In an article titled “What Do You Need to Be Happy?” I reported that, even though most people believe that greater wealth would make their lives happier, studies indicate that once our basic needs are met, more money will not make us any happier.
In that column, I asked readers to weigh in on this subject. In your heart, do you believe that more money would make you happier? How much would it take to make you really happy, or have you discovered that contentment is not tied to money? I promised to compile any responses I received in a future column.
I hoped for a handful of responses, at least enough to create a follow-up column. I got that in spades!
At last count, 968 of you had responded. Your responses were all over the map! More than a few readers don’t buy the research, believing that, for them, more money would mean more happiness.
Others confirmed it to be true, citing example after example of how more money requires greater responsibility and even more stress. Still others shared heartwarming accounts of how health crises and family tragedies became catalysts to teach true contentment in the presence of extreme challenge.
Space does not permit me to give you more than just a tiny peek into the mailbag. Here are a few of your responses, selected randomly:
“Happiness and contentment are moments in time that are sandwiched between money issues. — Terry I.
“Happiness has nothing to do with money. Happiness comes from within your heart. God fills you with joy and happiness, not money.” — Alice P.
“If I were financially secure, I could pay my monthly expenses comfortably and have the money to do the things I enjoy in life. For me, money equals happiness.” — Meryl G.
“Every day I am thankful for the people in my life and am thankful that we are debt-free. I would rather be debt-free than be trying to live my life keeping up with the Joneses. Herein lies contentment: being thankful for what you do have and not striving to get what you don’t.” — Elaine S., Texas
“Happiness is a choice I make daily. I choose to be happy or sad. Things don’t make me happy; relationships do. Having someone to love and to be loved, something to look forward to, and something to do daily is helpful. Having faith that, no matter what happens in life, either God will shield me from it or give me the strength to bare it: That keeps me happy. Life is good. — Phyllis H.
“Yes, money can buy happiness if you know what you want and you save for it. I sacrificed and saved my entire working life to buy a house on the water. I get tremendous pleasure, comfort and satisfaction every day living in this beautiful place.” — Brenda L.
“Happiness is to know the Savior, Jesus Christ, and to live a life within his favor. Peace with God is absolutely the essential ingredient for a happy life.” — Jess L.
“When people say that they want greater wealth, they are saying that they want security. Greater wealth for those who cannot manage their assets only leads to greater obligations that cannot be satisfied.” — John B.
“My husband and I recently received more money than we have ever had. We were able to pay off all our debt, share with our four daughters and have some left over to invest in our future. We received the money because our son Pfc. David Kirkpatrick was killed in Fallujah, Iraq. Money came with a whole new meaning for us. The most important things in life are God, family and friends. All that being said, we would give everything we have to get our son back home with us.” — Rhonda K.
Mary Hunt writes this column for Creators Syndicate. She is the founder of www.EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of “Debt-Proof Living. Submit comments or tips or address questions on her website. She will answer questions of general interest via this column, but letters cannot be answered individually.
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