Yesha Callahan

They Got It Wrong, Money Can Buy You Happiness

Researchers at the University of Columbia are calling BS on the general idea that money can’t buy happiness. According to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science,  material items are more likely to give individuals happiness when compared to experiential purchases, such as traveling or attending sporting events. The self-reported survey, conducted by Aaron Weidman and Elizabeth Dunn, focused on a person’s emotions while in the moment of a purchase, and reassessed those feelings throughout an extended period of time.

Here’s how it all went down: Participants were asked to write down their feelings following the transaction in a daily diary. After six weeks, researchers found that material purchases—which included everything from skateboards and sweaters to coffee makers and portable speakers—provided people with more doses of happiness than the experiential purchases. But, experiential purchases seemed to provide a much more intense, yet fleeting, state of joy.

“The decision of whether to buy a material thing or a life experience may therefore boil down to what kind of happiness one desires,” Weidman told Science 2.0.  “Consider a holiday shopper deciding between tickets to a concert or a new couch in the living room. The concert will provide an intense thrill for one spectacular night, but then it will end, and will no longer provide momentary happiness, aside from being a happy memory. In contrast, the new couch will never provide a thrilling moment to match the concert, but will keep the owner snug and comfortable each day throughout the winter months.”

So there you have it kids. You might still have a hell of a time buying love but you can drop a few coins on some new limited edition shimmer eyeshadow for a quick mood boost. And then maybe wear that shadow to dinner later. And then come home to that new couch and snuggle up with that new puppy.

Albeit temporary, money can buy happiness. What are your thoughts?

  1. December 25, 2015 - Reply

    I call BS on this study. A thrill, happiness and joy are three different things. Even when we buy material things, that thrill eventually fades over time. Joy is a state of mind. You can’t put a price on happiness, otherwise you would constantly have to spend money if that was the case.

    People think they need things to make them feel happy because that’s what the salesman tells them, that is what the advertisement tells them and that’s how products are marketed. But it’s a lie. The best things are always free.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @Mahogany

      Yes! Isn’t it funny how someone will buy the latest car, but the next year, they have to buy something better? They always have to up the ante because the novelty worse off.

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @Mahogany

      money can’t buy happiness but it can provide the freedom to pursue what would make one happy. if the things that makes one happy are simple enough, they probably don’t need any money to be happy. for most people, they need the freedom that money can provide in order to pursue those things that makes them happy.

  2. December 25, 2015 - Reply

    It is really very simple: not to have to worry about money brings contentment in and of itself. Not to have to worry about paying for the theater tickets or the couch is happiness itself. Whatever, having wealth makes it all a lot more palatable.

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @mariah asphalt

      But you know what, Mariah? It might bring contentment in some ways, but in other ways, it doesn’t. Many a wealthy person is looking for something to fill the empty holes money can’t fill. I’d love to never have to worry about financial issues and such, but if you look into the lives of the wealthy, you will see that many are messed all the way up. One can only buy so many things or go on so many trips. After it’s all said and done, what else is there? Many wealthy people overindulge in sex, drugs, alcohol, and other negative activities. Many are even mentally ill. Look at Howard Hughes. He was a recluse and experienced a lot of physical pain and compulsions.

      • December 27, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        Howard Hughes was something else. He was very insecure.

      • December 30, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        Or Charlie Sheen. Look at how his life is currently going.

        • December 30, 2015 - Reply

          @paintgurl40

          Exactly!

  3. December 25, 2015 - Reply

    I don’t see how happiness can be completely quantified scientifically. Happiness means different things to different people. The obsession for money for selfish purposes is one reason why the Great Recession existed in the world in the first place. Money can buy temporary comfort, but money can never buy happiness fully. Happiness is not based on a price tag and it has no monetary value. Happiness is a great feeling that lasts for a lifetime. It is the feeling of helping others, it is sense of purpose, and it is the inspiration to do something because you sincerely love doing it. Also, many rich folks have tons of problems and live with many complications. So, having a lot of money doesn’t necessarily mean that problems are expunged or eliminated. The amount of help given to the poor, the fight against poverty, and the building of our communities are more important than buying material items. Buying items may create joy and a great feeling, but happiness is much deeper than simple joy and an emotion. Happiness deals with the love of ourselves and love for others. It is goal that we are fighting for while we live and it is deals with mutual cooperation and selflessness.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      Again Truth, you touched on some very important things. Happiness is a state of mind and doesn’t have a price tag. When I traveled to Mexico, I stayed in a local area. The locals didn’t have much add would be considered ‘poor’ here in the U.S. but they took great care of what they have ads most importantly they looked happy.

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @Mahogany

        Interesting story Sister.

        Happiness doesn’t have to be complex. It can be part of people having fun or doing an occupation that makes people cheer in positivity. Sometimes, we have to look at the bigger and that entails realizing our common humanity.

