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Money and Happiness

“We suggest that people should stop thinking exclusively about how to get more money, and instead focus more on whether they are getting the most happiness out of the money they already have.”

I really liked this interview in Scientific American about money and happiness.  Michael Norton of Harvard Business is interviewed to discuss his new book called Happy Money.  He discusses one of the key aspects of Monetary Realism – the idea that money is not necessarily wealth.

Most people think that accumulating lots of money will lead to increased happiness.  This is largely backwards though.  I usually like to describe money as a theater ticket.  Accumulating lots of theater tickets doesn’t make you happy.  It’s going to the theater and enjoying a great show that results in the experience which leads to happiness.  You would never accumulate thousands of theater tickets without the expectation of using them, would you?  Of course not.  But that’s often what people do with money.  Even worse, they use the tickets on things that won’t actually make them happy, but things that they think will make them happy.

Anyhow, the article touches on lots of these points and while I haven’t read the book, I already know I agree with its basic message.   We all need tickets to engage in the theater that is life.  But don’t mistake the performance for the ticket or you’ll miss the whole point to begin with.

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