Happiness is not just about money. I am unhappy without money.

15 min

“I am not worthy of love if I don’t have enough money.”

“My financial limitations make me less attractive to partners.”

“Я не можу забезпечити свою родину достатньою кількістю грошей, тому я не заслуговую на щастя.”

“My financial problems hinder me from planning a future with my partner.”

“I constantly feel insecurity and stress due to my financial limitations.”
“I cannot attain self-sufficiency and financial independence.”

“My financial constraints make me less attractive to potential partners.”

“My financial problems affect my self-esteem.”

“I experience insecurity and stress due to my financial situation, and it affects my relationships.”

Which of these thoughts comes to your mind?

I am unhappy without money. Money seems to set the tone of life: they evaluate a person and their abilities, as if they stand above the individual and determine their fate.
A low income level can lead to an increased risk of family breakdown, especially when one of the partners feels unable to provide for their family. It is the feeling of being unable to provide, not necessarily the actual situation. This conclusion was made by researchers in the United States in 2018. Does your happiness depend on the number of zeros in your bank account? Let’s delve into this question once and for all.

What role does money play in modern society?

Money is worthless without society. And the development of society continues to gain momentum. In the past, manual labor was valued more than intellectual work. In the past, people used to exchange goods, products, and services directly, but now, it is all done through the use of money, which acts as an intermediary. The numbers on my account currently hold incredible power and influence over modern society. They can indeed change lives and provide us with countless opportunities to be healthy, well-fed, safe, and to grow and develop.

Researchers from the Department of Philosophy and Sociology of Finance at Chernivtsi National University reveal that money plays a significant social role in our society. They not only enable us to buy things, but they also serve as a measure of value and a standard for conducting various transactions. It’s like a magic wand that opens many doors for us, doors that we may not have even noticed before.

Wars can be initiated due to money. As we can observe during times of war, money plays a crucial role in addressing social, economic, political, and military challenges. Their role in the modern world is constantly growing. Money influences the quality of people’s lives, their ability to access education, medical assistance, and other services, as well as the development of the economy and the resolution of international conflicts.

Money has a consistent positive trend in societal development. It is unlikely that we will be able to eliminate this trend, as it is currently convenient for large systems.

Happiness is not in money… or is it?

If you give a billion to a person, will they be happy?
Let’s give it to someone, no… to you specifically. What will happen to you when you are given a billion?
What truly happens to a person when they receive a large sum of money?

1. Change in worldview to a more positive one.

Imagine this scenario: a billion dollars is deposited into your account. Please wait a moment while I savor the thought…
Your financial stress, inner tension, dissipate as you pay off debts, settle loans, purchase your long-awaited items, complete unfinished renovations, gift loved ones, and send your children to their dream education. You gaze at your account balance and feel a sense of security and peace. My mood skyrockets. Your view of life becomes easier because you have completed what you have long wanted to finish, you have done what you have long wanted, and this means that you start to look more positively at life and yourself in the same account.

Did money change your state? No, it is you who have accomplished your tasks and fulfilled your desires through the use of money. And that reason created the internal conditions for relaxation, releasing the energy that was once concentrated. When we concentrate intensely on something, it can create tension that may even manifest as illnesses. Our bodies do not respond well to prolonged tension and stress.

Let’s recall a study by my favorite researchers, Kahneman and Deaton (2010), titled “High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being.” The study revealed that a higher income level is associated with a more positive evaluation of life, but it does not have a significant impact on emotional well-being.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20976844/)

In the study by Diener, Ng, Harter, and Arora (2010) titled “Wealth and happiness across the world: Material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling,” the authors found that material prosperity is associated with life evaluation, while psychosocial prosperity is associated with positive emotions.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21077870/)
This means that material resources, such as money, can influence our perception and overall evaluation of life. When we have sufficient resources to meet our basic needs and acquire material goods, we tend to evaluate our lives more positively.

2. Escalation and complication of conflicts.

For example, a person may have difficulties finding their passion or favorite activity and then receives money. If she spends the money trying to find something interesting for herself, there is a high chance that she may not find it and become even more disappointed in herself. The fact that the money will still be spent and financial stress will increase again may make her more prone to depression and disillusionment than when she had no money. The more we spend and our account balance approaches zero, the more painful it becomes for us.
It often happens that a person finds their so-called passion not solely through positive situations, but rather by going through and resolving many internal conflicts. They need to work on their perception of the world and transform themselves into the state they desire, with minimal emphasis on external appearance.

In relationships, internal conflicts can arise due to differing perspectives on life and varying personal values. There is nothing inherently wrong when people go through crises, periods of adjustment, and form new understandings of compatible values. In 2019, a study conducted in the United States revealed that a majority of couples living together have different perspectives on money, which can lead to conflicts and disagreements within the family.

