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Can money make you happy?

Nyambura Wambugu | 12:04 UK time, Thursday, 8 July 2010

For many, the answer to that question would be "yes". But would it really?


usdahyscrop.jpgA poll carried out in more than 130 countries including Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, and  Togo, concludes that money cannot buy you happiness, though of course it can help to ease day to day struggles.

But where does happiness come from? What makes you happy or unhappy? How important is money to your life? Send us your views.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 08 July at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    To be honest money does not equal happiness but it goes a long way to that effect. Things/persons that make me happy include my husband, family ...but if my husband lost his Job, for instance, we would still be very much in love but maybe our happiness would slightly be subdued.
    Money is not the be all and end all, but it is surely very important.

  • Comment number 2.


    My stance on this is that Money is nowhere near to bringing forth ‘True’ Happiness

    I will first want to make these clear to listeners:

    • The secret of happiness lay in building a strong inner self that no trial or hardship could ruin.
    • It begins with having the strength to confront and conquer one's own weaknesses. Only then does it become possible to lead a truly happy life.
    • Now I can say with confidence that happiness doesn't exist in the past or in the future. It only exists within our state of life right now, here in the present, as we face the challenges of daily life.
    • You yourself know best whether you are feeling joy or struggling with suffering. These things are not known to other people.
    • Happiness is not a life without problems, but rather the strength to overcome the problems that come our way.
    • Our vitality - the amount of energy or "life-force" we have - is in fact the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are happy so if you are weak, suffering will follow you wherever you go. You will never find happiness if you don't challenge your weaknesses and change yourself from within.

    I believe that a person who is active and free from fear is truly happy.

    There are two kinds of happiness - "relative" and "absolute" happiness.

    Relative happiness is happiness that depends on things outside us: friends and family, surroundings, the size of our home or family income. While the happiness such things bring us is certainly real, the fact is that none of this lasts forever. Things change. People change. This kind of happiness shatters easily when external conditions alter.

    Absolute happiness, on the other hand, is something we must find within. It means establishing a state of life in which we are never defeated by trials and where just being alive is a source of great joy. This persists no matter what we might be lacking, or what might happen around us. It is eternal and inexhaustible.

    In trying to come by a definition of Happiness, Scholars, psychologists and socialist alike, came by two general theories as to what happiness means.

    One is the hedonic theory. This suggests that happiness – or well-being – is entirely about the attainment of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The more pleasure you have and the less pain you experience, the happier you are and the greater your well being. The hedonic view goes all the way back to the Greek philosopher, Aristippus, who in the fourth century B.C., described the ultimate goal in life as experiencing the maximum amount of pleasure.

    On the other side is the Eudaimonic theory. This focuses on meaning, and defines well-being in terms of self realization, i.e. the extent to which we are fulfilling our potential in life. Aristotle believed that true happiness was to be found in the expression of virtue – i.e. in doing that which was worth doing.

    I will like to end by stating what Abraham Lincoln said;

    “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

    Nana Kwame

  • Comment number 3.

    Money can never make me happy. Even though happiness is associated with money, but happiness always come before money. Money sometimes facilitates happiness, but money is far from making someone happy.

  • Comment number 4.

    Absolutely money cannot bring happiness even though it is a means to been happy it is not happines in its end.
    Happiness in my view deals with contentment and peace of mind, one can be happy without money. money and happiness are so mixed that the line of distinction is blurred however happiness has more to do with satifaction and money leads to constant intent for more acquisition and in some cases agrandisement.

  • Comment number 5.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]Money cannot buy you happiness although it has a vital role to play in our lifes. The only thing that does give me happiness is peace of mind.

  • Comment number 6.

    Indirectly YES Money can buy Happiness. Just as money is used to buy things that makes a man and woman attracts one another. The same way money is used to purchase things that create happiness.

  • Comment number 7.

    Well it seems the point of contention is really, what is happiness?

