Can you be wealthy and happy?

The amount of effort people will put in to becoming wealthy would seem to indicate a strong belief that having plenty of money is a prerequisite to happiness.

When I was little we were well off until my dad got seriously injured in an explosive accident. We lost it all and had to move out of the city.

When I was growing up in the bush, we had large income sometimes, and nothing at all at other times. As the oldest son these lean times were filled with chopping firewood, hunting for food, fishing and repairing logging equipment. All enjoyable and fun for any small boy. I was happy.

When we got paid for a completed logging contract, or were able to sell logs straight to the mill, we had large amounts of cash. At these times I could still go hunting or fishing, or hone my wood cutting skills. I was still happy.

The pressure to be successful and bring home a decent meal of game or fish was very real. As a bush kid, it never worried me much. I was a very good shot with the .22 Gevarm and could take a rabbit with a clean head shot at 100 yards, thus getting the skin to sell as well as dinner.

On the occasions when I needed to be certain I got dinner, I used a twelve gauge Harrington & Richardson shot gun for snap shooting rabbits that were close and running. Either way, I was happy I could contribute. Usually my Dad and I would go hunting together, which I loved, but once he was injured in a logging accident so we lived off what I could kill with the shotgun and potatoes from surrounding farms. There were many times when my old 12 gauge or "betsy" fed us. I felt useful and happy and only noticed our poverty when I got hungry, which was not often.

I left the bush when I grew up and moved to the city where I found earning a living was so much easier. I was happy to be facing a new life. Having tasted business success at an early age when my father had a shop at one time, (another story, another hub) I decided to go in to business. My businesses became as well know to motorcyclists as Coca Cola is to teenagers, and I cleaned up big time!

I went and bought a classy car and still couldn't spend what was coming in! It was wonderful I had plenty of opportunity to mix with the other well off small businessmen. I then hooked up with a mentor who was the first proper millionaire I got to know. He taught me how to delegate and expand. I was very happy and wealthy.

I never tried to get rich, in fact I spent money so fast growing my business that I did not even know my profit margin or how much money I had and I was having far too much fun to be bothered watching my bank balance or thinking about the money in there.

When I opened my third shop In Balwyn I changed management style and decided to step it up a bit by employing two trained retail managers I had met while doing an expensive motivational training course.

I had done the training because a friend was running it locally after having completed the course himself, and talked me in to doing this American based course. I did the training mainly because my mate was a bit broke and needed the commission check which was substantial as I recall. I emerged from all the hype somewhat euphoric and disconnected from reality.

After employing the new managers, my business lost it's amateur look, profit margins moved up, service became regulated by time is money constraints and I was now unhappy! So were my customers.

Not happy with being unhappy I sacked my managers and decided to look closer at myself. By this time I had closed one shop, and had time, money and luck apparently.

I started reading Jung again, and researched post Jungian psychotherapists.

Someone canceled an appointment with the leading Jungian psychologist I wanted to see, and a two year wait was reduced to a week.

I started therapy immediately.

I regained my detachment from money, could see it again as a comodity and renewed the business consultancy I had opened in 1977 after a trip to New York, only this time I decided to go corporate with two trusted associates and charge like a wounded bull for my services like many of my competition did!

I got to travel a lot, got paid in USD (which was very good at the time) and had the time of my life, while my staff kept my one shop going like a rocket again in my absence.

Happy again!

The points I would try to make about money, is that if you have enough money to buy something to eat, somewhere safe to sleep and reasonable health, you can be as happy as you make up your mind to be.

You can have millions of dollars and be happy, you just have to be happy to start with. I found many rich people who are dependant on their wealth for everything. Without their wealth their "friends" would not even bother knowing them, their children hate their guts, the posh school they send them to teaches them to be corporate a*seholes, and they are miserable.

None of this misery has anything to do with their money. It is how they see themselves in relation to wealth that keeps these poor sods miserable while they rob everyone they know, so they can have more money so they can be happy. Illogical I know, but that seems to be the modus operandi

These people may be rich, but they sure are miserable poor buggers! It doesn't have to be like that. I have known two billionaires who were very happy, but neither of them were motivated by money in the first place, and both were generous, kind and caring.

I never had more than a few clients in all the years I ran my consultancy. I chose to work with those who were focussed on the project, not the money. These individuals are great to work for, they are quick, efficient and will always spend when it is needed.

I have seen the very rich lose lucrative contracts because they saw some expense they could not justify. Some of their reasoning was very child like, as are their motives in life, so unless one wants to deal with a board of neurotic little children,  give em a big miss, they make their money by other people losing theirs.

