Can Wealth Deliver Happiness?

February 27, 2021

The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” - Charles Kuralt (1934-1997), a leading American journalist.

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” - Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), a French writer considered one of the foremost poets of the early 20th century.

Wealth well directed can deliver happiness and unbridled greed can deliver doom. The latter is reflected in two stories I recall from my primary classes. First, the stories.

The son of a wealthy man, like in the story of the Prodigal son in the Bible, pestered his father to give him the part of his vast property. Fed up of his constant demand, the father called his son: “Tomorrow at sunrise you start from my front gate and take a semi-circle through my vast property and reach my gate at sunset and whatever ground you cover before sunset will be yours.”

Next day the son started at the gate, made a largest possible semi-circle to reach the starting point before sunset. The sun was sinking. He increased his speed. Even as he could see the gate of his mansion, he collapsed of exhaustion and died.


An artist's work on the Parable of the Prodigal Son

In a similar case of greed, when a daiva asked for a boon, our greedy man asked that anything he touches should turn gold. The request was granted. He wanted to celebrate his boon. He organized a grand party. When the bar was opened, he was served the choice liqueor, the glass and the drink turned gold. That happened when he was served the delicious food. He died of starvation.

This topic-essay for my fortnightly column was triggered by a report which I trim and present below.

Can money buy happiness? Study says ‘Yes’!

People are actually using money to buy time by hiring a cook or even a cleaner so that they have time to do things for themselves.

Can we buy happiness? A group of researchers believe so!

But there’s a catch - what you’re actually buying is time.

New research has found that spending money to buy free time, such as paying others to cook or clean for you, does improve happiness, leave you feeling less stressed and generally more satisfied with life.

“Around the world, increases in wealth have produced an unintended consequence: a rising sense of time scarcity,” write the authors of ‘Buying Time Promotes Happiness.’

“We provide evidence that using money to buy time can provide a buffer against this time famine, thereby promoting happiness.”

To reach this conclusion, the researchers questioned a total of 4,500 people in the U.S., the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada about their levels of time-related stress, their life satisfaction and whether they spent their money on material goods or time-saving purchases.

The results found that the 28 per cent of people who reported spending money on saving time were more satisfied with their lives than the others.

Next, the researchers asked 1,800 Americans similar questions and found that 50 per cent of the respondents who had made such purchased also reported greater happiness.

Finally, an experiment in which 60 Canadians were given $40 to spend on a weekend found that the time-saving buyers reported feeling more positive at the end of the day compared to those who purchased a material good.

“If there’s some task that just thinking about it fills you with dread, then it’s probably worth considering whether you can afford to buy your way out of it,” one of the authors of the paper, told New York Times.

But, despite the benefits of buying time the research found that many of us choose not to allocate discretionary income this way, even when we can afford it.

“Despite the potential benefits of buying time, many respondents allocated no discretionary income to buying time, even when they could afford it: just under half of the 818 millionaires that we surveyed spent no money outsourcing disliked tasks,” the authors noted.

This, they believe, is because of the ‘cult of busyness’ – an ideal which sees people favour a diligent work ethic over paying someone for a task in fear of appearing lazy.

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Please give your response in the format given below. (Pl scroll down)

 

 

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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • John Monteiro, Bondel, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 03 2021

    A big ‘Thank You’ for your creative responses. Mangalorian, Mangaluru: How is it that you ignored happy women and focused only on unhappy women? Your conclusion can freeze and shrink world population. Roshan, Mangalore: Shared bounty and work is the secret of happiness? How does it work? Dr Urban D’Souza, Udyavar/Malaysia: Your dichotomy about happiness and pleasure seems valid provided we discover the difference and act on it. Antony H Crasta, Taccode/Sydney: How and where to draw the line between wealth and too much of it? I sorely miss the wit and wisdom of Rudolph Rodrigues, Mumbai and Mohan Prabhu, Kankanady/ Ottawa. Welcome back – more the merrier.