When there is a lack of trust within a couple. With the presence of money, a woman may have the opportunity to take better care of her appearance, which can contribute to her perceived beauty. As a result, the lack of trust in the man may further decrease, and feelings of jealousy may increase. If someone lacked attention in a relationship, it is likely that they will continue to feel a lack of it or even feel it more intensely.

When there is a lack of agreement within a couple. Couples who, due to money, feel a greater sense of inner strength may be more inclined to defend their positions, leading to conflicts escalating to a higher level. With children, the situation becomes even more difficult. You may be able to buy their attention and some moments of joy, but you cannot buy respect, trust, shared joyful experiences, and cherished memories.

Money can create conditions where a person can fully unfold and express themselves. Indeed, money can lead to both positive and negative manifestations of a person’s character and behavior. It varies from person to person. Money cannot solve the significant work you need to do on yourself, determine who you become, resolve conflicts with parents, relatives, family, or superiors, nor can it resolve your internal conflicts.

If you haven’t been able to finish your intended tasks, having money won’t automatically ensure that you will complete them. If you lack discipline, it won’t simply materialize on its own, regardless of having money. Discipline requires personal effort and commitment. If you lack self-awareness, money might provide some assistance, but the main work still needs to be done by you. It is crucial to engage in self-reflection and self-discovery to truly understand yourself and find fulfillment.

Money can indeed be a test, not necessarily because of the money itself, but due to how people handle it. If you are accustomed to thoughtlessly spending, you will end up squandering any amount of money, which won’t lead to anything beneficial. If you are accustomed to only accumulating wealth without deriving enjoyment from life, you will continue in that pattern even with large sums of money, but it won’t bring you happiness.

It is important to note that psychosocial well-being, which includes the quality of our relationships, satisfaction from work, self-determination, and personal growth, is a key factor in experiencing positive emotions and happiness. This underscores that money is not the sole source of happiness and cannot provide complete fulfillment in all aspects of life.

3. Loss of motivation.

After acquiring yachts, properties, cars, pursuing expensive education, and giving your partner everything they could desire, what comes next?

Even if you were to acquire the entire world, what comes next? The satisfaction derived from material possessions is temporary. The production of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with pleasure and reward, can decrease over time, leading to diminishing returns in terms of satisfaction from material possessions. Material possessions can often become similar or lose their uniqueness over time.

You may have millions, but you still have a strong desire for a successful and fulfilling career on a large scale. Certainly, money can help facilitate that path, but the tasks won’t accomplish themselves, and people will always recognize individual merit and effort. A successful career is not solely determined by personal achievements alone. ChatGPT Friends cannot be bought, and even if they could, it wouldn’t bring true fulfillment. You can also buy a partner, but will it satisfy you?

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that high income improves life evaluation but not emotional well-being. The study discusses the distinction between two concepts that are often confused: emotional well-being (sometimes referred to as hedonic well-being or subjective happiness) and life evaluation (or life satisfaction).

Life satisfaction is closely linked to motivation. We need to discover something new, find things that spark our interest to generate motivation. It’s a state of enthusiasm that drives us. Then, we put in the effort, whether small or large, and work towards achieving a result. Only then will we receive an additional dose of dopamine.

If you have a positive emotional state and derive satisfaction from life, you become a happy person. Yes, a high income can improve life evaluation, but it does not always impact a person’s emotional state. If a person has sufficient income to meet their basic needs, additional money may not have a significant impact on their emotional state. On the other hand, if a person is living in poverty and experiencing a lack of basic needs, a higher income can improve their emotional state.

Regarding motivation, it is indeed influenced by life satisfaction. If a person feels satisfaction in their life, they have more energy and enthusiasm to pursue their goals. That’s why it’s important to find what interests us and brings us satisfaction, so that we have the motivation to achieve greater success in various areas of life.

Do you know what’s the most interesting thing? Only a few people understand it until they experience it themselves. Getting money can bring great happiness, but it is temporary. It can lead to heightened conflicts, both external and internal, feelings of emptiness, and a loss of meaning in life. And these elements and swings create conditions for deep depression. A quick example can be famous people who quickly gained their popularity and wealth. For example, Robin Williams (Mrs. Doubtfire), a renowned actor and comedian, who reportedly suffered from severe depression before tragically taking his own life in 2014. At the time of his death, he had an estimated net worth of $50 million. Anthony Bourdain, a renowned chef and television host, also struggled with depression and took his own life in 2018. At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated to be around 16 million dollars.

Can we say that the acquisition of substantial wealth was the sole cause of these unfortunate life outcomes? Certainly not. However, money and fame created conditions in which the individuals were unable to resolve their internal conflicts.

Of course, not all sudden millionaires end up in such circumstances. But it’s worth considering the potential personal changes that may come with wealth.

What should we do with the desire for money that will bring us satisfaction?