    I thank God that I am healthy and I am around my friends and family. That makes me happy. But being true to self, I was happy the first time I could afford a car. I was happy the first time I could affprd a holiday.
    I am sure I would be happy if I could afford a ferrari.

  • Comment number 8.

    Scripture even says that money answereth all things (Ecc 10:19)Therefore money is very important. I have a boyfriend who is not working, and so he has depended on me on several occasions, since we started going out, this has really strained our relationship, because more than anything else for a girl to be providing for a man who does not seem in a hurry to provide for himself and probably (when need arises) another person in their life, then it is a bit strange...i am very unhappy due to that, so yes money cannot buy me happiness, but it is fundamental to happiness...

  • Comment number 9.


  • Comment number 10.

    For many individuals, money is a topic that falls beyond the realm of who we are, what we stand for and who, as people, we want to be. In reality, however, our money behavior and money beliefs are intricately and indelibly connected to our greater belief systems. Many challenges we face in life and with our money are tied to this co-created reality we believe to be true. To fully understand ¯ much less, alter ¯ our relationship with money and our money beliefs, we must first examine our greater belief systems.

    Our Earliest Belief Systems Influence Our Behavior With Money Today

    Our belief systems are functions of our upbringing, our education, our experiences, and our friends and families. Much of what most people think and accept as reality is learned through repetition from these external sources. While many of us have internal dreams and beliefs disparate from the external, societal dreams, our existing punishment and reward systems — whether at home, in school or at work ¯ further perpetuate the cycle of our automatically adhering to the belief systems created by those who preceded us.

    In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz calls this the domestication of humans and accurately states that “through this domestication, we learn how to live and how to dream. In human domestication, the information from the outside dream is conveyed to the inside dream, creating our whole belief system.”
    Isn’t what we believe to be true about money today a function of what we “learned” and incorporated into our communal belief system through our historical domestication as people living in society? We all have money beliefs in some form. Some of the most common ones we have heard, and even believe on some level, whether consciously or subconsciously, are:

    “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
    “Money or the loveof money is the root of all evil.”
    And the biggest of all … “Money can’t buy you happiness.”

    While each of these beliefs may hold a kernel of truth, why do our belief systems tend to suggest money is inherently bad or cannot make us happy? In fact, money can make us happy, if we understand its proper context and use. Thinking otherwise jeopardizes our success, financially and in other ways. People tend to deride things that seem inherently bad to them. Therefore, if we think money is bad, we tend to avoid the successes that can attract it into our lives.

    Another, perhaps healthier, view of money is as a form of energy we use to express ourselves and our core values. Misusing this energy tends to lead to imbalance, trapped energy, and frequently, discord and unhappiness. Bad debt, for instance, traps energy and distracts us from moving in harmony through the other areas of our lives. That trapped energy blocks us from pursuing our souls’ evolution elsewhere.

    Those who use money correctly as a source of energy are more inclined to be happy, because that energy is not draining other forms of their life energy. People succeed, and generally are happier, when they choose to earn, save, spend, invest and gift money in ways that further their souls’ development and connect them to others. They manage and use money appropriately — and keep life in balance.

    It’s Not Necessarily the Amount of Money We Have, But Rather How We Use It

    Money as a form of energy is neither bad nor good. More money does not, in itself, create happiness — but it affords us the ability to be happier, if we use and leverage its power appropriately.

    Why is it that some with millions in the bank will never be happy, while others who live paycheck to paycheck are quite content? Is it because those with a smaller net worth do not fall prey to the lack mentality of never having enough, and they use the resources they do have in appropriate ways to develop and nourish themselves? Could it be that they transfer the energy of money in ways that express deeper meaning and significance for themselves and their lives, rather than assuming that accumulating more and more money will bring greater happiness? Perhaps they have not misused the energy of money and are not limiting their souls’ purpose.

