The Bane of Happiness

Positive psychology keeps telling me the money doesn’t mean much by way of happiness.  Yet all of us seem to think money is a panacea, which if we just had enough of it, all our problems would go away.  What’s going on here?

Money may not be able to make you happy, but it can sure make you miserable.  Someone said the way to become rich is to limit your wants.  The way to become poor is to spend more than you make.

When we buy something new and shiny, whether a house, a car, or a new suit of clothes, it gives us a shot of dopamine.  But that high quickly wears off and turns into anxiety when our outgoes consistently outrun our income.  Having a negative net worth is a sure way to neurosis.  It’s hard to feel good about yourself or about life when most of your paycheck belongs to somebody else.

Probably most of you have at least heard about Dave Ramsey.  He has some really good ideas for getting out of, and stay out of debt.  But again, it takes practice.  If you just read his books without turning the exercises into regular practice, you’re going right back into wage slave status.

It takes diligence to stay out of debt, especially when so many businesses are trying to find new ways to spend your money, or give you credit to spend money you don’t have.  They all promise happiness, but ironically the happiness will only come if you keep your money in your pocket.