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Does Money Buy Happiness?

Jealous PiggiesI love money.

I have recently been chided for my vigorous pursuit of it. It seems that my edict of always trying to monetize what I do is offensive to some.

Really? Bite me.

Money makes the world go around. It feeds us, clothes us, keeps the lights on and the gas tank filled. I should apologize for vigorously trying to do that? Yeah, I don’t think so.

Many years ago my lack of money resulted in me losing my home in foreclosure and having to file for bankruptcy. You never forget that.

I greatly appreciate what money buys. I love the security it brings, knowing that if I, or someone I love gets ill, I can pay for that. And you know that roof over our heads? It’s good to know I can pay for that too.

I’ve never been into jewelry, fancy clothes or fast cars. I’m more of a family, pets, home and books kind of girl. So even when I had more money than I had a right to, I wasn’t generally the one who spent it. That job belonged to my husband.

Or should I say my ex-husband.

To this day, money seeps through his hands like sand through an hourglass. No matter how much he has, it will never be enough. Fortunately for him, his father left him quite a tidy little sum to live off of for the rest of his years. You would think he would be thrilled. But he expected and wants more. I can honestly say that as long as he has money, he is happy.

I understand wanting more. But I’ve noticed that when we do, we often are not thankful for what we have. Truth is, I’ve had money and I’ve been broke. Having money is better.

But does the want of more money make me greedy?

I’ve seen people file fake insurance claims because they needed money. We’ve all read and seen stories unfold in the news tabloids of how people kill people for their insurance money. Is it really all that important?

I think you’d have to ask the person who has none.

I grew up in a financially challenged home. Raised by just my mother, we shared a 400 square foot one bedroom apartment most of my childhood. My clothes and shoes were bought at Newberry’s and there was always just one of everything. One pair of shoes, one bra, one dress. It didn’t affect me until I got into high school and I saw the wealth that others had. It didn’t make me angry, it made me motivated.

I see a want for money to be a good thing. But that is because I don’t equate it to happiness. I’ve lived that lesson.

Over 10 years ago, I willingly gave up my 6,000 square foot dream house on an acre of prime land, my country club membership, and my Mercedes Benz for a 1,800 square foot condo in the city and a used BMW. I did it because I found myself miserable with my life choices and I was willing to exchange the possessions and the money for some peace of heart. Many have called me a fool for it.

Today I share a 2,100 square foot track house on a postage stamp lot with a wonderful man who has my heart. I drive a Lexus (not too shabby) and we have a modest life. I couldn’t be happier. Funny how that works.

All that being said, I would be untruthful if I said I didn’t want more money. I do. I’d like to spread it around. Give it to my kids to help make their life easier. Share some with some friends who are a bit down and out. I’d like to donate more to causes that help me feel like I contribute to this earth. I’d like to know that if I’m lucky enough to live to be 90, that I have enough money not to be a burden to anyone.

I’ve chosen writing as my encore career. I doubt I could have chosen a more poor paying occupation if I tried. But these days I go with what makes me happy. And writing makes me very happy.

I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to parlay it into quite a comfortable career (who knew?). I am the pudding that the proof is in. Do what you love and the money will follow.

I admit that I go to whatever lengths I need to go to, to make the money find me. I do not call that greed. I call that good business. I am left to wonder if I would be receiving this criticism if I were a man.

I make no apologies for letting money have an important place in my life. I’m always finding myself striving for more. It is, after all, the currency that buys what we need to maintain house and home.

I’ve figured out, however, that maintaining heart and soul have pity little to do with money. And since I value them more, money takes a secondary position.

I know a lot of people who do not share this sentiment. Their friendships are income based. They boast their travels, purchases and adventures on social media for all to envy. To them, money, and excess is their measuring unit of success. Flaunting it is garish but vital to their happiness and the visibility they crave. Strange, when I think about it, so very few of the wealthy people I know are actually happy.

They have yet to learn what many already know: it’s not in the wanting and flaunting, but rather in the having and sharing that makes life and its relationships have real value.

If the want of money makes me greedy, then I am guilty. But if you measure what I value and what matters most to me, then you will find me to be everything but.

Money is awesome. Happiness is better.

Personally, I’m shooting for my fair share of both. Judgment be damned.

 

 

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mercyn - Don’t apologize for making the most from your talents and for wanting comfort and security today and in the future. You should be proud of balancing personal success, happiness and a satisfying lifestyle. Too many people get the $ they want but too late realize their life lacks a lot of things money cannot buy. Money sure helps – but is not everything.
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Joan Cooper - NO money does not buy happiness – BUT you can’t be happy without it either.

I am amazed at how much you can discuss about any topic. Such a gift, Tammy. Keep it up.

Joan

Suerae Stein - In this day and age, there is no real financial security. Of course we want as much money as we can manage to make to be sure we are not out on the street during our retirement! I am stunned that you would be criticized for that. Especially after you have experienced hardship. As I get older, the materialistic things matter less. I want everything to be simpler, less cluttered, downsized. Happiness does matter more than money, but let’s face it, money can add a whole lot of stress to our lives when we don’t have enough. And that can make us pretty unhappy. Great post as always!
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Sharon Westmoreland - Hi Tammy, I find that many people who show distain for those that who are trying to make a little money are scarcity driven. They believe that if you have it, it drains away their chance to gain more themselves. Of course the current corporate culture of greed also feeds a dislike for those with wealth. As you note, balance is everything!

