Happiness is for sale

You know what irritates the shit out of me? Okay, okay, you know one of the thousands of things that irritates the shit out of me? When douchebags tell people “money can’t buy happiness!”

Just to get it out of the way, money can’t buy things like friendship or a sense of accomplishment, there is certainly more to life than the pursuit of money, and only caring about money pretty much guarantees you are a terrible person. Now can we move the fuck on and admit that people who have enough money to live on are happier than people who don’t?

Admittedly, studies about income and happiness do disagree. Some of them say that after $75,000 per household more income doesn’t make you appreciably happier, and other say that more income always makes you happier. Gee, it seems like there’s some sort of relationship between income and happiness.

The exact relationship between money and happiness isn’t the point. If someone is making enough money to pay all their bills while having good quality of life (yes, we could save a lot on rent if we moved to a one-bedroom apartment in the boonies and commuted an hour each way to work, but I’m totally unwilling to take the hit to my quality of life), save for emergencies and for retirement, and go on nice vacations or have expensive hobbies, then I think it’s totally reasonable to tell those people that maybe instead of looking for more money they should do something meaningful with their lives.

I personally took a pay cut to leave a job that was making me desperately unhappy, so I’m by no means saying money is the only thing that matters. But keep in mind, it’s an enormous privilege to be able to do that. People who are less lucky than I am slog along in terrible, soul crushing jobs because they have to or they don’t eat.

But the shitstains who go around saying that money can’t buy happiness don’t say it only to the lucky ones. They run around spewing that shit all over the place, including in front of the people I see trying desperately to fund necessary medical care or to make rent so they don’t become homeless every fucking day. Sure, some of those are undoubtedly scams. Crowdfunding is so popular these days that there’s just no way that every plea for money is honest. But if even just 10% of the people who say they need money for an extremely good reason are telling the truth, that’s an enormous number of people who would instantly be happier if they had more money.

Admittedly, people who desperately need x-hundred dollars so they don’t get evicted are an extreme case. What about the working poor? What about everyone who is barely scraping by and lives in constant fear of a surprise car repair or medical bill or layoff financially ruining them? Can you honestly tell me those people wouldn’t be happier if they had enough money to pay their bills and put something aside for emergencies?

“Money can’t buy happiness” seems to be a meaningless platitude assholes like to throw around so they can tell themselves that being unhappy about living in crushing poverty is just a personal failing. If you think it’s reasonable to tell people that their failure to be happy in objectively shitty circumstances is their fault then not only are you sociopathically self absorbed, but you’ve also obviously never seriously needed anything you couldn’t pay for and have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.

Unless you’re talking to people who are working themselves to death for their next million while destroying their relationships with their families and friends, shut the fuck up about how money doesn’t buy happiness. Unless you’re already rich, it goddamn well does.

6 thoughts on “Happiness is for sale

  1. As the excellent and wise Fred Clark says, “Money is not sufficient for happiness. Money is necessary to avoid certain forms of unhappiness.”

    Or, to put it in my personal experience: a few years ago I got married, to someone who makes a solid middle-class living. This is something that had been a hilariously inaccessible pipe dream, at best, for me before this. Some things that happened after that: fewer debts, less stress about them; no longer stuck in a soul-grinding min-wage job; able to afford prescriptions for a couple of things that subtly but pretty majorly fuck up my life if untreated; better nutrition; moved from one room with horrible orange-yellow curtains to an actual house. Oh, and school tuition.

    We’ve gone on vacations, too, and we can afford the good whiskey sometimes. Which is fun, but not necessary. But that other stuff? Oh hey, guess what. I am a lot happier now. Because, and I know it’s a shock to many, being able to take better care of my body and have more choices is bloody wonderful. I can’t even describe.

    And if my beloved had been just as poor as me, we’d have loved each other just the same. Still–one of the things she’s contributed to my happiness is this very, very tangible gift of resources.

    Or–as they say, the only people who can say “it’s just money” are people who’ve never had to worry about money in the first place.

    • Or–as they say, the only people who can say “it’s just money” are people who’ve never had to worry about money in the first place.

      Exactly! And it’s not even hard to figure out that it’s not “just money,” all you have to do is freaking listen to people.

  2. money does help
    money feeds the soul
    money is necessary
    money fulfills our dreams
    and on and on
    however sometimes the craving and desire ruin our lives unless we know how to control it

  3. “The notion that money can’t buy you happiness is put about by rich people so that the poor won’t murder them in their beds.”

    Michael Caine

  4. The saying that money doesn’t buy happiness is so transparently idiotic I’d argue that this blog post is unnecessary, except it clearly IS necessary because the platitude DOES persists and so does harm. So thank you for doing your part!!

    The rich most certainly know better and, like religion, perpetuate this to keep the poor docile. That $75 k per year number particularly drives me crazy. First, that’s several years old, when will it be adjusted for inflation? And what about location? Are we talking Manhattan NYC or Manhattan Kansas? Also, what about household size? Is this an individual or family of 9? Is it $75k pre-tax? Does that include health insurance? Does it include allocating some portion for retirement? Honestly, if one is to receive $75k/annually, adjusted for inflation, with health benefits included, them $75k might very well be enough. Depending on your assumptions, a $75,000 annual income would require a portfolio of roughly $2,000,000. BUT if you are today earning $75k, good luck saving that much.

    So, yeah, fuck the idiots who perpetuate this idea.

    Now, if the saying was,”Money is no gaurantee of happiness,” I’m all in.

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