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Money Can't Buy Happiness

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano



“Money can’t buy happiness.”


It’s a saying that’s been around for years – or, centuries, actually!


One version of the proverb can be dated back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who – in 1750 – wrote, “Money buys everything, except morality and citizens.” (Source). In the years since, the phrase has taken on a variety of forms:


Money can’t buy friends.

Money can’t buy everything.

Money can’t buy true wealth.


However, as ubiquitous as this truth is, many of us don’t seem to live with it in mind. We all know people (or perhaps identify as one!) who grind away at jobs they don’t enjoy, to – as Dave Ramsey puts it – “buy things we don’t need…to impress people we don’t like.” It’s an endless, greedy cycle, which has, in many ways, become deeply entrenched in the American lifestyle.

However, an often-cited Princeton study that correlated money and happiness found a peak around an annual salary of $75,000. In other words, happiness continued to rise as people made up to a nearly six-figure income, but any more didn’t equate to more happiness; in fact, it often resulted in more life stressors. People needed enough to not worry about their expenditures, but excess wealth didn’t enhance wellbeing.


If we take this finding – and the proverb at the start of this article – to heart, what should we be valuing over our bank account?


There is only one resource that, when prioritized, has been shown to increase happiness, health, and wealth! (Funny how that works!)


It’s TIME!


Consider just a few of the benefits of valuing time over money:

  • Stronger Relationships: Focusing on time encourages putting social interactions first, which boosts our personal relationships, community involvement, and overall wellbeing.

  • Better Work: Time-focused people are shown to be less stressed, more productive and creative, and less likely to quit their jobs. (Source)

  • Enhanced Contentment: Studies show that money-focused individuals are rarely satisfied upon reaching any level of wealth; rather, they continue chasing more and more in an unsatiable quest. In fact, in one survey of thousands of the world’s wealthiest people, respondents were asked how much money they’d need to be “perfectly happy.” The results? “Seventy-five percent (many of whom had a net worth of $10 million or more) said they’d need ‘a lot more’ ($5 million to $10 million, ‘at the very least’) to be happy.”


So, what are you prioritizing in your daily life? People or paychecks? Your money or your minutes? If you needed a wake-up call to re-evaluate your priorities, this is it! And if you’d like to talk with us about how you can increase your bank account as a byproduct of focusing on your health and happiness, we’d love to chat at hello@thejoshuagroupconsulting.com!

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