General people who criticize us for trying to earn more money are negative thinkers, do not have your best interests at heart, and are best left out of your life least they drag you down into that same stagnant pool!

Frankie - Why is it people who don’t know how to control spending and management their money, always seem to end up inheriting it? Just sayin…

I too write because I want to write-I am not expecting that big hunk of change for writing my memoir– that’s not the point of why I write. It’s my passion in life.

I agree money does make things a lot easier, but I think being grateful for what we already have makes money come into our life even easier.

Loved this read!

Tammy - Mercyn, so appreciate your comment. I don’t apologize for trying hard but I do get a bit sick and tired of being labeled a greedy person. I’m far from wealthy. Sometimes you need to dig deep into the earth to find the well of water. I’m a digger from way back and probably will be until the day I die. Thank you, Mercyn, for the read and pep talk. Both highly appreciated.

Tammy - Joan, you’re right. In this world it would be hard to be comfortable, let alone happy, without money. I do have the gift of gab. A blessing and a curse. Thank you for making it feel like the former. Love having you here!

Tammy - Suerae, boy, you got that right. I always feel just a stones throw away from living under a bridge. Some of my male counterparts feel that my pursuit of money is, at times, too tenacious. Color me baffled. Financial insolvency is something I ever wish to never live again. Perhaps I have more urgency than others, but I never thought of it as a bad thing. Funny how age teaches us that less IS more. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Appreciate that!

Tammy - Sharon, no stagnant pool for me! Negative Ned’s are never awesome to be around. Funny how they always have a not so favorable opinion about how others should run their lives. I’m just a girl trying to do the best that I can with what I have. Thanks for the clarity and the pep talk. I needed both!

Tammy - Frankie, I giggled when I read your first line. Isn’t it always the way?! I also agree that a grateful mind renders many opportunities. You have to love to write to do it. The pay scale is laughable and the accolades are few. But when you monetize your work, it pays in all kinds of ways. Thanks ever so for the read and for the awesome comment. I appreciate them both!

Sandra Sallin - You sound right on to me. Keep it up. You know what’s really important and that includes money. So go for it!
Sandra Sallin recently posted..Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Secrets RevealedMy Profile

Sandra Sallin - By the way, you want money? Try being an artist. :-) i don’t know if writing or painting pays worse. My husband supports me so I can follow my bliss.
Sandra Sallin recently posted..Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Secrets RevealedMy Profile

Tammy - Sandra, THANKS for that! Don’t you just have to wonder why people are so inclined to take you down a notch? Bewildering. Kinda makes me want to make more money to spite them. But that’s another blog for another day. Appreciate you stopping in and giving me your gracious validation!

Mel Glenn - There is nothing wrong with wanting money. The trick is to find a balance between poverty and wealth. You need certain amount for sense of security, but it shouldn’t be the driving force in your life.
An honest and sincere column.

Tammy - Thanks, Mel. I am nothing if not honest and sincere. Some would also call me a pain in the butt. But I digress. Balance IS everything. Money matters. More to some than to others. I would venture that it would be those amongst us who have travailed without it, that understand it’s bigger meaning. And by the way…thank you for not correcting my grammar along the way, Professor, sir, and for always adding insight. You are appreciated.

Kitt Crescendo - You know what’s odd? Most of the times that I’ve seen people criticize a woman for wanting more money or a better life…it’s come from other women (And you’re right…they have no issue if it were a man wanting those thing. In fact, it would be lauded as ambitious and expected by these same women.)

I often wonder why we seem to go out of our way to tear at each other in such a manner. Like you, I’ve been on both the have and have not side of money. The have is definitely where I prefer to be and I’m capable of working to get myself there.

Am I willing to give up my values, my friendships and my happiness for it? No- though I have friends who’ve made that choice, usually through marriages they’re miserable in or careers that leave them with no time for a life (and are oddly critical of those of us who’ve done it on their own).

Like you, I’m hoping for the best of both worlds and working on making it happen. I make no apologies for wanting some of the better things in life for me and mine.
Kitt Crescendo recently posted..My Battle With The Foot In Mouth DiseaseMy Profile

Tammy - Sandra, haaa! I think we have a draw! By the way, on behalf of women everywhere … tell your husband we love him.

Tammy - Kitt, we are birds of a feather, you and I. I agree that many of the disparaging remarks that women receive are from other women. I’d like to think that’s it’s because they look to help. But I kind of doubt it. Sad, really. I subscribe to the thought that my candle burns just as bright when I light another. Envy and competitiveness brings out the worst in some. But the best of us don’t partake in that kind of foolishness. SO very happy you stopped in today. Thanks for that.

