Can Money Bring Long-Term Happiness?

Can Money Bring Long-Term Happiness?

Absolutely! Was that not the answer you expected?

Wait, wait. Hear me out. I know that everyone argues that money can’t “buy” happiness—and for this, I absolutely agree. Money can buy everything but it can’t buy emotions. I know that you know that, it says so right in the cliché: Money cannot buy happiness.

But can money bring long-term happiness? For this, I say yes, absolutely.

Here is where my opinion differs: I have spent years stressing out about money. How to pay my bills on time, juggle personal wants over financial needs. How to stop comparing my bank account to that of my friends, or how to say, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t afford to go out tonight.” Or even better, how to say, “Can we do something more affordable?” I have learned how to make the hard choices, but only because I spent years trying to keep up with friends, without ever knowing that they were doing the same thing.

Because of it, we’re all in debt. It’s only been through forcing myself to have awkward conversations with friends about money that I’ve learned we’re each struggling in our own way. None of us has money really figured out, and we’re all living outside of our means. Until we’re able to have these conversations with each other, though, we just assume that we’re struggling alone and that everyone else in our life has everything sorted out.

I remembered I knew about the credit card after I graduated from my university. At that time, the credit card becomes the new payment method in Vietnam that attracted people to apply. My first credit card is from HSBC that gave me credit limits. Honestly, I was not familiar with this new payment that I had just been happy to my stuff upfront without concerning the lack of my current cash. Moreover, Vietnamese people do not consider the credit score as American people, we do not need to build up the credit score.

In contrast, when I moved to the US, money has brought me nothing but stress since I need to pay a lot of different bills. There is no doubt that the living cost in the US; especially in San Jose, is too expensive for living. As the result, So two years ago, I decided that my new goal was to “figure out” money.

Figure out my credit score, and how to improve it. I should learn how to increase my credit score as much as possible since the credit score is the vital factor in my financial life. Close the accounts that were a hassle, learn how to decide between a want and a need. Learn how to shop around and be a smarter consumer—and in some cases, learn how to make things myself instead of just buying an overpriced item because it was easier to pick it up at Target (speaking of which, have you ever looked at the price of shelves? $25-40 for a shelf. And most of the time it’s not real wood. I’ve learned to go to Home Depot, ask the right questions, and seek out different options).

Money can’t buy happiness, but understanding money allows us to make fewer financial mistakes, avoid the stress of late bills and making that difficult decision between buying food or paying rent on time. And that, on its own, brings happiness—if only because without the stress, we’re already happier for it.

Being able to make financially smart decisions that don’t have hidden long-term impacts can improve our lives, but the first step is in understanding our income, our budget, and where our money goes each week. On its own, money will never “buy” us happiness—it is what we do with the money that can bring us long-term happiness.
Have you always wanted to travel? Figure out how much you can put aside every paycheck to fund a trip. Have you always wanted to have a savings account but find that you’re constantly living paycheck to paycheck? Put away what you can, even if it’s just saving up your change or recycling money and adding it to an account that slowly grows over time.

Money is never going to buy us happiness, but if we take the time to address our financial concerns instead avoiding our financial problems, we’ll never get to the point where money doesn’t stress us out. And that stress? That’s what keeps us from being happy.
So this year, if you find yourself stressed out over finances—it’s time to sit down and start learning. Learn where you can save, learn what you can save. No matter how much you make, or how little you feel you make, we all have room for improvement. It’s not going to change overnight, but it will change. And when that stress is gone and we know how to effectively manage our money? Then we will definitely be on the way to a happier existence.

I highly recommend you to read The Art of Money is a must-read book that Bari Tessler, the author, encourages us to start a healing journey into more happy, fun and mindfulness around money that will affect on each aspect of your life. This book is not only meaningful but also useful to empower each of us to balance between happiness and money. What counts is the way the author changes the way we understand our relationship to money that help you transform the relationship in a different way. As the result, It will transform your life.

Author

Amy Nguyen

Amy Nguyen

I feel happy to share my experiences with you about Travel - Food - Life around the world. I hope to inspire you to Live-Love- Laugh :)

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