    Having more money can, however, provide people the ability and flexibility to develop and nourish their souls’ purpose in ways that those with far fewer resources cannot. Money can buy happiness, but it is not because more money can buy us nicer things or take us to exotic places. These are temporary trifles, none of which ultimately lead to inner fulfillment or satisfaction. Having more money does allow us to free up our spirits and our energies so they are not trapped, constantly worrying over money issues and problems. It frees our souls to do what we are meant to do — connect with others and share our talents with the world.

  • Comment number 11.

    Personally, the question of money and happiness is like the chicken and egg mystery. Which one comes first? People always say money cannot buy happiness or good health.But, everyone knows money will often get you the best medical care available, so money can indeed, buy good health.
    While money may not buy happiness, if you don’t have to worry about making ends meet financially, you are less likely to be unhappy.
    Therefore, money can buy some happiness. There is no doubt that internal happiness or self-contentment is something money cannot buy, but, lack of money to buy life’s basic essentials cannot possibly make anyone happy.

  • Comment number 12.

    It is true that king Solomon said that 'Money answereth All things', but at the same time, let's not forget that 'All things' as it was being said here reffers to the tangibles, which Solomon also said are all vanity. Yes money can spice up our lives and our general well-being to a reasonable extent, but an insatiable love of it is the root of all evil. Money can facillitate happiness, but it does not guarantee its sustainability on continuing basis, Sucides and attempted sucides, drug addiction, and failure of celebrity marriages attest to this fact. Finally, from my perspective, rendering a selfless service to my fellow human-being, makes me satisfied and happy.

  • Comment number 13.

    Money is the director of materialism and capitalism which again is the centre of the problems we face today.Money also is behind every development we enjoy today.Yes, money is evil,it's also a source of happiness.In the world we live today,happiness sets in when you are comfortable.And what is comfort,it's sustainability and the act of satisfaction and ability to get what you want.If you don't have money to get you what you want,then how can you be happy.
    It's difficult to accept,but money is good and it creates happiness.Once you have the money,then every other happiness will set in depending on how you make your bed.
    Even the Bible recognises prosperity,and what is prosperity without money.

  • Comment number 14.

    Money gives happiness if you use it and don't allow it to use you.

  • Comment number 15.

    Money is a defend, but not everything,interestingly there's a lot about the issues of life that money cannot solve.Ask a rich dyingg man who desparately needs his life back; Ask a couple who have been married without an issue; Ask a lover who lived an exclusive lifestyle without her heartthrob; Ask a politician who amassed it..??

  • Comment number 16.

    Money helps to solve some problems but it can never buy happiness after all in many occasions.,The rich also cry,people from developed world should come to Africa for example and see how poor people live happily and how to be contempted with whatever little they have.I have seen rich people comite sucide that suggest to me they lack Joy or happines in their life so,I think it's very wrong to say or think money can bring happiness even happiness in ones life are limited but instead who have Joy has a healthy life.

  • Comment number 17.

    Money does not bring happiness but it's better to cry in a Mercedez than on a bike.

  • Comment number 18.

    what makes money important is the opportunities it affords...

  • Comment number 19.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator] There’s a new story from FOX DC which suggests that more money can really make you happier. It’s a large study of 136,000 people from around the world. If true it goes against much of which we have been taught, namely, that money cannot buy happiness. Certainly money is important. Being able to afford the necessities of life and a few luxuries probably goes far in decreasing anxiety but does it produce happiness?

    I guess it depends on how happiness is defined. My first thought after reading the article is that people are settling for something they call happiness but which is really more along the lines of acceptance or satisfaction.

  • Comment number 20.

    ok my answer is No becuase in this world you can see people who are very rich but unfortunetly they are not happy and on the other hand you can see people who are poor and happy so the happiness comes from GOD, GOD gives happiness and beside GOD itis down to the person's mentality or how weak or strong his/her brain is and how you deal with daily life cyle for example when you face pressure, disappointing things i mean you will get upset or anoyed in your daily life for example within hours of the day you may get news that either anoy you or upset you and this tells you anoyment is part of life but the question is how far or at what degree can your anoyment will end at this stage is what many people can't be the same and that is you will know how a person's mental strenth is and this is called life management cyle.

