Money, Greed and Happiness

I want to share with you the message that was sent out today to subscribers of A Daily Dose of Happiness.  This is particularly timely because of the credit crunch that is making everyone suffer, but if you are a sensitive sort, you might not want to read any further; I am about to rain on most people’s parade.

The credit crunch is a product of – let’s not mince words – greed.  All of our greed.  We wanted more, more, more (SFX: maniacal laughter in background).  Well, we got more, more, more than we could ever hope to throw away without even opening the excess packaging.  Sooner or later we have to pay for it.  Sooner or later has arrived.

Today’s Daily Dose of Happiness Message 

You know that whole debate about money buying happiness. It gets overly simplified, like far too many things.

I recall attending a Zig Ziglar seminar a few years ago. He said, “Money is not the most important thing in life, but it comes reasonably close to oxygen.”

His point is well taken, but how much oxygen do you need? There is a point at which more oxygen can be a life-saver. There is also a point where more oxygen becomes overkill.

Likewise with money. The first dollar you make this year will be very, very important for your happiness. At some point, when your basic needs are secured, the value of money starts falling dramatically. The 100,000th dollar you make this year will likely bring some extra momentary pleasure, but is unlikely to  actually make you happier.

The key is to find the point at which money stops making you happier. Any investment of additional time to earn more money will actually reduce your happiness (more money that does not add to your happiness, less time that would have).

Any further compromise of values or principles required to earn more money will likewise reduce your happiness (more money that does not add to your happiness, less integrity that would have).

Instead of accepting that we have to pay for all the excess of the past couple decades, we want the government (that’s us, remember?) to buy us even more excess.  Yes, we in the Western world really are embarassingly spoiled rich kids.  The problem, as any credit counselor can tell you, is that you cannot spend your way out of debt.   And as we dig our way into even greater debt, I just cannot see how that creates more happiness.  I fear we are collectively handing over the keys to what I call “The Merchants of Misery” in my book, Climb Your Stairway to Heaven.


  1. Good Point but is that a daily dose of happiness?

  2. Hi,

    I stumbled accross your blog accidentally. Found it very interesting. I have always believed that pursuit of happines should be a sought after goal in our lives, instead of success. If you are happy you will be successful.
    I read somewhere that if you base your happiness on an event, you can never be happy in your life. I will come back soon to read your blog. In our youth we run after money and success that we don’t take care of our mental and physical health and finally you will reach a stage where you spend all the money earned on regaining that health and happiness… How ironic!!!

    Thanks and Regards,

  3. That is the saying that we “spend our health chasing our wealth, and then our wealth chasing our health.” It seems so true. Another very strange thing happens when you attain some wealth, that is you are suddenly looked at differently from your friends and family. They often see you as a bank, a person to jump into action everytime someone gets into a bad situation. This can bring on a lot of stress too.

  4. Happiness cannot come from without.
    It must come from within.
    It is not what we see and touch or that which
    Others do for us which makes us happy;
    It is that which we think and feel and do, first for
    The other fellow and then for ourselves

  5. I love this Zig Ziglar quote…I’ve found also that if you make the pursuit of independence a priority, money and happiness will follow in abundance.

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