        Thank you for your great insights.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      Truth, you sure did touch on so many great points! Some of the happiest people I know are those who give, but they have very little. They are some of the most fulfilled people and their sense of happiness, joy, and well being have nothing to do with what they have, but what they give. Our society has its hand out all the time. Capitalism is a selfish thing. Consumerism is what’s causing many of us (Black folk) to be perpetually poor.

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        Yes, there are many poor and working lass people who give all of the time to charities, and other organizations involved in helping people. Many of them are very happy. Happiness is not gauged by income level. Happiness is based on what is found in a person’s internal being and their sincere convictions. I recall the great value of community support, solidarity, and unity (as found in Black Wall Street and other times of our history). Consumerism readily leads into economic stagnation and greed. Capitalism is not perfect at all. It is selfish. That is why people fought for better wages and better working conditions. We have to create unique strategies to combat poverty.

        • December 26, 2015 - Reply

          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          Exactly!

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        Goodnight Sister.

        Bless You like always.

        • December 26, 2015 - Reply

          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          Good night, brother. Bless you like always too! ?

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

      Eloquently stated.

      • December 27, 2015 - Reply

        @Mary Burrell

        Thank you Sister.

        My mother is a wordsmith. She loves to write. She is a better writer than me. My father loves to study history and politics.

        • December 27, 2015 - Reply

          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          Thumbs UP to PARENTS who DO Parent!!!

          • December 27, 2015 - Reply

            @RaiseTheBar

            I appreciate your great words Sister.

        • December 27, 2015 - Reply

          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          Your parents made a great investment in you got a great return.

          • December 27, 2015 - Reply

            @Mary Burrell

            I greatly appreciate your kind words Sister Mary Burrell. Certainly, we are family as black people and we want the same goal (which is the eradication of oppression, so justice is made real for our Brothers and for our Sisters).

        • December 27, 2015 - Reply

          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          I agree with all the replies, Truth! That’s what good parenting looks like, brother.

          • December 27, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            I really appreciate your kind words Sister. We are certainly inspired by our relatives and by our ancestors (who sometimes sacrificed with their lives in order for us to live in this generation).

            • December 27, 2015 - Reply

              @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

              Thank you, brother. They are well-deserved. We owe it to our relatives and ancestors to be the best we can be and to pick up what they’ve laid down.

              • December 27, 2015 - Reply

                @Noirluv45

                Tabernacle and Amen Sister.

                They laid down an exceptional foundation with their courage, ingenuity, wisdom, strength, and determination.

  4. December 26, 2015 - Reply

    Money cannot buy you happiness. But it can buy you financial stability, and provide opportunities to you and your offspring. I grew up poor, we didn’t have very much. But I never knew that until I got older, my mom was creative and made sure we had the basic necessities. Clean clothes, full stomachs and lots of love, we were happy kids.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @i mean

      Yes!

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @i mean

      That’s wonderful.

  5. December 26, 2015 - Reply

    Money could make me comfortable but not happy, I believe there are many wealthy people who are very miserable.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Preach Sister.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Go on and tell it, Mary!

  6. December 26, 2015 - Reply

    The latest installment of, “Retail Therapy”

    Sponsored in its entirety by the “Council of Keep the Masses in a State of Perpetual Anxiety” so they’re constantly buying $tuff they don’t need and can’t afford.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @RaiseTheBar

      YOU ARE RIGHT and it makes you wonder who own some of these so call black blogs that post such bogus articles to negatively influence young black people.

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @trueletterson*vwfone@gmail.com

        I don’t wonder.

        Just because some may be skinfolk doesn’t automatically make them kinfolk. SOME are dollar bill GREEN people (Capitalists) — Brain-washed, mislead or self-serving dollar bill GREEN people.

        • December 26, 2015 - Reply

          @RaiseTheBar

          you are right and I don’t wonder anymore, but I will admit when I finally came to terms with what I was seeing I was surprise, I was surprise to see that black folks was conscientiously writing or posting bogus brainwashing articles targeting young black people and it was hard for me to rap my head around it.

          • December 27, 2015 - Reply

            @trueletterson*vwfone@gmail.com

            “…hard for me to rap my head around it.”

            Yes,

            the Psychology of WHY???? is overwhelming!!!

            SOME once oppressed and exploited themselves have become the Oppressors and Exploiters. A few exist in an opulent lifestyle while the majority struggle to obtain the most basic living necessities.

            If A black face on a pack of cigarettes, liquor bottle, prescription meds or a so-called man of God (milking economically-challenged people for “Funds for a ‘Private’ Jet”) can easily mislead “youngers”, it’s because “Elders” are not doing their “LIFE Work” with regard to parenting, mentoring, schooling the “youngers”.