  • Comment number 21.

    A question that is unnecessary to ask leave alone to answer.
    Its an age old confusion of money and happiness. Why such an obvious/sillyquestion? I say this: Money is not everything because
    it is the only thing.

    Yes, you could have lots of it and still be extremelu unhappy but the reverse is also true. Lack of it is not a guarantee of happiness while
    most things can be bought including health care. I could go on but this should suffice.

  • Comment number 22.

    This is simple if you have never had money how can you know? Money does not equate to happiness but everyone strives to being comfortable in life therefore achieving that balance is what equates to true happiness.

  • Comment number 23.

    If someone ask me if i am happy in my present situation, i would say "yes". If you ask me if i have money, my answer would be "the hell no".
    i sure am having difficulty comprehending whether i would be happier just because i have more money.

  • Comment number 24.

    I would like to point out that while Nana makes some good points, it is wrong to assume that suffering follows the weak, take for instance Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. These were two men who suffered greatly but still persevered; they did not suffer because they were weak. Rather, they had the strength of character to endure suffering and at the end of it, dealt with some of the people who caused their suffering with a spirit if reconciliation. Strength of character is similar to a rock remains 'un-weathered' by battering. Moreover, it is not always individuals who cause their suffering, rather the suffering can be caused from without or within.

  • Comment number 25.

    In spite of all that money facilitates, it undermines happiness and in some instances exacerbates existing unhappiness. The very security and comfort that money provides tends to translate into colossal insecurity and discomfort. Not analyzing viability,sustainability and virtue, money and happiness intersect but are clearly distinguishable.

  • Comment number 26.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Since I don't have much money, but, in my own opinion money would make me happy because--I would be able to have the things that I want in life.


  • Comment number 27.

    yes money can make you happy if you have the wisdom to spend it wisely and the luck of not being surrounded by greedy friends and family who want to reap where they did not sow.

  • Comment number 28.

    A friend of mine was said 'Whomever said money cannot buy happiness didn't know where to shop'. I think putting it into perspective, greed for money can cause you untold misery. But my hard-earned cash can buy me a good medical/life insurance, good education for my baby, a holiday, a house and I could help my relatives out without stressing. Now that's some comfort money comes with. The greed for more money is the problem. The money being there cannot be a problem otherwise why would we be struggling every day?!

  • Comment number 29.

    Do not be deceived, money is everything. With money, you have power, and with money and power you can end your misery.

  • Comment number 30.

    Money doesn’t make anyone happy by itself but sure helps to go through the bad moments in life.

  • Comment number 31.

    Many a time people have said to me they wish they earnt more, then they could retire earlier and enjoy life. The problem is, most people upon earning more simply spend more, and therefore need to carry on working anyway. As a PhD student writing up his thesis with no income and relying on his long suffering parents, a bit of money coming in would indeed be of some use (but more useful would be a job to go to as soon as I finish).

    I have one or two friends who, while not millionaires, are certainly living v comfortably with no money worries - they do not strike me as particularly more happy than myself or friends who make do with very little.

  • Comment number 32.

    Money is a source of pride just like being fat is a sign of good health in the eyes of the observer. However, the individual with alot of money just like the fat guy, they know their pains and challenges better than the observers.
    So, money may be a means to express pride and assumed happiness but it may not be the absolute source of happiness. But on the other hand, through institutional structure of governance the money has been made to be seen as a symbol of who one is and how one projects to the obsrvers. The more money one has the more challenges they face both at home, in business and social life. More money means more demand and consumption and therefore more bills and expenses.
    The greatest challenge with money is that is gives us good life but once our time is up, what happens? Why do we need more than necessary?

  • Comment number 33.

    Money is merely a medium of exchange. Whether it brings you happiness depends entirely on what you exchange it for.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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