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How much money is needed to be happy?

What it means to be “happy” varies amongst everyone. Some people believe that being happy means having accomplished high achievements. Some people think it means dictating the course of their lives. Some people believe happiness to be associated with material goods. Today’s post discusses how money is intertwined with happiness.

Money is needed in this society. There is no doubt that, in order to survive, every person must have some amount of money. Although it is just invaluable paper (linen and cotton actually), it is assigned a specific value that is trusted by most people.

There are many essentials of life, including that of water, food, and viable living conditions. Most people in today’s society cannot freely obtain those resources, for they are confined by boundaries, laws, and social norms. Money, then, is needed to purchase those goods. How much money is needed to survive then?

First off, there is a great disparity of wealth between the top and bottom 1% of the population in the US, but the poorest household members are still very much alive; their money is used to purchase the food and to continue paying the rent. I don’t know how much money is required for that, but it’s safe to assume that the numbers aren’t very high.

Everyone needs a certain amount of money to purchase food, water, and basic shelter. But beyond necessity is simply what people want. Wants range differently amongst people, and this is where happiness comes into play.

This is an excellent chart that could, perhaps, help define people’s happiness level. This is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory in psychology. Maslow shows the “stages of growth” in all human beings and how everyone [should] strive towards the top: self-actualization. In combining my own insight to his model, I believe that some amount of money is key to reaching the top.

In defining my own meaning of happiness, I believe that a person is in that stage when he/she continually encounters and surpasses milestones in life. While doing so, the person does not become consumed by other distractions in the process. He/she accepts, enjoys, and actually welcomes the oncoming challenges.

So much for a simplified definition… What I mean by that, in less convoluted terms, is that a person is happy when he/she defines “success” and reaches it without being held down by unnecessary distractions.

So, what are unnecessary distractions? I’ll leave that up for you to decide. Could it be material objects, like brand names and luxury items? Or perhaps technological devices, including television, cell phones, or computers? Or could it be things that physically limit a person, such as drug abuse or the people that surround him/her? Think about this, and think about how money plays a factor in unnecessary distractions.

Define what “success” means to you, and pursue it. Note that there are thousands, millions of successes in one’s lifetime; I succeed several times a day at doing things, be or minor or significant. On top of that, minimize your distractions. To be able to do that is, in my definition, what it means to be happy.

How much money do you need in life to be happy? I’ll let you know how much I needed after I reach self-actualization.


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