If you feel excited by having money, that is not a bad thing if it means you are going to share and enjoy your wealth. If you are making it so fast you can't spend it all like Bill Gates, then it's time to do as he has, and give it away to those who need it most, and rely on the cash flow to keep on coming. What better way to enjoy extreme wealth?

For those who are happy and enjoy having wealth, you are an asset to your family and the world in general if you use it to make others lives bearable. There is definitely a level where a lack of money destroys lives. Take care of some of that first, and enjoy your wealth even more!

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Comments 33 comments

telltale profile image

telltale 5 years ago

Happiness can be achieved if you are wealthy enough to realize and ensure that you are happy. If psychologically you think you are unhappy with all that money you earned, then you will become unhappy - that's what I think happened. I think without money is much more difficult to be happy when you have to think of how to solve the financial "mess" one gets into. Of course, this does not apply to everyone, but in general, wealth should be able to solve alot of issues relating to livelihood. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story!


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Enjoyed reading this article! I like your healthy attitude towards money and life.

I remember when I was in my 20's thinking, I am surrounded by other people's wealth (I was in Citigroup where we managed the accounts of the wealthiest people in the world), by opulence in my working environment, was involved with a very wealthy man in NY, and yet, I have never been wealthy. Even as a child, my sister and I stayed for one year in my wealthy grandmother's mansion (we have great memories) and then went back to struggle. Nowadays, I am in a better place, and much happier, don't lack anything, but it would be nice to have good money, even if my lifestyle wouldn't change. Knowing myself, I definitely would help others as I have already done this when I am able to.

Thanks for writing this, its giving me some food for thought.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks telltale, I like the idea that money is made round to go around. To care is to share, others who accumulate money for themselves are scared people. Unless money is made useful it is just paper.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks Violet, I replied to your comment but it has gone somehow. I notice that those who do share are not always rich or able to give very much, so it is nice when money comes to people who understand it's use and share some of it around.


diogenes 5 years ago

With one exception - which may prove the rule - all of my close friends in life have not been particularly well-off in a material sense. In a nutshell, especially in Britain, I do not care for rich people. And they like to be with birds of the same feather anyway. Earnesthub, This is a thoughtful, interesting and provoking article, voted up...Bob


boyatdelhi profile image

boyatdelhi 5 years ago

A Very eye opening hub. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Learned a lot from it.

Thanks


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

What a wonderful hub! If only more people saw money as a means to an end and not the end in itself, how much happier they would be! And when that end also includes making other people happy, that's happiness multiplied. I guess money brings responsibility along with it - to us, our families and to the less unfortunate, Unfortunately, most people like the smell of money too much to notice the responsibility. I love that line in your post - unless money is made useful, it is just paper. And your happiness shines through both the good times and the not so good!

I count myself lucky that I belong to a well-off section of society but we make it a point to live simply so we enjoy the simple things of life and don't get jaded. There's never enough of the latest model of cars or cellphones. There are enough around us who could use that extra money to have three square meals a day - and that happiness is so much more worth it.

Thanks for an uplifting hub!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

In our society, earnestshub, everyone must have a minimum level of income to fill our basic needs, but anyone who exceeds that minimum and doesn't use his wealth to benefit others is not likely to be a truly happy person. My late wife posted this quotation on a wall in our home: "Happiness isn't in having what you want but rather in wanting what you have." Thumbs Up.


sandra rinck 5 years ago

That was nice Earnest. I wish there were more people like you in the world. I have never been rich and I don't like it when "rich" people assume I am jealous or people for having money or that I just don't like rich people because that isn't true. I don't like people who make their fortune by "other people losing theirs".

Anyways I have a lot of respect for people who can do all those things for themselves like fishing for your dinner etc.

@ William, I really like your late wife's quote. :D


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Ern, I've never had a lot of money, but have always worked hard to provide enough money for my family. I will have to retire at some point and the problem may be deciding how much is required to sustain myself and my family. I won't have a yacht to service but Cappuccinos are expensive. Cheers


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you for the insights Bob, I believe the class system is still active in the UK, is that right? We still have a group in Australia who consider themselves to be elite, but it is an attitude despised by most of us.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks for the kind words boyatdelhi. I am honored that you learned from my hub.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Shalini, I love your attitude towards money. You are the type of person who understands life. It shows in your hubs too. I hope you remain financially comfortable, you are the right type of rich already.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

William, like Sandra I agree with your late wife. What you said about money and happiness is spot on too.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Sandra, the feeling is mutual.

