Would More Money Make You Happier?

Would more money make you happier? Let me tell you a story.

Markus Persson, a Swedish 36-year-old business man, spends his time on Twitter, where he talks about his life and that of his company. One day, he twitted something that will change his life.

Markus created in 2009 the video game called Minecraft, a kind of virtual Lego game that has become a social phenomenon. But, all of a sudden, he ends up getting tired of running his business, Mojang.

So, one evening in June 2014, he announced on Twitter that he would sell Mojang. In no time one IT giant contacted him and bought it for 2.5 billion dollars (2.2 billion euros).

On permanent vacation or lying in his luxury villa, he continues to tell about his life on Twitter: he complains that he no longer sees his friends, that parties in Ibiza have become boring…to make a long story short, he gets depressed.

Markus may be the victim of what is called the “Easterlin Paradox“, after the name of the economist who demonstrated it. Richard Easterlin has observed over several years that while the per capita income in the US increased, the proportion of people saying being “very happy” did not increase at the same time.

Later, other researchers found that the more money you made, the happier you felt but there was a limit: up to 75,000 dollars (about 68,000 euros) per year per household. Over this amount of money, the extra money would not make you happier!

Markus earned far more than 75,000 dollars but he has no friends, no plans for the future, and he is also depressed. He even ends up arguing with lots of people on Twitter, making comments deemed racist and misogynist.

As a result, in 2019 the big IT company who bought his business does not invite him to the 10 year anniversary of Minecraft, and deleted his name from the credits of the game. Markus gained a lot of money, but he also lost a lot.

Do you agree with the Easterlin Paradox? Would you be happier with more money? Would 75,000 dollars be enough to have a happy life? In my case, I would be definitely happy with 75,000 dollars a year!

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39 thoughts on “Would More Money Make You Happier?

  1. The more you have it, the more you want and the less effective it is at bringing you joy. But the lack of having it, the more effective your problem is.

    Its a paradox. I’ve addressed this before in one of my post.

      1. Yes, Kind of. Law of diminshing marginal utility, I guess.

        But its also true money isn’t everything but money can buy those things for you that bring happiness, even if for a brief moment only. Nothing lasts forever but the smallest happiness that is what life is.

        Its just another perspective.

  2. So there’s something like being too rich!

    I guess once you have all the money in the world, you just don’t know what to do with it. I’d assume that you lose this motivation to earn and save money, and you no longer appreciate things that you got after months or years of waiting. I can see how it can get depressing.

    And just like you, I’d be stoked to earn 75,000 euros a year! Maybe one day 😂

  3. Money can help fix money problems – it cant fix everything.I heave heard about the $75,000 research too – many times the more you earn the more stressful and demanding your job is, so you have to factor that into your life too.

  4. I think it depends on how you view and use money. If you hoard it all for yourself, you will be unhappy. This will cause you to become isolated. However, if you share the money with charities and family, this will bring you and others joy.

  5. Money is important for better living but what makes people happy or unhappy is neither money nor the lack of it. Its simply attitude in such state.
    For the rich, money needs an outlet to improve not just other people but the environment. And consequently the giver feels content with the knowledge that his/her money is helping to improve world.
    A poor man can be unhappy too if he worries too much about his situation.
    So with the right attitude, both the rich and the poor have equal chance to live a happy life.

  6. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking post with us. No, money is not the key to happiness, although it is certainly necessary. As long as we attempt to satisfy the “person” (which is actually a construct of the mind),we will be forever caught in its trap of needs, wants, and desires. This is why I am so passionate about pointing seekers to our essential nature, beyond name and form. When we know “That,” we are liberated from related suffering and realize the beauty of NOW.

  7. Money cannot buy happiness because its scope is limited to the pursuits of materialistic interests. Any joy got by anyone is only a fraction of that particular frame of mind. Hence the less conditions we need to be happy and content, the happier we are. No product in the world has happiness listed as one of its ingredients.

