Money can get you the house you want, the car you desire, the materialistic objects you seek. But does money really give you happiness, or just the satisfaction of owning things? And if it does not give us happiness, why do people behave as though it does?

Money can offer you the chance to enjoy your favourite hobbies and pastimes, so why is it the social scientists have found time and time again that only a moderate relationship between having more money and happiness exists? Some even argue that money may not have anything to do with being happy at all?

It is arguably true that money can give you the pleasing satisfaction that most people crave from owning objects, such as the nice car, the most expensive sofa, the limited edition door frame etc.

But what happened to the logical thought of getting the sofa that is most comfortable, the lamp that gives out the most light? It seems that, to a lot of people, the time of logical thought is gone and we are only interested in the competitive nature of having the most expensive things and an obsession of having objects that are better than other people’s.

It can be said, that yes, money does come into play when doing certain hobbies and activities and getting objects that give you enjoyment. However, a lot of people often obsess over money and exaggerate its power to give them the satisfaction of owning a lot of property, which is very commonly confused with happiness.

It is very easy to lose sight of what can really make someone happy nowadays and we could even speculate what ‘happiness’ is and how to achieve true happiness. But it is also very easy to substitute happiness with a lot of money, therefore it becomes easy to compare having little money with sadness, this should not be the case.

The illusion that money casts over society is a strong one and one that much of society falls for. We end up losing sight of nearly every other motivation and replace it with money. You could argue that a lot of people would agree that most of their dilemmas would be solved with money alone. This comes instead of trying to give rational thought to their own and others’ wellbeing, and thinking of alternative ways in which they could correct a problem and in turn find happiness.

Some research has actually concluded that sometimes money can in fact buy you happiness, when it comes to personal experience, especially with other people or friends and these can offer someone long-term fulfilment, also known as happiness. On the other hand, this research has shown that spending our money on materialistic things leaves us unsatisfied and wanting more, most of the time.

There are really two different aspects we must take into consideration, long-term overall happiness and ‘in-the-moment’ happiness. Because it is possible to be happy overall but have unhappy moments in one’s day, or week, at the same time. Comparatively, a person can experience small moments of happiness but be unhappy with their overall life. Interestingly enough, money can come into play regarding both of these aspects.

Regarding the overall happiness of a person’s life, owning a large amount of money can indeed carry this illusion of happiness through an expensive lifestyle. Money relates to those ‘in-the-moment’ times of happiness by granting us the ability to buy objects that may not be available to others, fuelling the competitive urge that society unfortunately owns which pushes us to always want to be better than the rest. Indeed, studies have been undertaken that prove that spending money on these ‘in-the-moment’ times for experiences with other people, as stated earlier, can in fact grant lasting happiness.

The problem is, like an addict, most of society has become addicted and obsessed with owning large amounts of money and believe that money can in turn grant us anything we desire. And this may be true, in which case it provides further evidence that we as a society believe that having better, more materialistic, objects than others gives us power. Maybe this need originates from an instinctual point of view where we must dominate and have greater power over one another.

In some cases, yes, money can give us happiness (mostly temporary) in materialistic objects. However it has been proven that using money to gain great experiences as an individual and with other people is much more beneficial in terms of giving us lasting happiness. But overall, most of the time to get money, you have to work for money. Therefore, the time that you could spend having these experiences with friends and family is instead spent earning more money, feeding the addiction of money and not really enjoying it for what it is.