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Does wealth bring happiness?

  1. Oct 25, 2004 #1
    I know a LOT of people personally who are obsessed with wealth.. Aquisition of items, goods, wealth itsself for the sake of being wealthy. It's thier obsession. Of course i live in L.A., where it's practically a prerequisite of living here to be greedy and obsessed with money. So are rich people happier? I don't think so.

    Being rich brings with it it's own set of problems. Sure you don't have to worry about affording basics, but you worry about loosing the wealth you've acquired. You worry about your status, and other such things. I don't think wealth brings happiness. I believe happiness is a choice- that you are happy because you choose to be happy with yourself and your station in life-regardless of where you fall in the scale.

    But I'm interested in thoughts of this. Would you be ultimately happy with obscene wealth? How much wealth would it take to buy your happiness, if it could?
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  3. Oct 25, 2004 #2


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    Happiness is a choice. For those who are rich enough not to worry about the basics.
  4. Oct 25, 2004 #3


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    I would be really happy with free tuition and free access to libraries/research materials.

    You can consider that money.
  5. Oct 25, 2004 #4
    Wealth does not buy happiness, though it is common especially for urban dwellers to view money as an obstacle to same. Wealth can, however, provide many a pleasant distraction, but ultimately I believe this is not the same thing. You are who you are, and if it is possible to imagine having lived your entire life in complete isolation and ignorance of the material ‘distractions’ people such as our very own beloved Saint crave, you will be in a position to ask yourself would you have been a happy individual? This isn’t easy for many people to do because they cannot imagine a world without the goodies they crave, being as we are a product of our environment. This is precisely what I was attempting to say to Mr. Robin Parsons once upon a time but having failed to word properly my meaning was misunderstood and the conversation erupted into a dispute. There is a difference between what truly is necessary and what is not. An introspective and mature mind should be able to see beyond the glimmer of a shiny new automobile and grasp a deeper understanding.
  6. Oct 25, 2004 #5
    Wealth=Endless Lan PArty=happy
  7. Oct 25, 2004 #6
    Happiness is relative. The billionaire just rolls his eyes when his servents drag him another Ferrari, but the hobo is ecstatic when he discovers three extra pizza slices in that discarded pizza box.

    Everyone should have the same ammount of happiness that they give themselves (except in times of crappy circumstances).

    Some religious people are happy when they reach nirvana, and want nothing at all! Happiness is free.
  8. Oct 26, 2004 #7
    Not neccessarily. It depends if what makes you happy is good for you or others.

    Wealth can bring happiness especially if you share it with others. Here in NZ we tend to trade off wealth for quality of life and as a nation we rate highly on the happy scale. Having good clean fun is what most people I know strive for which to me brings me happiness as opposed to striving for wealth and material possessions. I think we picked that up from my first culture, that of Polynesia for we are slowly starting to define ourelves and our national identity by polynesian standards as opposed to the colonial mindset prevalent in times past.

    But yeah False Prophet wanting for nothing is a good start as...

    nothing is perfect
    in the space where nothing exists
    will one find perfection
    the perfect nothing


    Just ask Lao Tzu...

  9. Oct 26, 2004 #8


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    time off from work brings me a lot of happiness.
  10. Oct 26, 2004 #9
    Wealth is just an added bonus to happiness, and if you treat it that way you wont be unhappy because of the stresses of money.
    So in other words, no it does not bring happiness but it can add to it if you take it in the right way.
  11. Oct 26, 2004 #10


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    Don't know.

    Sure would like the opportunity to find out, though!

    I have learned that poverty does not guarantee happiness, don't believe that wealth will either.
  12. Oct 26, 2004 #11
    More money will probably not make you more happy if you are healthy and are able to earn a modest amount of money. But if you have any serious disease, mental or physical, money will make you happier. It can buy outstanding psychotherapy, steadily more expensive medications, the best surgeons and fabulous care. Not to mention food and shelter. And we will all need this we when get old, if not before.

    More wealth in a society increases the average length of life, decreases infant and mother mortality and makes it possible for people with diseases like diabetes to survive. It allows adequate nutrition, preventing previously common diseases like rickets, blindness and goitre. It probably increases intelligence (The Flynn effect).

    And more wealth allows shorter working hours, more holidays and allows children and the elderly to avoid working. It gives better and less dangerous working conditions. It allows choice in work. And better housing, protecting for example from cold and heat. Dental care so not most people have lost their teeths by the age of forty. And at the end of life, it can make death painless instead of the painful misery that was earlier the fate of, for example, cancer patients.

