Money Can’t Buy Happiness. Or Can it?

Published: April 22, 2015 at 8:51 am

Last Updated on

When you can spare the time, go to Google, and type, ‘Money Can’t Buy Happiness’ and click on images. You will find a host of interesting memes and quotes. Please don’t do that now, for your presence here is valued, and your response is requested.

The title should remind those  familiar with the Beatles of the unforgettable lines

I’ll give you all I’ve got to give
If you say you love me too
I may not have a lot to give
But what I’ve got I’ll give to you
I don’t care too much for money
For money can’t buy me love

Love, perhaps. What about happiness?

May I request you to please answer,

What percentage of your top desires depend on money?

  1. Suppose you mentally list 3-5 things or changes that you desire in your life today.
  2. How many of them directly depend on money?
  3. If for example 3/5 desires depend on money, can you please list in the comments section as “60%“? Please don’t mention your wants/desires.

Let me do this exercise to illustrate.

What are my top dreams or desires today, if realized, would make me happy?

  1. I wish I would be cured of my auto-immune disorder. Money can’t do that!
  2. I have a rather personal desire which would change the way my family lives each day. Money can’t do that!
  3. I lived in a mansion as a boy and had oodles of space to play and think. I long for an independent house. Not in the outskirts of the city, but in the centre. This needs money, impossible amounts of money.
  4. I long for financial freedom. This involves increased cash flow or increase in net worth.
  5. If I had done this exercise about 20 years ago, I would have said, I want to live in a Tahitian island (surrounded by uninhibited locals, if you can catch my drift!)  as Marlon Brando’s neighbour.  Money could do that, but for a variety of reasons, I will now have to strike this off the list! FYI: Brando is dead and his estate – one of  the richest earning among dead celebs- does not include the island .

So that is four legitimate desires out of which two require money. So my score is 2/4 = 50%. Can we say 50% of my desired happiness depends on money? Wonder if it is 100% for young people and gradually drops as they age.

Can you please share your percentage score alone in the comments section?

What is the purpose of this exercise?

I wish I could give you some lofty reasons for requesting this information from you.  I wish I could tell you this is part of some physiological questionnaire that will provides insights in your personality.

Sorry, I can’t. On a visit to a clinic, I saw a poster for world happiness day (March 20th) and thought about how much money plays a role in it.

So I was curious to find out my score. I am curious to know yours. If you can empathize  with my curiosity, please do share your score. Perhaps we will all collectively get something to ponder about from the data.

I found the apt response to my first two desires in this quote:

Photo Credit: BK (flickr)
Photo Credit: BK (flickr)


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About the Author Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations on the basis of money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association. For speaking engagements write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com
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