Miko’s Moments – Does Money Buy Happiness?

Welcome to another Miko’s Moments.

At some point, we’ve all heard the question: does money buy happiness?

There are an increasing number of studies trying to find an answer to this age-old question, but instead of diving deep into these studies, I want to turn to Socrates. 

Yes, that Socrates — as in the Greek philosopher from 399 B.C.

You see, he came up with a line of reasoning called the Socratic Method. In short, it’s a way to answer questions by asking even more questions.

So let’s play this out: does money buy happiness?

Of course, I don’t know whether or not Socrates himself ever heard this question, but I would imagine the Socratic method would answer with the following follow-up questions:

How can money buy happiness?

Why does money buy happiness?

How much does happiness cost?

If you can buy happiness, does happiness expire and need to be bought again?

What can money buy?

Is money the only thing that can buy happiness?

Isn’t that a neat perspective? By asking follow-up questions to the original question, we’re forced to not only stimulate our critical thinking, but forced to examine the very underpinnings of the original question itself.

Now, I don’t want to answer all of those questions for you. I would encourage you to take some time and think of your own answers. Maybe you might even want to try the Socratic method and ask even more follow-up questions to those questions.

However, I would like to offer some perspective based on my own experiences and insights.

If money were the only key to happiness, then that would mean that rich people are universally happier than poor people. But that isn’t the case. There are incredibly wealthy people who are dissatisfied, unhappy, or even depressed. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people in poverty who are able to find happiness even in dire circumstances.

I would argue that it’s not happiness itself that money can buy. Rather, money helps us achieve peace of mind. For some people, that peace of mind can result in more happiness. But it’s not the end-all-be-all of happiness itself. 

Money is needed to cover our basic needs and necessities: Shelter, food, clothing, and transport. Having enough money to cover these needs is critical for your peace of mind and well-being. After all, how can you enjoy life and be happy if you are struggling to make ends meet?

But money can also be a slippery slope. How much is enough? What if family and friends start asking for money because they perceive you as “rich”? What if you won the lottery tomorrow, but didn’t already have the budgeting skills to properly handle the winnings?

Again, I don’t want to answer these questions for you. Take some time to reflect and consider some of these points.

I’d also encourage you to consider the relationship between money and peace of mind. Are there any proactive steps you can take to strengthen that peace of mind? If you’re like me, simply coming up with a budget and a plan might be enough to get the ball rolling in the right direction! It’s worth a try.

I will be back next week with another Miko’s Moments. Have a beautiful weekend!

Kumiko Ehrmantraut
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Kumiko Ehrmantraut
Kumiko Ehrmantraut

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