What can money actually do for us today? The unbelievable thing about money is that it is no longer just printed on paper. Our world functions because of money and no matter how much we deny it, money can buy practically everything in this society, including happiness. It is quite debatable on how each of us think about this topic, and it is clear that our society is powered by money and without it, thousands of lives are left to die.
I live in Vietnam, where we would celebrate the Lunar New Year with an event called, Tet. The name itself makes all the children happy since it is a sign shouting, “Money is being given out!” One of the most joyful parts of Tet for us as children, is to receive envelopes of money and knowing that we can spend it on whatever we desire. As a teenager myself, I know that the money makes me feel more independent since I am in a position where I can decide what I want to spend it on. Whether it’s saving up for something that I’ve always wanted or even spending it on a present for someone makes me feel overjoyed. Before receiving money, we would wish the adults a Happy New Year with several quotes. In return for our enlightening messages we gain happiness by receiving money. Although money can’t physically buy happiness in this situation, it can clearly bring happiness and create an atmosphere where everyone feels thrilled.
It was believed that spending money on one's self-interest creates a stronger amount of happiness, however, after doing several surveys, it was revealed that self-interest doesn't make one as happy as giving to others. Actions such as donating to charity, buying a gift, and volunteering resulted in a larger amount of happiness than paying bills or treating ourselves (Dillner). Yes, this shows that money can buy us happiness. However, it is not only about spending this money on ourselves such as buying a new iPhone, but rather making use of this money by showing gratitude towards our friends and family. Everyone would obviously feel a great amount of joy when we get something that we have always desired. I think that it's one of the biggest and common creations of joy in our lives. However, when someone has been supporting us throughout our lifetime or even a small part of it, we feel the need to return the favor. Therefore, spending money on those recognizable people can bring a lot of joy since we are able to make not only ourselves but also the receiver feel appreciated.
Jason in the New York Times article, “Can Money Buy Us Happiness” stated, “Money does make me happy because it buys things that make me happy. I am pretty sure it will be the same for me as an adult. I would need a salary that can take care of my basic needs such as gas for my car” (Jason).
It is indeed true that without money, we can't cover our basic needs which causes a huge amount of stress. However, our basic needs comes from what we expect to have and what we want. Once we achieve those goals, it is obvious that we would feel happy. Besides the point of how much money we have, the more we fulfil our desires, the happier we will be. I don't think that this would be harmful if the person knows their limits and what use they can put their money to.
Another comment made by Candice from NewYork Times said, “I believe right now in my life money would make me a bit happier. Only because I wouldn’t have the stress of looking for a job or being able to go to college. But more money would take all the stress off paying for everything on our own away and let us relax and enjoy our lives more”(Candice).
Around the world, even in our own circle, we know others who still aren't happy with their income level. Their family could be struggling trying to survive to pay rent, bills, their children’s school and even more. With just a handful of money, it can make a huge difference. Especially for children and families on the brink of poverty. They can start a new life and not worry about their little earnings. In result of this, smiles are brought to everyone and an emotion that appears is also known as happiness.
As I have mentioned in the beginning, we live in a world where money is the key to functioning. You might think that it is not about the money, but it’s about the experience and the adventures we take in life. However, because of the society we live in, these experiences can’t be turned into reality if we do not have the amount of money to make it happen. For example, to go on a field trip would take money. Skydiving. Surfing. Theme parks. Or even the smallest activity such as having a family dinner, requires money. We only realize the importance of money when we don’t have enough to survive.
One quote that we might often hear is, “Each day is a gift and you have to cherish it. If you’re only worrying about money, there’s so much you can miss out on” (Reynolds). Although this saying is accurate, without money, there’s so much we can miss out on too. Money can take us on new explorations and all of the memories we create are ones to remember and cherish. These experiences provide more and more days of happiness. After all, we all want our happiness to last forever, but all of these goals can't be achieved without money.
There are several aspects that we can look at upon this topic. In the end, it depends on how one personally feels because someone out there can be just fine or maybe even happy with the little amount of money they have. But let’s be real here, if money wasn’t so important then why do we work? I know for a fact that anyone would prefer to be at home relaxing, or on vacation, or anywhere but work. Even though you could say the money you get is to pay off your needs, it not only increases the joy you have but also decreases the amount of stress and worries. Yet if you still persist that money can’t buy happiness, why do you continue to slave yourself? Think again. Money is everything in today’s civilization. In fact, it is the key to happiness.