Does Money Buy Happiness?

two young women sit on car top enjoy foggy weather gratitude life
by Vance Larson

I heard someone say that the only people who say money does buy happiness, are the ones who don’t have any money. There was a time years ago that I had money. I had a lot of money. I owned 7 houses (6 were paid in full) in 3 different states. And then the unthinkable happened. The 2008 recession and housing market collapsed, along with my wife becoming extremely sick (requiring 5 different surgeries), and we pretty much lost everything. But that’s another story!

Today we are doing okay financially. Far from where we were. And far from where we want to be. With that said, we are more in love than every and we have probably never been happier. While money can buy you options, let me tell you what it can’t buy you. It can’t buy you happiness. Nor can it buy you love. It doesn’t buy internal peace, and it certainly doesn’t by you intelligence. It took me losing everything and deep into my forties to learn this. Chasing money takes away from chasing dreams

Money is a tool. It is nothing more.

Money isn’t bad. The love of money is. I have coached hundreds of high profile people, and people of influence. From professional athletes to meeting celebrities. Money is a tool. It is nothing more. And when we use that tool to gain more tools, we enter into a dangerous game. Chasing money takes away from chasing dreams. Now in my mid 50’s, this has become crystal clear. Do you know what I chase now? Sunsets, meaningful conversations and opportunities to serve. That is what enriches my heart. Not a big bank account and multiple properties that I used to have. Because truth be known, I didn’t have them. They had me. I know that maybe a hard concept to grasp. But owning all of that stuff required a great amount of mental focus, and something always needed tending to. Even having a staff to tend to those things still required my approval and effort, which took my energy. 

One of the common questions I ask my clients is “How much is enough.” A great example of this was a young business owner I worked with years ago. His goal was 1 million in savings. He got it. Then he said that he needed 3 million to make him feel comfortable in providing for his family. He got it. He then amended it to 5 million… with another reason and he got it. What was missing? Happiness! And not to mention family discord he is now suffering. He was so busy chasing the money, that his family life was a mess. What good is being able to provide for your family, if they end up leaving you anyway? 

So yes, a lot of people without money say it doesn’t buy you happiness. They maybe saying out of envy, but I tend to believe they’re right. My life with money looks vastly different without it however so does my maturity. I’m not saying that everyone who has money is unhappy. What I am saying is to know the different between happiness and distraction. 

Money is not bad. My point is Don’t be so busy chasing money, that you forget to chase your dreams.

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