Monday, April 21, 2008

Can Money Bring Happiness?

Taken from a Free Money Finance post: Can Money Buy Happiness?
The following is an excerpt from the book Does Your Bag Have Holes.

Some say that money is not important at all. Money is not most important in our lives, but it is important. Money enables the fulfillment of needs, the needs of others, and to fulfill life’s missions. We all have the following six needs of life and money plays a key role in fulfilling each of these needs.

1. Survival -- Food, water, clothes, and shelter are necessary to stay alive. Each of these needs cost money.

2. Security -- Our need for security can be fulfilled with money. A person who is without debt and has money set a side for emergencies will feel much more security than the person who has debt, can barely pay the bills, and has no extra funds for possible expenditures that might arise, such as car repairs or medical expenses.

3. Family and Friends -- Money can assist us in fulfilling our need for family and friends by enabling us to spend more time with them instead of having to work all the time. Money certainly matters when your children have sporting events or music recitals you have to miss because you can’t take off work due to financial obligations.

4. Personal Growth -- My son began preschool at the age of 4 and his learning and growth has been amazing to watch. It requires money each month for me to pay for his tuition. As I have taken on the challenge of writing this book, I have attended seminars and purchased books about writing and publishing to help me learn and grow. If I did not have money, these options would not have been available.

5. Charity and Service -- “Most of us would like to make a positive impact on the lives of others and on our world. If we do not feel that this is in some way happening, we tend to experience a sense of emptiness, low self-worth, futility, and sometimes even depression.” (Herb Miller, Money Is Everything, (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 1994) p. 19) We each have been given special gifts and talents from God, which only we possess. There are specific ways in which each of us are to contribute to society. To help people discover their mission I have them answer this question, “If you had unlimited time and money, what would you do?” Before you read on, answer this question for yourself.

I believe everyone is born with a God-given mission they are to perform. Many people do not fulfill their mission because they never have the time or money to do so. These people are too busy making a living to make a difference. They work their entire lives just to meet their survival needs and then die without fulfilling their missions. Talents are not developed and utilized to improve the world because they were too busy focusing on surviving. God did not send us to earth to be born, pay the bills, and die. God sent us here for a purpose. Don’t die with your mission still in you. Leave a legacy.

6. Recreation -- Life is best enjoyed when we take time for recreation. Thomas Jefferson taught, “Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as . . . learning.” John Wanamaker wrote, “People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.” Recreation is a source of renewal and rejuvenation that will increase our efficiency and productivity on other tasks. One of my favorite recreational activities is golf—golf clubs and green fees come with an expense. Family vacations are a great form of recreation, which many are unable to enjoy because they don’t have the money.
So can money bring you happiness?
It's not that money is buying you happiness. Happiness is an emotion, and emotions cannot be bought. Things that can influence or change your emotions can be bought through money though. Without some the mentioned above; Survival, Security, Family and Friends, Personal Growth, Charity and Service, Recreation, you may be unhappy. An extreme example could be if you had no money and were unable to buy goods that fulfilled these needs. Everyone is different, but having money may give you less to worry about, such as being able to provide food and shelter for your family.

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