Money can’t buy happiness. I have heard this a thousand times. Especially in a country where the average salary is R12 700 per month (that is $930 per month for international readers), we will try to find happiness in other areas of our lives. I got confronted with this topic very recently when my parents had financial trouble. My mother is one of the biggest proponents of “money can’t buy happiness”. The reality is that no-one is happy when you don’t see your finances making the end of the month and you are already three months behind on payments. Obviously, my brother and I helped dig them out of this hole. But let me promise you, happiness was not what they experienced. This made me think, if money does not buy happiness, the lack of it sure does guarantee sadness. Here are some of the reasons why I think money enriches your life.
1) Freedom to change career
I am a capitalist at heart. I feel that if you have a good business idea and start a company that makes millions, you deserve every cent that comes your way. If that same company pays me less that I feel my work is worth, it is not their fault. If you stay at a company where you are not happy, it is your fault. Having money gives you the freedom to choose a career that you love and an employer that appreciates your work. It allows you to say, “fuck it, I’m out”, if you are not happy with your job. Going to a company every day that appreciates your work and pays you accordingly, is happiness.
2) Don’t have to work
If you have enough money, you simply do not have to work. Do you have an unfinished woodworking project that you have been dying to get to for months now? Do you have a mother who has cancer that you want to spend her last few good months with? These sound far-fetched, but the point that I want to make is, that if you need time off, you have the option. You can take a sabbatical, or simply resign your job to do something that is important to you, without worrying where the money will come from.
3) Better medical care
You can also afford better medical care. You have the best medical aid and don’t worry about what an operation will cost. Even if the medical aid does not cover the operation, you still have the money to fund it yourself. This gives you the freedom to choose the best doctor without worrying about the costs. Even if you need to contribute to a family member’s medical expenses, you have it covered.
4) Spend money on experiences
Studies show that spending your money on experiences make you happier than spending it on possessions. I completely agree with this. When I look back on my life, I will remember hiking trips with friends, honeymooning with my wife in Italy and hopefully one day the birth of my children. Yes, not everything costs money, some experiences are free. The problem is that sometimes what you want to experience is on the other side of the world. Friends you dearly miss live in Canada or Australia. If you are struggling to make ends meet, this is not an option. Money gives you the freedom to be with who you want and be where you want. This is freedom of location.
Speaking of freedom of location, this will be the last post for a few weeks since I am off to Egypt on Friday for two weeks. I will do a post about the trip when I get back.
5) Provide for your family
I don’t need Warren Buffet money, but when my kid needs to go on a school tour, money should not be the issue. If my wife wants to go for a few beauty treatments monthly, I don’t want to it to even be a question, because I know it makes her happy. It is simple examples but being able to provide for the needs of my family without ever wondering where the money will come from, is happiness to me.
6) Live healthier
If you live a fulfilling live, you want to be around for as long as possible. You want to see your grand kids grow old and spend your last days walking on the beach without health problems. To achieve this, you need to live healthy, and healthy living is expensive. I have already touched on medical expenses, but it goes further than that. You need to eat healthy and exercise regularly. I’m not going to go into what healthy eating entails since this is a debate for another blog. I will leave that can of worms alone. But chances are sticking to your diet is expensive and you don’t want money limiting your options. Don’t get me started on gym membership fees at Virgin Active. At the rate it’s increasing, you should be able to buy a car for that monthly payment soon.
7) Be safer
Let us not kid ourselves, South Africa is not the safest place. Ideally, you want to live in a security estate where you have guards. It is not ideal, but it is the world we are living in. You also want a place where your kids can play safely. This costs money.
8) There is always an emergency fund
Cars break. and pipes burst. It is extremely important to have an emergency fund. When you do need to access this fund, the money needs to be replaced. An emergency fund makes sure that unfortunate problems do not put your living costs at risk. Having this money gives you peace of mind and helps you sleep at night.
9) It gives you more time
Live is short, much shorter than we think. Having time for the things and people we love is probably the most important advantage of having money. At least it is for me. If you don’t want to stand in line for a visa application, but rather want to meet your wife for lunch, you can hire someone to do the application. If you are a public person and you don’t have the time to manage a social media account, you hire someone. Money gives us the freedom to do what we want, when we want.
Yes, having a lot of money won’t guarantee that you are in a healthy relationship or won’t ever get ill, but neither will being poor. The point that I am making is that money solves a lot of problems. Problems that would have made life difficult. Money won’t fulfil your live (looking at a ridiculous bank balance on a screen is only fun for so long), but it will give you the means to pursue happiness and demolish a lot of stumbling blocks along the way.
Be safe out there,