Can money make you happier?
Actually, there’s not a simple answer. But if you strive to increase your wealth, you might want to take note.
Money can make life enjoyable and help you achieve your goals, but having more doesn’t guarantee fulfillment. As a money coach, I get to know an awful lot of stuff about people and their money. In Your Money Your Life, authors Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin use the concept of the “The Fulfillment Curve” to explain spending and happiness. It makes so much sense.
What do you think?
Not enough money can make you miserable. Absolutely! If someone says that money doesn’t matter, be assured that they have never wondered how they will buy food or pay their rent. If you can’t pay your bills, can’t afford medical care and live in fear that your car will break down, more money matters. So a little money brings a lot of happiness here.
After the basics are covered, it’s nice to have a full cupboard, a second pair of shoes and a down comforter. These purchases bring you increased fulfillment and happiness. The curve is still positive, but not as steep as the survival needs. It’s understandable when you land here that making more money is a desired goal.
Eventually, your comforts give way to luxuries. A nice house, new clothes for each season, a new bed for your down comforter, and a Hawaiian vacation. These are more than just comforts and they increase your satisfaction with life. These luxuries elevate you to the peak of the Fulfillment Curve.
It’s called Enough.
Enough is something I rarely hear spoken about amidst the fervor to spend more. Because we are bombarded with the idea that more money is better, people reach fulfillment but continue to strive for more.
How much is Enough is unique to you. Without seriously looking at your values and goals, then you can’t say what is enough.
It’s no surprise that our culture is consumption driven. We are blasted by media in all directions with what we want and need. Eventually we have bulging closets, expensive cars, elaborate vacations and lots of stuff. But, most likely, not more happiness.
My clients Casey and Jackie make $375,000 a year between them. They spent big because their friends did. When they came to me, they were overwhelmed by debt, arguing about money and feeling ashamed of landing in this predicament. They were far from happy.
They were shipwrecked in a money fog. Needs, desires, and goals were never addressed. They didn’t plan or track. They were completely out of control with their money.
They learned that happiness is not a simple byproduct of having more. In fact, happiness tends to decrease as consumption increases.
Explore what you really need and want in your life and you will find out how much is enough. Get off the treadmill of earning just to buy more, and more. When your spending is conscious and aligned with your true values, you will discover the balance of money and happiness.