  • John, Mangalore

    Tue, Mar 02 2021

    Jesus on worldly things are temporary, desire for eternal reward in a message to John Leary dated friday, February 19, 2021: ... Jesus said: “My people, in today’s world many people are fascinated in acquiring money, fame, and the latest cars, homes, and electronic devices. These things have one thing in common in that they are all temporary, and they will soon be obsolete or lost. My people should first seek to be with Me, and everything else will be given to you. You should seek what is eternal with Me in heaven instead of what is temporary in this earthly life. During Lent you need to be reminded that your first desire should be to know, love, and serve Me. When you deny yourself of things you like, you are coming closer to Me which is eternal. At the end of your life, you will leave your body to be judged by Me. Those faithful, who have kept Me first in their lives, will be rewarded in heaven with Me. So focus on Me in all that you do in this life.” Ref: http://www.johnleary.com/index.php/?cat=3&order=DESC

  • Anthony H Crasta, Taccode/Sydney

    Tue, Mar 02 2021

    Of course, wealth can bring in happiness, provided one knows how to manage it, because too much of wealth can bring in misery and unhappiness as well. Nice article Mr. John Monteiro!

  • Dr Urban D'Souza , Professor, Head of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Malaysia, Udyavar /Malaysia

    Mon, Mar 01 2021

    Thanks Mr. John Monteiro for you great article on wealth & happiness! Each person's perception to happiness may differ but long term observations and understanding from the society around, money plays has its own place. Major percent of human race do not know how to demarcate Happiness and Pleasure!!! One needs experience and maturity to understand these two aspects; it is also depending on the age, environment, neighbourhood or society. My reflection as a small kid - Happiness is within, whereas Pleasure is a misconception for Happiness. Wealth or money may able to buy Pleasure; pleasure is short lived (example: A peg of spirit may give a temporary pleasure). Society made everyone to think that money is the key for happiness as our own society relate their wealth to happiness; may able to buy comfort, pleasure and freedom to acquire and fulfil their 'wants'. 'Wants' and 'Needs' if one understands well, he may definitely happy with whatever means to fulfil his needs and be happy. On the other hand, when our mad society is plunged with 'wants' their wealth may enable them to amaze and hoard worldly things. When one practice a life-style that teaches him/her to seek the happiness within, he may understand the value of Wealth. Home & society teach the growing child to look for wealth and neighbourhood further augment that craze. Every parent promotes his child's progress and worldly status, education, jobs and entrepreneurship is the lesson ingrained than value-based, moral and ethical way of upbringing? At the end we may preach money is nothing; money may buy you a bed to sleep but sleep? Other side, a comfortable bed may enhance one's sleep? Choice: wealth? Happiness? Wants? Needs Thank you for your good articles.

  • John, Mangalore

    Sat, Feb 27 2021

    God The Father on no one finds complete happiness or peace through love of the world and its pleasures and how to live your happiness in Heaven now in a message to Maureen dated February 25, 2021 Public Once again, I (Maureen) see a Great Flame that I have come to know as the Heart of God the Father. He says: "Begin to understand that My Son's* Heart is a reflection of My Paternal Heart. It is both Sacred and Mournful. My Heart remains mournful so long as any of My children continue to live in disobedience to My Commandments. No one finds complete happiness or peace through love of the world and its pleasures. No one can escape My Divine Will which knows all and permits all. Surrender every problem to Me by accepting My Omnipotence and trusting that every aspect of your earthly existence is by My Plan for your salvation." "There are so many whom are yet to find solace in My Grace - who have yet to know Me. They may even see My Commandments as rules to rebel against instead of a guide along the path of salvation. All I can do is offer My Love - an unending font of Mercy. I never reject a repentant heart. Therefore, see to your happiness in Heaven now by living in My Divine peaceful Love." Read 1 John 3:1-24+ Ref: https://www.holylove.org/messages/

  • Rohan, Mangalore

    Sat, Feb 27 2021

    Happiness is a state of mind... If a hermit can be happy so can a king or beggar... A happy mind has neutral beliefs... Once you believe you then want to defend your belief and then when people counter you the mind is disturbed... Since childhood I have had a nanny... Cooks, house cleaning staff, drivers and now also nanny for my children... It has always given happiness as many people around gives a lot of joy as an extended family... This is what has given happiness and not reducing the burden... I also agree that we get time for contemplation, reflection and meditation which would have otherwise gone into household daily chores...

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Sat, Feb 27 2021

    A great article Mr Monteiro. Thank you. Forget about wealth, I do not know if ANYTHING brings happiness. None of the women I know are happy. Because the women are not happy, their husbands are working twice as hard, hoping to make their wives happy. With their back broken through work, they are not happy either. All these people hope to go to heaven. I don't think they will be happy there either. PS: I know one happy person. A man. He is a bachelor. He does not have much money at all, but he is always in great smiles. One swallow does not make a summer, but perhaps remaining single is the key to happiness.


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