Recently, Berkeley Wellness, an online resource for public health in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health, gave an update on what contributes to personal happiness.
One quality the survey mentioned contributing to happiness is, HAVING ENOUGH MONEY.
According to the survey, if you have enough money to get by on – pay the bills, save, enjoy a vacation – your chances of money contributing to your happiness are high. “Anything above that amount does not contribute that much more to increasing your happiness.” This year they put that optimal number at $75,000.
Reach 75k and your chances of reaching maximum happiness coming from money is reached. Anything more than that does not add that much more to your happiness from money.
That’s crazy, as far as I am concerned.
I needed more money than just “enough money” to contribute to my happiness. I needed a lot more money. I needed to be a millionaire “m”.
Being a “m” made me happy. Very happy.
I was working all the time. I loved my work. And the more I worked, the more work there was. The more work there was, the more money there was. The more money there was, the more work there was.
I was happy doing that. I had no problem doing that. A couple of times I worked so much I fell victim to illness that almost put me under, and if not under, at least put me a year or two closer. But, I have no complaints.
And for guys who get a lot of money but don’t work hard, all I have to say is, there is no such thing as easy money. There’s something ajar with the activity they’re engaged in.
But, there’s another way of looking at this that I admit to.
Before I started thinking about a magical dollar figure that would make me happy, I was a religion teacher. I worked very hard at my profession. My wife held to a very tight budget. Under these circumstances, I was neither happy nor sad. I was focused on my marriage, spending money providently, having babies, expanding my 950 square foot home to accommodate all of us.
I certainly didn’t make the equivalent of 75k in those days, but we had saved enough to take our kids to Disneyland once a year. We visited a lot of museums, trying to avoid modern art ones, because our fourth child Ryan would become dizzy and have to lie down to regain his balance. We occasionally took short vacations, and went to the beach a lot.
In those days, there were no “Happiness” surveys. But, was I happy? I think so.
So, if I was happy without the equivalent of “enough” money, and I am happy with money, what does that say about this latest survey about money and happiness? I think we should be careful about these kind of surveys.
There are too many conditions the authors have to interject in order to get a clear understanding between the words “happiness” and “money”.
In fact, through it all, I’ve almost always been a fairly happy guy. No matter the condition I found myself in as a young child, I was pretty happy. And that included being bedridden with polio for close to a year.
There have been short periods of being sad and down. But taken as a whole, they were short lived.
When I stare this thing down, I don’t think my happiness begins or ends with money.
Take heart, live life fully whatever your situation and you’ll find you’ll do ok.