Almost everyone thinks that earning more money will make them happier. We think that being able to afford lifestyle upgrades like a bigger house and a fancier car will make us more satisfied with our lives. But psychological research has shown why money can’t buy happiness.
Purchasing material goods only gives us a small, fleeting amount of satisfaction. And once we reach a certain income level, relationships and life experiences give us far more contentment than bigger paychecks.
Being able to afford luxury goods is nice, but it’s far from necessary if you want to live a rich, fulfilling life. Here are three of the reasons why money can’t buy happiness that lasts.
Why Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Money Doesn’t Replace Relationships
You can have all the money in the world, but if you don’t have someone share it with, you probably won’t be happy. Studies have shown that friends and family are one of the biggest contributors to long-term health and happiness.
That’s why it’s important to make time for your friends and family and maintain a good work-life balance. If your pursuit of money is hurting your relationships, it may be time to pump the breaks a bit on your career.
Money Doesn’t Increase Happiness Past a Certain Point
If you have enough money to pay for your basic needs and some of your wants, your happiness won’t increase if your salary goes up.
Studies have shown that even the super wealthy aren’t happier than people who make $75,000 per year.
Americans who make less than that amount have lower life satisfaction because of financial worries. But once you have a high enough income to feel secure, earning more won’t boost your happiness levels.
Even Warren Buffet says that he could be happy living on $100,000 per year, which is just a fraction of his current net worth. He still lives in the home he bought in 1958 and is totally satisfied with his life despite not owning a mansion.
After you hit $75,000 per year, investing time into fulfilling hobbies and relationships will cultivate more happiness than climbing the career ladder just to build your wealth.
Buying Things Only Provides a Temporary Boost
One of the main reasons why money can’t buy happiness is because our purchases only provide us with a temporary mood boost.
Buying material goods only increases our happiness for a little while. The shopping high wears off quickly and makes us want another pick-me-up, which may be why so many Americans have consumer debt.
In some cases, buying things can even make us feel bad.
A recent study showed that purchasing luxury items can trigger some people’s imposter syndrome because they don’t feel like they deserve such expensive things.
The participants also said that luxury goods made them feel inauthentic. They didn’t feel like the high-end clothes and handbags they owned represented who they were, so they didn’t get much enjoyment or satisfaction out of them.
The best way to spend your money isn’t on material goods—it’s on experiences. Taking a long-awaited trip to Paris with your spouse will do more for your happiness than sporting an expensive watch.
But at the end of the day, the thing that makes experiences enjoyable are the people you share them with. So that’s why money can’t buy happiness—you need friends and family by your side to truly enjoy your life.