Nothing. We need money. Strive for money. However, resolve two nuances that will allow you to lead a satisfying life and always maintain a good sense of humor.

1. Create a foundation for self-confidence.

Why do we feel so insecure when we don’t have enough money or when money is scarce, and why do we still feel insecure even when we have plenty of it?

In his work “The Economic Changes of Well-being: Reflections on the Good Life,” published in 1974, Jack Esterline noticed a very interesting paradox. The growth of national income does not lead to long-term increases in happiness.

The paradox may be partially explained by the findings of the study conducted by Clark, A. E., Frijters, P., & Shields, M. A. (2008). “Relative income, happiness, and utility: An explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles”. Relative income, rather than absolute income, is of crucial importance for people’s overall well-being. This means that how we perceive our income in comparison to others can impact our sense of happiness.

While healthy competition can be beneficial, comparing oneself to others often leads to unhappiness in our reality. Take a break from social media for a while and create a new habit of NOT COMPARING yourself to others. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on comparing your skills and abilities. The amount of money you have does not define you as a person or determine your worth as a professional, parent, partner, or loved one. People with similar skills may offer their services at completely different prices. And the difference will only be in the level of self-confidence. And self-confidence can grow when you stop comparing yourself to others and start valuing yourself. Confident individuals are able to see the positive aspects and possibilities in their actions. How do you expect to see opportunities when the whole world is painted in negativity? You will only see missed opportunities because that’s the result of such perception.

When you are confident, you are capable of taking risks. You will never find a solution that is completely risk-free. Such a thing does not exist in the world. Every decision we make has both negative and positive consequences to some extent. Don’t search for perfect solutions; instead, make decisions based on what you have and refine them through practice. Then you will learn to create ideal solutions for yourself. With a positive mindset, your body can better withstand serious stress. When our body is in a state of suppression, all our processes in the body can be said to become slower. In such a case, it cannot withstand stress, and as a result, you may experience health problems, sleep disturbances, difficulties in learning, lack of concentration, and so on.
A confident person has a clear goal, and whether they like it or not, they feel the need for discipline or time management.

Build inner resilience within yourself. You are a unique individual. There are no others like you, perhaps similar but not exactly like you. With such a unique perspective on life, attitude, and thinking.

Of course, we should not forget about the financial aspect. It is important to create a financial safety net and work towards a steady income. One study conducted in the United States surveyed over 12,000 individuals who had previously applied for loans to pay off their credit card debts. The study found that those who had at least $500 in cash experienced 15% more life satisfaction compared to those who had no savings in monetary form.

When you work to earn money, it can indeed be beneficial. Because in the process of earning money, you are refining yourself or learning to showcase your talents, for which you receive recognition in the form of financial rewards in society. You will certainly find your means of earning a living. The question is when you will start seeking those tools, testing them, and refining them. Perhaps you haven’t created the product you need to sell yet. Maybe you need to create it. Perhaps the niche you see as necessary in society hasn’t been created yet. Create it yourself.

2. Where do you spend your time?

Research published in the Harvard Business Review indicates that prioritizing money over time can undermine our happiness. A study involving over 1,000 students graduating from the University of British Columbia found that those who prioritize time over money reported greater happiness.

Вo you want to create good relationships in your family? How much time do you spend with your family? Having a wife and children alone does not guarantee happiness. Do you want to have a favorite activity? How much time have you spent searching for it? How much time have you spent testing your hypotheses? And how much time do you allocate to ensure that your knowledge and skills match the level at which your favorite activity may be hidden? About which you have not even guessed yet

How much time have you spent on studying yourself and learning to listen to yourself? How often do you generally listen to your body? Do you know which types of food make you feel good and which ones have the opposite effect on you? Do you know with whom you find it interesting or not? What are your hobbies?

These are simple questions that people may spend time thinking about, but often only to ponder and not to test, try, and get results. Without taking action and actively pursuing change, progress and transformation cannot occur.

So, money is undoubtedly important for our lives. They help us achieve a positive emotional state, provide us with the means to pursue our dreams, open up new possibilities, and contribute to our personal growth. But they are merely your social tools.

Why do you run around stores to buy gifts for your relatives on New Year, pack them, and then endure the chaotic preparation for the celebration? Why do you feel butterflies in your stomach and then feel sad for your loved one during temporary separation? Why do you argue with your beloved over some trivial matter? Why do you make an effort to create pleasant memories together? Why do you get stumped by children’s strange questions? Why do you play games with children that you’re not really interested in? Why do children’s mischief sometimes irritate you? Why do you want to discover how to fulfill your potential? Why do you want to travel and explore new worlds? Why do you strive so desperately to build a career and make money…

I wish every reader to experience fulfillment in their life and to always have happiness by their side. Money is your allies and helpers – it is their sole purpose. Be yourself.