Money Can’t Buy You Happiness…But It Can Get You Awfully Close

Posted on July 25, 2013


They say money can’t buy happiness, but I’m willing to give it a try.

And how do scientists even know whether money can buy happiness without conducting empirical research on a subject, possibly someone like myself who volunteers to be given a million dollars a year for the rest of his life?

I’d do it. I’d do it for science.

Of course, I understand the basis of the idea that money can’t buy happiness. If I meet a girl and she won’t give me the time of day until she learns I’m a millionaire, maybe I’ll realize she’s only interested in my money and her company will prove unfulfilling and that shallow relationship won’t make me happy. I concede this point. But what if this shallow girl is extremely attractive, and I bring her to a party and all my friends and ex-girlfriends become jealous? Maybe her interest in me is fake, but because my friends and ex-girlfriends don’t know this, their jealousy is real. And maybe making other people jealous is the thing that makes me happy? Did you ever consider that, scientists?

They say money can’t buy happiness, but I’m convinced it can get you awfully close.

And even if it were true that money can’t buy happiness, the harsh truth is that the absence of money isn’t any guarantee of happiness either. I’ve known plenty of unhappy poor people, like my best friend Todd. Whenever I see him he says, “I don’t have any money to give you! You must owe me thousands of dollars and I’m not giving you another cent! You have thirty seconds to get off my property before I call the police!”

Does that sound like a happy man? Is that negativity conducive with the concept of a person who is happy because he has no money?

Or consider my kids: “Dad, why can’t we get vaccinations like all the other kids in school? How come we’ve never been to the dentist but you can afford to pour imported beer on your cereal?”

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy better teeth, better hair, better skin, and a gym membership, and even if you’re not happy, having people hit on you is a pretty fun distraction from being unhappy. And if you absolutely have to be unhappy and you spend each morning reciting an affirmation in the mirror, wouldn’t life be just a little bit better if that mirror offered a beautiful reflection?

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you a pretty good therapist. And maybe he can figure out what the hell’s wrong with you.

Posted in: Columns