A fist full of dollars


“Money does not bring happiness, but it definitely helps”. Or, said in another way: “Money does not make you happy but not having money probably makes you far less happy than you would be otherwise”.

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The relationship between money and happiness has been analysed deeply by poets, philosophers and scientists and they all conclude that there is no simple linear correlation between them. Indeed, the widely recognized and respected Harvard psychologist, Daniel Gilbert, usefully remarks that there is a demonstrable ceiling (between 50 and 75.000 dollars) after which, there is no discernible increase in happiness associated with an additional increase in income.

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I, also, am fond of pointing out that, starting from a certain level of annual income, you won’t be purchasing anything different just same things but more expensive (you probably already have a car, a watch, holiday booked abroad  etc. but probably not the same type as you would have if you yearly income were higher).

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Therefore, money does not bring you happiness but stops you from being unhappy, rather like an umbrella keeps you dry but doesn’t make the sun shine.

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So if money doesn’t make you happy, what does? For me, happiness is nothing to be pursued but something to be given, shared and appreciated when it comes to call. 

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Therefore, instead of using money as way to happiness it is better to think of ways to happily use money. And there is a certain consensus about potential sources of happiness linked to the use of money. Here are my favourites:

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a. Invest in experiences instead of goods

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b. Spend money on others

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c. Frequent little pleasures vs. one big moment: Happiness can quickly slip out of view no matter how much you’ve spent, so make sure you regularly top each other up, many small pleasures spread out over time are better than one big moment every year

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d. Delay gratification and enjoy the journey (get tantric with your pleasure).

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e. Differentiate between “I want” and “I need”. The dopamine hit of buying something new and shiny soon subsides. And you are in for a real downer when you realize you do not have the money for other things you really need.

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For all this, my advice would be “just grab the moment, not the cash”.



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