Do any of you wonder whether your life would just be better if you had more money? What about the thought of being rich. I mean absolutely wealthy. How do you think your life would be? Would you be stress-free? Would you be happier than you are now?
These are the thoughts that go through my head often and this topic was the main point of discussion during my most recent podcast episode with my co-host Chantz Visse. Just an FYI, we seemed to choose Bill Gates as the main person to “rip on” but honestly we have nothing wrong with the guy and he seemed to be the main scapegoat of the conversation. For all we know Bill Gates could be living an extremely happy, fulfilled, and perfectly intentional life.
💰 My Thoughts
With that being said though… there is a limit to how much money can bring you happiness. On top of that, there are things that come with more money that can cause you greater levels of stress. Growing up I heard the phrase, “higher level, higher devil” a LOT. As I’ve gone more and more down the rabbit hole of intentional living, minimalism, and self-development I have realized that it’s true. So many people from my point of view seem to be living the life that may not be the best for them. Now I know that may seem blunt so let me explain.
First and foremost “the American dream” can be the dream for some, however, I firmly believe that it is not a one size fits all dream. How many times do you or someone you know end up doing something that falls in line with the American dream just to be disappointed? Did you buy the house with the white picket fence? If so how much value do you get out of the house that you bought? Do you not use half of the house? Think about it. I’m not saying that this type of scenario isn’t for someone, however, I just would like to point out that it most likely is not for everyone.
More money in the current consumerist world that we live in generally means more owning things. More things to me and many others means more stress (even if you don’t want to admit it). Fairly recently there has been a minimalist movement that has fought back against the consumerist norm that exists in the world right now. It’s brought a very trendy stance that’s centered around the idea that less is more. If you or someone you know is struggling to get through their day-to-day life without high levels of stress and disdain for what you are doing, then it’s very possible that the “normal” way of life is not for you and that’s ok.
People are going so far nowadays as to adopt a “small living” life and mindset. People quite literally are living in tiny houses that manage to pack the same level if not more happiness in them than the large houses that many people believe they need to feel happy. If you want a quick read on this interesting trend click the link
🔎 The Research
According to a Harvard study, money can actually buy happiness but it has significant diminishing returns past $75,000. That’s actually crazy to me. Sure it’s nearly six figures and the average American would probably be pretty happy to make that much money, however, I hadn’t really considered that this is the number economists have put on the “maximum happiness” that money can buy. It’s not $1,000,000 or more than that.
Years ago if you were to tell me that a rich celebrity couldn’t find something to do with their millions of dollars that would make them happier than me I would have thought you were lying. But recently I am starting to understand why it makes sense.
If you look at the standard of living in a place like the United States and what is considered to be “Middle Class” the actual range for that group of people is from $40,000-$120,000 and for the purposes of this article that’s really not that far off from my new frame of mind surrounding this topic. I say that because you truly are not worrying about where your food, housing, or mild levels of entertainment are going to come from with that level of money in America.
If you have that kind of money, then you can find the kind of life that you want without having to stress about where the money for your next meal is going to come from. Past that, we as humans do have other needs of course, but it’s not necessarily money that makes people happier overall.
If someone working a job that makes them $75,000 feels more fulfilled in what they do for a living than someone making $100,000 then should they really switch jobs? The question of job satisfaction vs a larger paycheck is something that many people should consider as the research shows that fulfillment surrounding what you do is much more important than chasing a big payday in something that you really don’t enjoy.
👤 What This Means For You
To be honest, this may all be different for you and how your mind works. I really cannot say whether you making more money or not is going to make you happier past a certain point. While the research may suggest it, I’m sure there are other studies that say the opposite of that would at least argue the diminishing returns are there but not that incredibly drastic. I’m prefacing all of this blog post only to point out that the life you are living may not be the one that you want to be living. It may mean you should be living with more. It may mean you should be living with less.
In my opinion and in the opinion of the entire minimalist movement it would be the latter, but I also think that what is even more important in this discussion is that you live your life intentionally. Posing the question to yourself, “Is this the life that I want?” is going to go a long way on your path towards building a better life. I ask all of you reading this to give the principles of minimalism a try and see whether you live like you make less money by owning fewer items that will bring you more happiness and decrease your stress. I’ve tried it and believe me, it did not physically hurt to try it out.