By Venkata Sai Pranav Pothuri
“You can’t buy happiness with money”. These are the kinds of phrases you would see in many books or hear from people. But as a person who knows the value of money, I beg to differ. Although most self-help books, holy texts, and hipster therapists might say “Money can’t buy happiness” or “Money is the root of all evil”. Although one can’t use the money to literally buy money, it can be at least used to pursue or achieve happiness. What really matters is how you use the money you have.
Money itself is not something that is harmful, its the misuse of money that is harmful and can cause multiple problems. For example, your average Saturday night beer might seem appealing until you realize you have developed an alcohol addiction. Although gambling might be fun and exciting, an Australian study showed that it can lead to bad relationships with your family, substance abuse, and financial difficulties. Self-help books make it look like the real fault is yours for having the money in the first place.
But studies show that having more money can technically “buy happiness”. Money can help you help your friends and family when they need it. What if your close friend gets sick and needs money for the treatment? He says he could pay it back later but you don’t have the money to pay for the treatment. Or what if your sister wants to go to an art school but its too expensive? She wouldn’t be able to pursue her passions because she can’t afford it. How about a more general idea? What if your dad doesn’t spend any family time because he is constantly working to support the family. If he was rich and had a lot of money, he would have more time to spend with his family as he can afford to work less time. They say “Time is money” because the more time they spend working the more money they get or the less time one spends working the less one earns. But it could also be said the other way around where “money is time” because if you have a lot of money, you can have more time to spend time with your family. Think about a lot of businessmen and working people. They all want early retirement so they can spend time with their family and friends without worrying about financial problems and working till they are 68.
A common way money can help achieve happiness is that it gives you the financial freedom to pursue your dreams. With money, you can have life-changing and memorable experiences such as learning a new skill you couldn’t without money or go on eye-opening experiences to another country to enlighten yourself about how insignificant we all are in this giant small world. Many artists in this suffer from lack of money to go to the next level for their career. There’s a reason why they say “starving artists”. There are several people in different parts of the world who can’t afford education because they don’t have the money. Education is empowering and it is a fact.
Lastly, hundreds of charity organizations in the world need money to help the needy. By donating money to these organizations you get satisfaction and it also makes the people who are being helped by the organizations happy, when they receive whatever the money was used for.
In the end, what really matters is what you do with the little amount of money you have. If you spend it on something valuable or donate the money to charity or spend it on someone else. Chances are you are going to be happier than buying materialistic things such as accessories, and food, etc for yourself. Spend it on a charity, spend it on a present for your friends or family, or even spend it to learn something new. Don’t waste money. Money is only empowering when you use it wisely.