  8. Very interesting post! I would agree that more money does not make you HAPPIER. More money can make some things in life EASIER (bill payment, etc.) but not HAPPIER. Happiness is a choice that we make on a daily basis. If you are not happy with how things are going, it is up to you to create change. We must be the changemakers in our own lives. Happiness is our own responsibility. Thanks for sharing this post and Best Wishes! Leigh

  9. It’s been said, “Money is a lousy way of keeping score.” I’ve been ‘rich’, I’ve been ‘poor’, and after nearly 8 decades I can identify with Paul’s statement, “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” – Philippians 4:12
    For me, I have enough, and enough is plenty.

  10. Being in debt can make you miserable. Just buying more and more things will not make you happy.” Helping” relatives financially may enable them to make poor choices and may harm them in the end. Becoming a “workaholic” for the sake of money can diminish health and quality of life. Misers may be missing out on the joys of life.

    Very thought-provoking post! Life has many pitfalls associated with money. 🙂

  11. I was poor and desperate (briefly, thank heavens) long ago, and know that for those similarly suffering money can indeed buy happiness. Beyond that, Nahh. I am fortunate now to have enough, and to be able to give every spare penny to causes I believe in. Now THAT can buy happiness. Thanks for this thoughtful piece.

  12. What a brilliant post, Cristiana! I love how you tell the story. Every once in a while when I’m feeling like I don’t have enough money, I make a list of what specifically I would use it for and I find that there aren’t that many things that I need. All of a sudden, it solves the feeling which usually is one of wanting security, not money.

    What about you? I’m guessing based on the post that you don’t believe that more money would make you happier??

    1. You know Wynne, the lockdown period has taught me that I can live with less money than before. I buy only what I need and basically it is food, besides paying my invoices, of course. Now, instead of buying clothes I am selling them! About what makes me happy: going out at dinner with my family, friends, or colleagues, going to a sunny place by the ocean, walking in nature, stroking my cat, and many more small and simple things. But I must admit that a bit of extra money would make me live with more peace of mind. Thank you for your comment!

  13. I suppose if I were making $75K, which would be a big increase in revenue, my life would be easier. I could do more things that I want to do. I could have medical problems treated that I want to treat. I could fix the house up how I want it fixed. I’d certainly worry less and experience less anxiety. So yeah, give me more money and I’d be happier.

    I live in a very expensive region. $75K in some parts of the country is more like double here. An ordinary small house with a yard in an ordinary neighborhood runs $600K and a studio apartment is $2500 a month. I’m lucky to have moved here 40+ years ago and later bought into the housing market with my wife when two working class people could still afford a mortgage.

    Some of the unhappiness I see I consider legit and some of it is just envy. People afflicted with envy and resentment have a harder time being happier with more money because envy is a pit that can never be filled.

    That doesn’t make me unhappy now nor does it make me resentful of people with vast fortunes. More power to them.

  14. I think… in a roundabout way, money actually buys happiness, once we understand what we can do with it. When we have money, we can afford some things that we can share with other people, which makes us happy. Money puts food on the table, and a full tummy is a happy soul. Everyone needs and loves food. We also need money to do gain access to certain kinds of entertainment

    But… money still can’t really buy love and affection, I guess, but that’s only a few things that it can’t afford compared to many things it can. Still though, there are many things that can make us happy, but it’s just that so many of them needs money to access I reckon

  15. This is something to think about. I often ponder when I was at my graduate school, I had so much lesser money than now or even during my first few years of working the salary was less and it does seem like I was managing just fine, I was happy enough. Now that I earn more than my initial work days, there is an additional sense of worry, to save more for the rainy days and I also think as we start earning better, our spending increases too and there is never an end to what we may desire. May be money isn’t really the factor but a catalyst. Having some money saved at the end of the month would solve so many things, for instance medical expenses and everything else since prices seem to be only increasing with each passing day. I guess having a little more wouldn’t make me extremely happy but would make me more comfortable.

    1. I agree on that. I remember when I was in college that I had to count the money to make ends meet but I had so much fun! I think it is also because when we are young we are also a bit more reckless.

  16. Great commentary on what is enough money. Latin American countries like Argentina score better on the happiness scale than the US. I think the US media has us convinced we Must have things. Other than food, shelter, basic clothing, all we Need is love.

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