Kitt Crescendo - Unfortunately, I doubt it too. It seems that there are certain women who believe that the only way to feel better about themselves is to denigrate someone else. I’m not a fan of that type of behavior at all. In fact, one of my biggest hot buttons are things that damage self esteem (especially female). I do what I can to uplift and encourage…and if it makes a difference to just one person….all the comments, criticisms, etc will be worth it. As the saying goes…”Be the change you want to see in the world”. That’s how I try to live.
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Tammy - Amen, my sister from another mother! AMEN!

Carol - I love money! I Love to visualize the positive flow of energy
that exists with money coming in and money going out and cycling through my life daily. Big beautiful waves of money ebbing and flowing. (Ok, call me nuts!) I believe money is just one of the many positive, beautiful manifestations of
energy that exist in our world. Positive for me when it comes in and positive energy for someone else when it flows out.

Charity Kountz - Great insights and I am absolutely with you. Right now my husband and I are not sure how we will make rent this month because he lost his job and our savings ran out. I am scrounging every freelance job I can to come up with it. On top of that we are trying to get custody of his daughter. What I wouldn’t give for the comfort of a decent savings account balance to get us through three months and enough to pay the bills while doing all the rest we need to do (not want but need). I was laid off in March and its so tough right now. So yeah I agree 200% lol!

Tammy - Carol, you’re a girl after my own heart. I love that you see it all as positive energy. And why shouldn’t you? Anyone who doubts that money helps every situation should talk to a mom who didn’t have enough to get her child to the doctor, pay the heating bill or buy a prom dress. Positive thoughts feed positive money. Blessing to you for your quest to get more and spend plenty, sending it all out to us! So appreciate your comment. Thanks ever so for that.

Tammy - Charity, I would guess that few know more than you, at this moment in your life, how important money is and how it would comfort your family to have a bit more of it right now. My heart hurts for you, your husband and his daughter. These are indeed dark times. As I always have said in times like yours: “this could be our greatest hour…what we will remember about ourselves”. I send good thoughts your way. Your sharing has made me more resolute in my stance of no apologies for doing whatever I have to do to make ends meet. Blessing to you and your family, Charity. There is one more person on this earth tonight who is saying a prayer with your name in it.

Jim Lunsford - Tammy, I want to say thank you for being so straight-forward and brave about this subject. I have always had upheaval in my money house, perhaps because I was somehow taught to equate financial success with evil – no one wants to grow up to be Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life, right – or Mr. Burns from The Simpsons for that matter. It seems that we are taught to believe that heroes must be poor, struggling, everyday blokes (or babes). I am working very hard – still at my age – to reeducate myself about the positive impact that financial abundance can leverage in my life, as well as the lives of those I love and want to help. It seems, however, that unlearning is sometimes a very hard thing to do.
Jim Lunsford recently posted..The Fertility Dance of Deceit, Part One:My Profile

Lois Merrill - I am so glad I ran across your blog…it’s fantastic and spot on! I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. This has instantly become my favorite blog :)

Tammy - Hi Lois, THANKS for that. And strictly by coincidence, you have instantly become my favorite reader! Funny how that works! So happy to have you hear!

Tammy - Hi Jim, your comment was so thought provoking. I never gave much thought to the media’s portrayal of money holders. You’re right, I’d hate to be lumped in with Mr. Potter (my fav movie of ALL time, by the way). Then there is the famous scene from Wallstreet: “Greed is good.” Yeah. I’m not so sure about the greed part, but I am pretty sure about the money part. We need it to live, prosper, provide and comfort. All good things, don’t you think? And here is a little spoken fact … we deserve to have all those things and more. Yes, DESERVE. I hope find a reconciliation with your thoughts about money. In the hands of good people, it brings forth good things. Am I right?

caron block - Just read your post on “sex”. You are right on about sex and money. I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks for nailing it one the head.!
Best regards,
Caron

Tammy - Hi Caron, oh, it’s so nice to find kindred spirits! Very glad you enjoyed both reads! Hope you subscribed to my Witty Woman once a week rant. Would love to know you are just a word away. Thanks for the kind reviews and for the comment. Appreciate them both. Welcome!

Kellie - Well you know what they say money is the root of all evil. However… I say it is how you use money. Some use if or good some for only selfish reasons. As the really famous always say, “money did not make them happier it just made things easier.” So I guess the best combination is money and a wonderful companion to share it with too.
Kellie recently posted..Love Heals…My Profile

Virginia Sullivan - Wow Tammy, your statement about how money went through your ex-husband’s fingers like water really rang true to me. My ex was like that, but we didn’t have any money for him to spend. I’d have $30 left to buy groceries for our 4 kids and he’d take it from my purse and spend it. I figured out how to feed everyone, I had the second job, I tried to keep it together. But, one day I realized that the one job I didn’t want was dealing with this grown child for the rest of my life. Great post- Virginia- FirstClassWoman

Tammy - Hi Virginia, well you are a woman after my own heart. I came to the same decision. It was painful but absolutely the right thing to do. These are things they don’t teach young women when we are growing up. A pity. It would be good to get a heads up from those who love us and know the pitfalls of love and the cost of the blind eye. So very happy to have you here! Thank you for the good review, but mostly, thank you for the great comment!

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