            When a 50+ grandmother’s answer to the government’s economic challenges is to print more money (paper), it’s apparent how “youngers” can fall PREY to the Propaganda of the Marketing Machine.

            • December 27, 2015 - Reply

              @RaiseTheBar

              you are exactly right and this also point to our children conduct and behavior which almost always points to the parents or the lack there of, because we can’t control the Propaganda Machine, but good parenting can control and nullify some of the influence the propaganda machine have over their offsprings.

              • December 27, 2015 - Reply

                @trueletterson*vwfone@gmail.com

                “…good parenting can control and nullify some of the influence the propaganda machine have over their offsprings.”

                ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @RaiseTheBar

      Exactly. Please look up and read Edward Bernays’ book Propaganda. It was written in 1928 I think. Anyway his work is the foundation of all modern propaganda and advertising systems in effect today. This “study” is nothing more than some more of the garbage they spew to keep us endlessly consuming easily breakable unecessary junk. If you are unsatisfied emotionally and spiritually no amount of material goods will ever fill that void.

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @bluelight74

        Exactly.

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @bluelight74

        Preach.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @RaiseTheBar

      OK now!

  7. December 26, 2015 - Reply

    don’t fall for the bull chit y’all cause money can’t buy you love nor happiness BUT IT CAN GET YOU CLOSE!

  8. December 26, 2015 - Reply

    Money is a tool and should be used as such, so if you don’t know how to use and spend money it would always be a burden, something on your mind and make you unhappy. And acquiring a bunch of stuff doesn’t make you happy, you may be happy for the moment if you purchase something but what after. Money can make a lot of things easier and more things accessible to you but it can’t make you happy. Happiness comes from within you and your mindset, so you can be happy whether you are a dirt poor or swimming in money. It all depends on what you value and the enjoyment you get out of your own life.

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @binks

      Tell those young black athletes and celebrities that who run through their money buying a hundred vehicles and other foolish things. You can always tell the new money folks some of them buy the gaudiest things.

  9. December 26, 2015 - Reply

    money can buy most anything, including happiness.

  10. December 26, 2015 - Reply

    I’d hate to depend on money to buy my happiness because what happens if and when it’s no longer around? There are many wealthy people who lose it all. If money = happiness, they’d be unhappy when it was gone. One can only buy so many material goods. One can only go on so many trips. Do I like having money? Yes, because having money is a good and necessary thing, but I don’t depend on it for my happiness.

    • December 26, 2015 - Reply

      @Noirluv45

      You’re right. At the end of the day, money can help people, but it can’t save a soul and it doesn’t define our humanity.

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

        Let the church say, amen!

      • December 26, 2015 - Reply

        @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

        Happy New Year to you and yours,Truth.

        • December 26, 2015 - Reply

          @Noirluv45

          Thank you Sister.

          Happy New Year to you and yours as well Sister.

          • December 26, 2015 - Reply

            @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

            Thank you, brother!

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @Noirluv45

      I think of Michael Jackson who seemed very lonely and sad even though he was the most famous human on the planet. People were always using him and looking for a meal ticket.

      • December 27, 2015 - Reply

        @Mary Burrell

        Good point, Mary! He’s a perfect example of money not buying happiness. In fact, they said he spent money he didn’t have. I remember seeing a video of him walking through a store and picking out item after item to purchase.

  11. December 27, 2015 - Reply

    Being poor sucks but I think if I had a lot of money and material things with fake fair weather friends that would be miserable too.

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      That’s a great point. If someone is very rich, someone has to be careful with their resources (since nefarious people in many cases will try their best to take advantage of folks who just received a lot of money) too since the IRS will be on resources like a hawk. Regardless if someone is rich, middle class, or poor, real ethics should be advanced.

    • December 27, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Yassss,

      therein lies Keys to ANSWERS:

      LANGUAGING!, especially internal dialogue with regard to thoughts, beliefs, values, FEELINGS.

      Poor, Rich

      money(paper), stocks, bonds (more paper) — abundant

      Morally, Spiritually, BANKRUPT

      What is RICHness? Which is Poverty?

    • December 30, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Right. You get a new set of problems and anxieties. Now you have to worry about keeping your eyes on it at all times. Money comes and goes throughout life so the idea that more money is equalled to happiness is false. Not having THE BURDEN OF DEBT will make one a happier person! Having some sort of retirement plan will ease some anxieties as well. I choose to be grateful for what I have and not focus on what I don’t anymore.

  12. December 27, 2015 - Reply

    I know a few people who are shopaholics just buying stuff to fill the empty void inside themselves.

  13. December 28, 2015 - Reply

    If happiness was a pie chart money would constitute 85% of that chart. There is no way one can be happy without access to basic necessities. Money is needed for that.

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