I have watched your growth as a person in the forums and in your hubs. You have heaps of intestinal fortitude. I could never imagine you being confused about wealth and it's uses, and you are far too aware to be jealous of the wealthy.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks for the comment Keith. As a dear friend who I see often I will say you are one of the richest men I know. I find you to be a very happy and fun loving person who is quietly confident in yourself. Now that is rich!

As for money, you have always treated it as a commodity.

You may have to live off your hubpages income in retirement. Better write some more hubs!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

"I never had more than a few clients in all the years I ran my consultancy. I chose to work with those who were focussed on the project, not the money. These individuals are great to work for, they are quick, efficient and will always spend when it is needed."

I follow a similar philosophy with my clients. Good hub!


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

earnest, an interesting read. I was waiting for that old bit of nonsense that money can't buy happiness. It is usually told by people who have never had money or by idiots who have won big on the lottery, squandered their fortune and have wound up in huge debt due to personal incompetence. (Some of course have been ripped-off through no fault of their own.)It is also usually told by people who don't have guts, heart or a dream. I have at least two out of three. No one knows if they have the guts to handle real money until push comes to shove.

Having millions to me would mean not having to bother with a nine to five job and being able to concentrate on my writing. If I succeed as a writer all well and good but in any event I would have plenty to live on and no scrambling to find the doe to pay the bills. I could also travel at least once a year and in some style.

What you want out of life can be helped along by money but there is a trap. I know an elderly couple that are in the building trade. They were once worth millions of ready cash. They are now worth only thousands. The thing is they are in their sixties and won't stop working until they are once more worth millions. It is strictly a money dream they have and I can't see them getting what they want. They have a property worth about two million which they will not sell. They could be right for the rest of their lives but that is not enough for them. They have to be on top again and they are not very happy in their struggle to get there.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thank you Genna, it simplified my life considerably. It works a bit like the 80/20 rule.


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I believe that happiness has nothing to do with money. If one is unhappy and broke, more then likely, they will be unhappy and wealthy too!


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

2besure, do you have a dream? I bet you don't or it is real pedestrian stuff. Do you wish to travel? Probably not. Get a dream, a powerful dream, and then see where it takes you. A powerful dream and some common sense and a good manager who knows their stuff and wealth might have its benefits.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

Money tends to make people so insecure - whether they have too much or don't have any! It's a great idea to be happy with what you've got...and it's not all that difficult to simplify your life so that you don't hanker after all the trappings of wealth. Give me chocolate and I'm happy! :)


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Well said Feline, rum and raisin and I have all the wealth I need. I love chocolate, and apparently am healthy enough to gobble heaps of it. I love the very dark chocolate, or the ones with soft fillings, or nuts, or fruit, or....


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Rum and Raisins in chocolate is fine in winter. In weather like we are having at present in Oz I have my taste buds set on Rum and Raisin ice cream. Unfortunately I haven't seen any of it about of late.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

My second favorite thing Ron. I am always on the lookout for the ultimate run & raisin ice cream. There used to be a great place in Prahran, but it's gone now, as has the one in Toorak.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

A wonderful lesson and well worded hub. I am not in that class having money because I am have a rough, rough time but hopefull it will turn one day. Thank you for a great joy ro read you hub.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Thanks Hello, hello. I must say that you are a very well adjusted individual. I never noticed you mentioning this before. Seriously hope all goes well for you in the future. If there is anything that can be done to help you, feel free to ask. I'm glad you enjoyed this silly hub, I had fun writing it.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 5 years ago from Australia

earnestshub this is a very thought provoking Hub, for what it is worth I will share with you my philosophy of never mixing the two! Why would you need to equate the two? money cannot buy happiness and if you are happy you have no need for money!

As someone famous once said:

'East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet'

Now who was that, Mark Twain or Casey Jones? :-)

Oh no, it was Rudyard Kipling. Mark Twain said:

'Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt'.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi Agvulpes. Mark Twain had it right.


ekenzy profile image

ekenzy 5 years ago

Sure! but it's rare because wealth some times brings trouble. to make wealth may be easy but to maintain this wealth without troubles is quite very hard.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi ekenzy, I reckon the idea is to spend and keep making more than you need. If your retirement is taken care of, the rest is for living a good life!


oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 5 years ago from australia

earnestshub. Hi. We are wealthy beyond belief,but it has absolutely nothing to do with money.

Hard work ,good health and a great family is what makes us happy,not material things.

I am not saying that you can't be wealthy and happy,just that we do not need monetary wealth to be happy.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this very interesting hub.Thank you for sharing it with us :) :)


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia Author

Hi Oliversmum. That is real wealth.

The other stuff is a commodity once you have enough to eat and sleep safely.

Once the basic needs are taken care of, it seems we are happy or not based on our beliefs. I choose to be happy too.

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