You Can’t Find Happiness Through Money – Or Can You?

Bill Gates

Cover of Bill Gates

Many people believe that money makes you happy. Though there is little evidence that you can find happiness this way, there is a way that money can lead to happiness.


How often have you had thoughts such as:


  • If only I could drive a fast sports car I would find happiness
  • If only I had an extra $500 a week in my salary then I would be happy
  • If only I won the lottery then I would be the happiest person I know
  • If only my parents would give me some money now instead of after they die then this would make me happy

Nobel Prize winner in economics Daniel Kahneman says:


“The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory.


People exaggerate the contribution of income to happiness because they focus, in part , on conventional achievements when evaluating their life or the lives of others.”


However there is one way that money can make you happy.


Take the example of Bill Gates. He founded Microsoft and became an extremely wealthy man. Instead of staying with the company to make more and more money for himself, he founded a foundation that works on health and education projects.


The money that Bill Gates made may not in itself have made him happy, but it did allow him to found his foundation which is helping tens of thousands of people. Bill says:


“I love the work at the foundation.”


This is the key. He used his money to create the work that he loves doing.


The problem is not money but how we relate to money. If you mainly see money as something that can buy you more gadgets, a better home, more designer clothes and so on, then the happiness that you get from this is often short-lived.


Instead, ask yourself the question:


“How can I benefit the world from my money?


You then see money in a different light. If you find yourself with a lot of money then, rather than thinking about what you can buy, why not ask yourself questions such as:


  • What charity or good cause can I contribute to?
  • Which friend can I help?
  • What business can I set up so that I can do the work that I love and create products or services that can help the world?
  • Can I take a year off and use my time to work for an international aid organization in the third world?

These questions focus your mind on ways that money can be utilized to make your life more fulfilling and, yes, more happy. Maybe helping and serving people can make you more happy than buying a new gadget?


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  1. Great post, Steve! We are on the same wave-length on the subject of money and happiness. As The Happiest Person I Know, I am acutely aware of the gross exaggeration of money in the happiness picture which some people paint. And they wonder why they can’t conjure a masterpiece! Doing something meaningful with their money (as you rightly pointed out Bill Gates doing) would be far more beneficial. Keep spreading the word.
    Live Life Happy!


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