Can Money Buy Happiness?
Our respective mothers always told us the answer to this question was no. How come no one ever believed her?
Every human being has one thing in common. We all seek happiness. When it comes to money, most of us seek
happiness either through security, freedom or power. We look at money as a vehicle to acquire these things which we
believe will allow us to relax, stop worrying and enjoy a genuine sense of peace. We may find ourselves saying… "If
I just had…” But in reality, if we look at the people who do have enormous sums of money and analyze if they did
find the happiness they pursued from these factors, invariably they have to worry every bit as much as we do.
So we take a look at each factor – security, freedom and power. We look at some of the ideas people may have
about how they produce genuine happiness and what actually happens in the real world. We can look with some humor
at how we actually live our lives and ask ourselves why we don't try a different approach. We have limited time on
this earth and we need to spend it wisely.
Thesis: If I have enough money I can be 100% secure that I will always have enough and then I can relax and have
nothing to worry about. Then I will be truly happy because worrying is distressing.
1. If I invest my money in US treasury bills and the US government goes belly up, I
2. If I put it in a diversified basket of currencies, foreign governments can go
bankrupt, make it illegal for me to get my money out of the country, hyper inflate their currency so it becomes
3. If I buy gold and the fiat money currencies become worthless, why would anyone want
gold at that point? They will want food, but that turns bad. What would make gold the substitute of money instead
4. Whichever bank I choose to safe keep my money or hard assets like gold, they can
steal it in a crisis or go bankrupt along with the federal government causing me to lose it as well.
5. Suppose I have all the money I need, but I get cancer? What good would it do me
then? I still have to worry.
Thesis: If I have enough money I can have whatever I want whenever I want it. Then I can be truly happy.
1. Can I buy my friends with money? How can I be sure they will be sincere?
2. If I become famous, everyone will follow me around and try to take pictures of me.
I will have no privacy.
3. I will have to spend all my time investing my money to be sure it is safe, which is
a lot of work. Even if I pay someone else to do it, I have to evaluate them which can be just as difficult. You do
a lot of work to get money, you do a lot of work to keep it and the only thing you can be sure of is eventually you
will lose it.
4. I can buy my favorite car and enjoy it, but not if I want to prevent global
5. I can eat at the best restaurants as much as I want, as long as I don’t go to my
doctor to get my cholesterol tested.
Thesis: If I have enough money I will have power and can control other people.
1. If I am truly rich I can control everyone with the purse strings, just like Marie
2. Some people think there are two sets of rules – one for the wealthy and one for
everyone else. But ask them if they can relax and enjoy their lives when they are spending all their time trying to
cover up their unethical acts.
3. Money does not give you the power to overcome death.
4. Since I cannot be guaranteed to keep my money (see security) and my friends might
not be sincere (see freedom), I need to worry that my world can unravel at any moment.
5. If people attack (i.e. through lawsuits), some people think they can defend myself
just by virtue of their ability to outlast them with legal bills so they don’t have to worry about treating people
fairly. What do you think happens if a jury figures out this is your strategy?
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