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Does Money Bring Everlasting Happiness?

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 Source: Quaye, Stephen A.

From: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada

A FORTY-TWO years old man landed successfully in Toronto to make a living as according to him life in Ghana was hard therefore relocating to a foreign destination would bring about better living conditions in his life. God answered his prayers as he was employed full time at a manufacturing company. The man’s demand for money started to swell every day. Day after day thinking about how to earn more money to take care of many responsibilities got bigger and bigger to the point where he started to look else where for more ways to earn money. He started to stake lotto since he was of the believe that when he win millions it will make him happier than ever or let us say all his problems would be over because he could buy cars, houses as well as pay all his bills and not owe anybody anymore. But for the past ten years has never realized his dream of becoming a millionaire through lotto so where is the happiness? You can tell. Money won’t buy you happiness says a group of distinguished economics and psychologists. Would you be happier if you were richer asked Princeton researcher Daniel Kahneiman, PhD, and colleagues? Kahneiman shared the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for applying the principles of psychology to economics. Their answer were” no” it was just an illusion that wealth brings happiness. When someone reflects on how additional income would change his sense of well being, he is probably tempted to think about spending more time in leisurely pursuits such as watching a large screen plasma TV or playing golf Khaneiman and his colleagues observed. Even if you make enough money to cover the bills and have a little fun, chances are you would not mind having more. But according to a new research that boost in income may not lead to as much happiness as you might expect- and a pay cut may not land you in the misery you imagine. You have heard it many times that money does not buy happiness yet in spite of all these you have tried strongly to accumulate riches. Is it a suffering from collective delusion or is it possible that money truly does buy happiness?

THE MORE WE GET, THE MORE WE NEED

Like nations, once individuals reach subsistence, they get little or no extra happiness as they get richer-even massively richer. A study into the life of major lottery winners found out that the joy of sudden wealth wore off in a few months. They had a harder time than others enjoying life’s prosaic pleasures watching television, shopping, talking with friends and so forth. The reason for this phenomenon is that humans tend to adapt psychology to their circumstances-including their monetary ones-quickly. Another study has also shown that people report needing 40 per cent more reach a level they consider sufficient. If they earn 50,000 they will need 70,000. But if they get a salary increment and make 70,000 they will again need about 98,000. The more they have the more the need. How much money we make is largely irrelevant to our happiness, its how much we make from others that matters.

STORIES FROM MILIONIARS WHO NEVER GOT HAPPY

These people thought money could buy them happiness but listen to what they said after they won millions of lottery and how their lifestyles ended. EVELYN ADAMS, won the New Jersey lottery twice [1985, 1986] to the tune of 5.4million dollars. The money was spent wrongly and she lived her life in a trailer. She remarked,” everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in English…”No” I wish I had the chance to do it all over again, I will be much smarter about it now”. WILLIAM “BUD”POST, won 16.2million dollars in Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but lived on his social security [450 dollars a month] and food stamps. “I wish it never happened. It was totally a nightmare”. Susana Mullin, won 4.2million dollars in Virginia lottery in 1993.AFTER SHE WAS DEEPLY IN DEBPT TO COMPANY THAT LENT HER MONEY USING THE WINNINGS AS COLLATERAL. “My understanding was that she had no assets,” says the lawyer who sued her. KEN PROXIMIRE, WAS A MACHINIST WHEN HE WON 1 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE MICHIGAN LOTTERY.HE MOVED TO CALIFORNIA,WENT INTO THE CAR BUSINESS WITH HIS BROTHERS AND WITHIN FIVE YEARS KEN FILED FOR BANKRUPTSY. “Dad is now back to work as machinist,” says his son. Charles Riddle of Belleville, Michigan, won 1 million dollars in 1975.Afterward he got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was indicted for selling cocaine. One South Eastern family won 4.3million dollars in the early 1990’s. They bought a huge house and succumbed to repeated family requests for help in paying off debts. The cars, houses and relatives ate the whole pot. Eleven years later, the couple divorced, the house was sold and they had to split what was left of the lottery proceeds. Having money is good but money can not buy you happiness as these sudden money lottery winners have demonstrated.

THE AUTHOR, STEPHEN ARMAH QUAYE, WAS THE FORMER EASTERN REGIONAL REPORTER OF THE GHANAIAN CHRONICLE NOW A FREELANCE WRITER IN TORONTO-CANADA. HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS teemagi2003@yahoo.com

Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.