You have heard the old sayings before, “money can’t buy happiness” or “money is the root of all evil.” And you have seen the horror stories where celebrities are so unhappy they end up in rehab, or they commit suicide. You thus make the conclusion that money really does not make you happy. Yet every one of us constantly pursues wealth. Granted there is a certain amount of wealth needed just to survive, but there are very few people who do not wish to accumulate wealth. The reason is that to an extent money can buy happiness.
Money is the Root of All Evil
The saying, “Money is the root of all evil” is actually a misquoted Bible verse. The saying comes from 1 Timothy 6:10 where Paul writes, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (ESV). There is a key difference between the axiom and the source: the word “love.” You see, money in itself is a tool. It can be used for good, or for evil. It can be used for neutral device, malicious devices, or benevolent devices. The money itself is not the problem; it is the mindset that surrounds money. Money that is seen as a solve-all will often fall short of our perceptions. Many people feel “if I just made a little more I would be happy.” We keep pursuing a little more in an attempt to get rid of stress and frustrations, but every time we get a little bit more we fall into our old habits and the stress tends to stick around. There is a better way.
Spend Your Money
I am not talking about frivolously blowing your money on unnecessary items here. There are two parts to earning more and spending more that can help bring about happiness. The first part is when your income is sufficient that you have your needs met. There is a certain peace that comes about with that. But more importantly is when you earn more than you need. When that happens, you can then spend your money in a way that will bring about happiness. The trick is to spend your money on someone other than yourself. Buying things for ourselves will often lead to buyer’s remorse (we wonder if we got a good deal or not), and guilt (maybe we should have spent it on something more worthwhile). By spending on others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves, we get a boost of our own self worth. It will help us feel the elation that can only come when we help others, and we feel confident that our pursuit of wealth is not due to our own greed, but due to our desire to help those who are struggling. Keep in mind though, that this is nothing wrong with buying yourself something here and there. In fact, studies have shown that spending money on yourself actually can help boost your mood.
Those who don’t have much money know that money can buy happiness. There is a song by Everclear where the singer states (referring to those who condemn the pursuit of wealth), “…they have never been poor, they have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas.” If you are seeking comfort solely in the cash you have, be prepared to be disappointed. If you are using your wealth and money to live a comfortable life for yourself, and then you resolve to spend your money on the right things (helping those in need), you can actually find that money will buy happiness.