/ Money

When times are hard, can money buy you happiness?

Money won’t bring you happiness, so the old adage goes. I’m not sure I buy that – as lots of us tighten our budgets, at least a little extra cash offers a better standard of misery.

In the current climate, it’s easy to take a pessimistic view of things. Your now eroded hard-earned savings; rising inflation; everyday bills on the up; the threat that your job could be snatched away.

So it’s perhaps not surprising that a survey from research firm Mintel seems to suggest that financial security does in fact equate to higher levels of life satisfaction. So much for that old aforementioned cliché.

A little extra can go a long way

According to Mintel, six in ten people who are fortunate enough to be earning more than £50,000 are satisfied with their lives. And who could blame them? With the blessing of a financial buffer in these uncertain times, they can also carry on fulfilling their life’s ambitions.

And despite the price of basics like food and fuel continuing to spiral, a little extra disposable income will actually go further these days if you’ve got the necessities of daily life covered.

Luxury items such as high-end electrical goods have fallen in price due to lack of demand, so it’ll cost you less to splash out on a new TV, MP3 player or other shiny new perk. But if there’s not a lot to spare at the end of the month, the pursuit for a feel good pick-me-up becomes ever trickier.

All doom and gloom?

The warm fuzzy feeling derived from giving to those less fortunate than you? It seems less of us are able to, if the decline in charity donations is anything to go by.

What about the pleasure of seeing your children succeed in life? Those rocketing tuition fees are going to make that more problematic, too.

Despite the doom and gloom – and a 20.8% unemployment rate – Mintel found 16-24 year olds to be more optimistic than other groups in society. Maybe we should try and get them to spread the love among the rest of us!

Does financial security bring with it happiness? Whatever your pay bracket – and however squeezed your household budget is – tell us what you think.

Sophie Gilbert says:
6 October 2011

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. (*)

Seriously though, financial security doesn’t bring with it happiness, but it makes for a better night’s sleep. That it rather invaluable.

(*) Errol Flynn

I agree that money makes things much easier and I don’t have much sympathy with the saying ‘Money cannot buy you happiness’. I have over the years heard it said by a lot of people who are wealthy, but if you are already unhappy, then I’d rather have some spare money in the bank so that I could at least take a holiday or treat myself to something nice, whereas if I’m unhappy and also broke, then everything becomes so much harder.

So here is a new saying; ‘I’d rather be rich and unhappy, than poor and unhappy’.

I think there are two different things to look at. No, money doesn’t buy happiness on a day-to-day level – you can have plenty of fun having a picnic in the park or going for a nice (free) walk or cycle ride as you can by spending loads on a slap up meal. So in this instance, money won’t (in my opinion) buy you any more happiness.

BUT… to be financially stable and know where the next mortgage or bill payment is coming from is a completely different story – having this type of money definitely makes people happier, and means they don’t need to worry and stress as much. The happiness that this longer term financial stability buys is, I think, a great contributor to people’s well being.

Maybe the opposite is truer:
Lack of money can bring misery


Let’s say that my state pension of £106 doesn’t give me happiness in any way – but if they increased it to around £150 (roughly what it should be if it had kept up with inflation since I retired) I’d be a lot happier.

A dream – to afford a meal in a restaurant – that would be true happiness – haven’t been able to afford one in 15 years.

All I ask is the chance to prove that lots of money will not make me happy. ~_^