How Much Money is Needed for Happiness?


How much money would it take for you to be happy? The “Skandia International’s Wealth Sentiment Monitor” conducted a survey to answer this very question. Based on the results they collected from 13 countries, the perfect annual income for happiness is $95,000 (Market Watch). According to the United States Census Bureau, the average American household makes $61,372 per year (CNBC). People would finally be able to be happy if they had triple the average income, wouldn’t they?

Robert Thompson is the president of Sage Financial Design, a company that helps very wealthy people. He had this to say about the clients he works with, “The rule of thumb we use is sudden wealth will ruin people in three to five years…At the end of five years, the money’s going to be gone or the human being is going to be gone. They either lose their money or themselves or both” (Chron). While Thompson was specifically speaking of people who suddenly come into money, it is no secret that even those who have worked for their riches are unhappy. Story after story can be found of athletes going bankrupt, lottery winners losing it all, celebrities with serious life problems, as well as the demise and depression of other wealthy people.

Will we ever learn that money is not the source of happiness? The issue rests on the fact that we need some money to survive. Unless we want to live in poverty, we need money. It’s intertwined with life. If we get a raise in salary, it does make life more comfortable. The problem is, we fall into the trap of thinking we will continue to become happier and more comfortable with the increase in money. It’s one of the greatest lies in this life.

God has often tried to warn us. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil,” and Matthew 6:24 states, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” It’s time we heed God’s warnings about money. Having an annual income of $161,810 will not produce happiness, it would merely allow for us to feed our own selfishness.

So where is true happiness found? Genuine happiness is found in something meaningful, rewarding, fulfilling, and something that reaches beyond ourselves. It goes past this life and reaches the eternal. Nothing fits these qualities better than life as a Christian. Jesus said it this way, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

If we really want to be happy, then let’s place our wealth in Christ’s hands, not in our own.

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