Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems?

Panorama debates the age old proverb, “Money can’t buy happiness”
Mo Money, Mo Problems?
Can Buy

“Money can’t buy happiness” is a common statement echoed across the world. While the saying reflects virtue and thankfulness, there’s just one problem, the people who utter these words are the same people who have never seen true wealth. In a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, 81 percent of Americans born after 1977 were stressed about how much money they possessed. Stressing about money is a justified concern because nothing in this world is truly free. Between inflation, balancing needs and wants, going out with friends and everything in between, almost nobody would say no to a few extra dollars in their account.

On more than just a personal scale, an increase in wealth would bring an uptick in happiness to the entire population. The elimination of poverty, homelessness and hunger would have the largest global ripple effect of positive change. According to the United Nations, over 1 billion people live on just one dollar a day. If everyone had more money, their lives would change for the better. The weight of stressing about bills, food, gas and basic necessities would be lifted forever. Furthermore, money can also buy your happiness in the form of wants and opportunity. That fancy car you’ve always wanted, your dream home with the backyard that you like,  or literally anything your mind can construct — money could get it done.

Money doesn’t just buy our wants and needs, but the wants and needs of those around us. Case in point, happiness can come from watching our loved ones open a gift that they’ve always wanted. Happiness is subjective and comes in many forms, but the one constant is that money is the driving factor for many of them.

Cannot Buy

In the Pursuit of happiness, some view the notion that “money can’t buy happiness” as more of a comforting cliché than an absolute truth. Despite the cultural glorification of wealth, it’s evident that a larger bank account doesn’t guarantee a life filled with joy and contentment.

Money can indeed fulfill basic needs, and offer comfort, but it falls short in satisfying deeper human desires. True happiness, according to psychologists, stems from meaningful connections, a sense of purpose and the pursuit of passions. These aspects of human experience cannot be bought; they are nurtured through personal growth, relationships and contributions to a greater cause.

Additionally, research indicates a diminishing return in the relationship between wealth and happiness. Beyond a certain income threshold — according to Purdue University, around $60,000 to $75,000 annually for emotional well-being — further wealth accumulation doesn’t impact overall happiness. This means that for most Americans, pursuing wealth beyond what’s necessary will not enhance their quality of life.

Furthermore, the relentless pursuit of wealth can come at the expense of relationships and our health. The pressure to amass wealth can foster a culture of competition and comparison, which can erode the fabric of genuine human connection and empathy. The time and energy devoted to accumulating wealth can also detract from spending time with loved ones, engaging with community and self-care. This imbalance can lead to feelings of isolation, stress and emptiness, despite material success.

Ultimately, the phrase “money can’t buy happiness” emphasizes the importance of prioritizing personal relationships, something we can all benefit from,  regardless of the digit amount in your bank account.

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About the Contributors
Junior Alzhraa Mahmoud is a first year staffer on Panorama. In her free time she enjoys crocheting, knitting, and rewatching the Monk series (go watch it, it's really good).
Michael Zegel, News, Health & Sports Editor
Junior Michael Zegel is a Health & Sports editor on Panorama. This is his second year on staff. Michael found an interest for journalism through scrolling through twitter and trying to hack photoshop.
Olivia Chen, Art Editor in Chief
Senior Olivia Chen is the Art Editor in Chief and it is her third year on Panorama. She loves music and movies.

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