    And more wealth in society in the future will allow more of these benefits.

    So money will probably not make you much more happy when you are in good physical and mental health and enjoy your work and the people around you. Otherwise, money can buy happiness.
  13. Oct 26, 2004 #12
    One footnote. It may ALLOW you to work shorter hours, but I've generally found that the wealthier someone is, the harder they work, which may be the reason they are wealthy in the first place. I've found that the wealthier someone is, the harder they have to work in order to maintain that wealth.

    It does bring comforts that you wouldn't otherwise afford. However, that's not the same as say wealth brings happiness- it brings things that allow happiness, and takes focus from money. However I've found that the wealthier someone is, the more focused they are on finances. It's a catch 22.
  14. Oct 26, 2004 #13
    I get bored if I'm not working. I have to have focus and goals or I just get listless.

    Think you'd still be happy after not working for a year? Unless you had a friend who also didn't have to work. All my friends work. I'd be bored
  15. Oct 26, 2004 #14
    Not sure that I agree with moving the post.. it's philosophical discourse to equate wealth and happiness... *shrug* but whatever.
  16. Oct 26, 2004 #15
    I retired when I was relatively young (8 1/2 years ago). After about 3 weeks, I couldn't recall what I used to do. :smile:

    Anyone with a strong interest in life should not get bored. There is simply too much to do and enjoy. Of course, some of that depends on the "wealth" item, since we have to eat and pay bills. In my case, I saved and invested and concluded that my job income was insignificant. Commuting is the pits. Dumping my job was the best move of my life and the closest I will ever come to beating the system.

    BTW, as I read through this thread, I don't see any definition of wealth. How does one know if she is wealthy or poor?
  17. Oct 26, 2004 #16
    That's part of my question- ie, how much money does it take for you to be satisfied? I mean it's entirely subjective since one man's wealth is another man's poverty.. but for me I would say enough money to live and eat well, and never have to work again, living in the same lifestyle I'm accustomed to now. For me having a bmw and a multimillion dollar home isn't that important.
    Enough money to travel at my whim, which would be quite a bit. Enough to pretty much do what I needed to do without necessarily being extravagant. I can fly business class, and drive a late model Toyota. To some people this would seem like a meager existence. To not have to punch the proverbial clock(I say proverbial because I think it's been about 10 years since I had to actually do that anyhow) would be my vision of wealthy.
  18. Oct 26, 2004 #17


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    My list of required items...

    Academic Material, so I can learn.
    Food, so I can eat. No name food would be fine, as long as it is generally healthy. Also, some organic foods because that is just common sense.
    Living Space, so I can sleep. I don't need a huge place, but big enough to have a desk and a bed fit reasonably well.
    Bike, so I can travel. A car is not necessary, and I don't see why it would be even if it is a cheap car.

    I think that's all I need.

    I'd be content with just that.

    People ask for too much, and for some reason they think its not alot. :confused:
  19. Oct 27, 2004 #18
    But Jason we're talking about being "wealthy" not just getting by. I somehow suspect you may eventually want to leave school, and eventually want a car.
  20. Oct 27, 2004 #19


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    Jason has demonstrated that happiness does not dpend on wealth, and I can confirm it. So the set of happy people is not a subset of rich people. Also, anecdotal evidence indicates that not all rich people are happy. So the set of rich happy people is a subset of rich people and also a subset of happy people. Conclusion: wealth is not the cause of happiness in all people, although it may cheer up some people.
  21. Oct 27, 2004 #20


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    IMO, wealth is simply an enabler. It enables you to do the thing you want to do that take money. Some of these things are needs (eating), some are wants (eating at a nice restaraunt). It should follow that being wealthy and eliminating the problem of physical needs should lead to greater happiness, but (as SA showed) it doesn't. IMO, the reason for this is that happiness is a choice (or set of choices).

    People who might worry about whether or not they can pay their next phone bill can (and often do) choose to not let that worry bother them too much. And someone who chooses to look for happiness in money can find that happiness comes from other sources that they lack (ie love).

    IMO, starting off poor (or, not spoiled by your parents), then gradually becoming more wealthy allows a person to keep the wealth in proper perspective, living within their means, not worrying about money, but also not attaching their happiness to it.
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