- Personal Finance
How Much Money Do I Need to be Happy?
A recent Gallup survey declared that you will be your happiest if your household is making $75,000 a year. It's not that you'll be less happy if you make more, but you won't be any happier. Reading this got me thinking, how much money do you really need to make to be happy? Do I need to make $75,000? Or maybe I'll be truly happy if I have a million saved up in the bank?
In order for you to know how much money you'll need to be happy, it's important to know what you need to be happy.
What do you think equates happiness?
What Makes You Happy?
When most of us dive deep enough into this question, we will discover that most of the things that we claim make us happy have very little to do with money at all. In fact, I bet your list would include some or all of these:
- Pride/Value in my work
- A family
- A relationship with God
- Ability to travel
- Financial freedom
The crazy thing about this list is that most of them don't require money at all! And those that do require very little. Yes, having a family can start getting expensive, as can the desire to travel. But still, does it really require as much money as we may make it appear to?
The Old Fisherman
There is a famous story about a rich CEO that goes on vacation to a small tropical island. While he is enjoying the beach he notices a local sitting under a coconut tree. As conversation continues, the CEO discovers that the local is a fisherman who owns a little boat and goes out to sea for a couple of hours every day to fish.
The CEO asks the fisherman, "Why don't you start spending your ENTIRE day fishing? Then you could make a lot more money from all of the fish you would catch."
The fisherman asked, "Why would I do that?"
"So that you could buy a bigger boat and hire someone else to help you fish."
"Why would I need to do that?" The fisherman asked again.
"So that you could catch more fish and hire more people. Eventually you could have an entire fleet of ships!"
"Why would I want to do that?"
The CEO, getting tired of this man's ignorance, continued, "Because you would be able to make more money and start beating out your competition. Your company could become international and you could become the largest fishing company in the world!"
The fisherman stared at the CEO blankly and said, "Why would I want to do that?"
"Because you would have all of the money that you needed and you could sell your company, retire, and spend the rest of your life just sitting on this beach enjoying life!" The CEO declared.
"Well," said the fisherman, "that seems to be what I am already doing. Why should I work harder when I can enjoy life now?"
The CEO left, realizing that this man was absolutely right.
What Are Your Values?
It seems to me that we often work for the wrong motives. Making money becomes the goal and we forget about living life. We make more money and think, "What if I lose this?" and so we work hard to make more. We spend so much time working that we forget to enjoy life. Rather than making money our slave, we become slaves to money.
What is important to you? If it is your family, ask yourself, what do I NEED to keep them content? You probably don't need to buy your kids the latest Xbox, flat screen tv, and remote controlled airplanes. Maybe, instead, spend several days just enjoying their company.
Do you enjoy helping those in need? Yes, you can do a lot with money, but when you personally get involved in someones life they become a person rather than just a project, and you create a relationship that is far more valuable than simply solving their temporary problem.
What You Really Need
To feel valuable and of significance to society we need relationships and work that challenges us. Money is not something that is necessary as long as all of our basic needs are met. This means that we should NOT become lazy and unproductive. Rather, we should focus on serving our families and communities to the best of our abilities and make money a sideline factor. At the end of it all will the amount of money in our bank accounts matter, or will it be the number of lives we effected?