Monday, February 25, 2013

Can Money Buy Happiness?

The Beatles' song Can't Buy Me Love was released in 1964, and at the time I didn't know much about money or love, since I was a just a second grader! And while I'd like to think I've learned a lot about both during the intervening years -- frankly, I'm pretty sure I still don't know much about either one.

Back in 1964, Can't Buy Me Love's meaning was the subject of much debate, with various interpretations being offered, none of which requires the use of too much imagination. But when Paul McCartney was asked what the song was really about, alluding to his new-found fame he allegedly said, "The idea behind [the lyrics] is that all these material possessions are all very well, but they won't buy me what I really want."

So okay, I get it: money can't buy love. But can it buy happiness? Now that's a different question. 

In a recent blog post entitled How Does Your Income Determine Your Well-Being?, therapist Christy Matta says, "As much as income and well-being may be connected, it's important not to give that link too much weight. How you live your life, the values you live by, the pleasures you take in the small moments of your life, your connections to the people important to you and your general outlook all have as much and likely more of an impact on your individual happiness."

In working with clients, I almost always review with them current sources of stress in their lives. Worries about money and finances often come up toward the top of the list, and without a doubt can be a contributing factor to one's overall sense of unhappiness. However, I agree with Matta -- finances are only a part of a much bigger picture, which also includes factors like self-esteem, general positivity, good health, and healthy relationships.

It's been said, "Money can't buy happiness -- but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable!" What do you think? Say more about that...