to happiness such as generosity, for example. Family values and friendships can provide happiness as well. Consequently, saying that only money can buy happiness is false as many other things can also be the source of happiness. Ignoring the other factors that can also provide happiness would be an understatement.




[1] Hamburgh, R. (2017, February 22). Can money buy happiness? Retrieved from

[2] Park, S. Q., Kahnt, T., Dogan, A., Strang, S., Fehr, E., & T (Zurich University), P. N. (2017, July 11). A neural link between generosity and happiness. Retrieved from


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