Can money buy contentment?

GDP (gross domestic product) is a universally accepted method of calculating the state of a nations’ finances. However, Lord Richard Layard (professor at the London School of Economics) said that “GDP does not give a true indication of progress”. In the 1970’s, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan classified GNH (gross national happiness) into nine domains including: psychological well being, cultural diversity and resilience, (based on Bhutanese people - wellbeing referring to fulfilling the conditions of a ‘good life’). Money was not a focal point of the study.

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Money is not necessary to make you happy, as many studies have discovered. Have you ever seen beggars and homeless people on the street with genuine smiles on their faces? I have. I’ve wondered why, but whatever the case may be, it is possible to be content without lots of money. Of course, some would argue this is because people’s expectations are much lower if they have little to no money, so simple things make them happy. The more you expect from life, the more money you need to make it happen. Therefore, is simple joy better than constant need for ‘more’? No. Simple joy without trying to better ourselves and ‘making do’ with what we have is not a bad thing, it’s just that you could, and should, do better. Once you have bettered yourself by reaching and maintaining 70% Life Points, then this level of satisfaction can be your constant.

Poverty does not preclude having a satisfying life, but it will definitely limit your life experiences. You feel the joy of waking up and perhaps spending time with family and friends, you may be in good health in both mind and body, but regardless of all these things, having disposable income opens up your world to more experiences. I get great enjoyment from travelling and seeing new places. I’m not interested in staying in hostels any more or sleeping in tents, so I will stay in the best hotel I can afford. This brings a deep sense of excitement when I see, hear, and smell new places in comfort. Buying a new  car brings with it the  enthusiasm  which  I  used  to  get at Christmas as a child. Where I live makes me happy because I have a great view and love my area. This would not be possible if I couldn’t afford the time and expense. Your attitude to money is usually the factor that changes, and with it comes a sense of freedom from the shackles of making it in the first place. Once you understand money is there to be used and enjoyed, not to be feared and worshipped, you can use it to better your life, rather than letting it control you.