Does more money bring happiness?

Does having or making more money mean that you’ll be happier? This seems like an easy one to answer. Most people would probably say “No, of course not”.

Try not having any money and you may change your tune.

I haven’t done any detailed research or conducted any focus groups, but based on personal experience, money hasn’t bought me happiness. It does give you options, and having options can improve your happiness.

Imagine you’re in a job you despise, having money gives you the option to find something else or start a side business.

Your car breaks down. Having money turns an emergency into an inconvenience.

“Mo Money, Mo Problems”

On the flip side, everyone has probably heard “Mo Money, Mo Problems“. I think these problems are usually self-inflicted. It happens when we start to grow our expenditures faster than our income grows.

I recently started thinking about this. Over the past 5 years, our household income has more than doubled. I don’t say that to brag, but more to express that during this entire time I thought to myself “a bit more will make life easier.” Surprise! It hasn’t worked out that way.

Are we able to make faster progress on our goals? Yes.

Have we went on any fancy vacations as a result? No.

Have we made any major purchases that changed our life? No.

Do we have the same things break around the house that need to be fixed as we did before? Yes.

Our life has not fundamentally changed, because we didn’t let it change. We have more peace (which can contribute to happiness) than we did before. We can also give more freely when we see a need arise. This is because we have options.

If you’re interested, I write a blog about saving money (Planning To Save). It might give a peak into how my crazy mind works.

Photo by blondinrikard

Can you do good, and make good money?

A while ago I was scanning Facebook and saw a video a friend of mine posted. Her brother modified a Jeep-like kid’s vehicle to be remotely controlled for the son of someone he knew. Their son had a handicap that kept him from being able to drive a vehicle like this in the same where their brother could.

I’m not that surprised that he was able to develop this type of thing. The guy who did it is incredibly creative and resourceful.

The first thing that came to mind was that he should make more of these vehicles and sell them. I figured there were tons of parents out there with children with similar conditions and would love to have something like this.

Do you know what filled my mind next? Guilt. I felt guilty that I could take a nice gesture like what he did and turn it into a money making opportunity.

Then I thought about it more. Should I feel guilty for thinking that way?

Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t. I thought that this incredible act could end right there with the one modified Jeep, but if someone were willing to pay for another one, why should it stop at one?

What if he were able to make a healthy profit modifying things like this for kids who need them? Would that tarnish the good work being done? I don’t believe so.

Let’s think this through a bit. Let’s imagine for a minute that he starts making these and people are interested in buying them. He’s doing this on the side, but can’t keep up with the demand on his own. So he may quit a job that isn’t that fulfilling and start making these full time. Eventually he ends up hiring an extra person or two with his profits and expands the business. He continues to turn a nice profit and is able to use some of it to give some of these vehicles to children’s hospitals and others who could use them.

I know I made a lot of assumptions there. The point is not that he should do any of these things, but more to point out that someone can truly do something good, and make good money while they’re doing it. If you’ve got the right mindset and good intentions, you can do good works, while making good money doing it.

Photo by State Farm