What Do You Need to Be Happy?

When a University of Michigan survey asked people what they believed would improve their quality of life the answer given most often was, “More money.”


In their book The Day America Told the Truth, James Patterson and Peter Kim asked, “If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?” The number one response at 64 percent was, “Greater wealth.”

A University of Southern California study found that greater wealth didn’t translate into greater happiness for many of the 1,500 people surveyed annually over three decades. USC economist Richard Easterlin said, “Many people are under the illusion that the more money we make, the happier we’ll be,” but, according to the study, that isn’t true.

We know from other well-respected studies that fewer Americans are “very happy” today than in the 1950s despite having far more money, bigger homes and more stuff. In 1950 there were 3,000 shopping malls in this country, by 2000 there were 45,025. We have more money, we have more stuff but clearly, greater affluence has not translated to greater happiness.

Are there any circumstances under which more money will bring happiness? The truth is that if you are living in poverty, having more money will make a positive difference in your quality of life and yes, you will be happier. But once your basic material needs are met, many experts agree that having more money might be nice but it’s not likely to make you a lot happier, if at all.

The problem is that most of us just don’t know what we really believe about money. We can’t live with it but we can’t live without it, either. We think that more of it will fix all of our problems even though we prove month after month that aren’t very good at managing what we already have.

A recent gathering of friends at my home stirred up some provoking conversation. One person suggested that we have a confusion of terms. When people say they want happiness, what they’re really looking for is contentment—that feeling of satisfaction that does not go away once the carpet is a few months old, the car has lost its “newness” or the holidays are over. He went on to suggest that happiness is the result of a “happening” and when the event is over, the happiness goes away, too. The contentment we seek comes with satisfaction and fulfillment that are not tied to specific events but rather based upon things that do not change like warm family relationships, connecting to God and expressions of sincere gratitude.

I think our resident philosopher is really on to something. If nothing else he certainly made all of us think.

So where do you weigh in on this subject? In your heart do you believe that more money would make you happier? How much would it take to make you really happy? Or have you discovered a source of true contentment and found it is not tied to money?

I’d love to know your thoughts. Leave your comments below. I’ll compile them in an upcoming column.

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71 replies
  1. Amy Jo C Illinois says:

    To be happy is very easy. You must do as it says in the Bible.” Look not only to your own interests but the interests of others”. Amy Jo C Illinois

  2. Florian Becquereau says:

    I think a lot about this topic.
    I think lasting happiness depends on having your needs met. Not just the needs according to Maslow.

    Yes, human needs include air, water, food, safety (I prefer to use this term over “shelter”).
    But we also need love (The Beatles were right), freedom, physical touch, community, creativity.

    Money is of course not happiness. Being very poor can prevent happiness because it makes it difficult to fulfill our needs for water, food and safety.

    But if you don’t have a mortgage or rent to pay, if you grow your own food and catch your own water, and have a community of friends and the freedom to pursue your dreams, and have lovers, you can be happy with 0 money.

    I’m very interested in nailing down a more complete and accurate list of human needs.

  3. Janet says:

    Happiness is found on the inside. There are periods of time that are hard because of sickness, death, loss of job, etc., but don’t let them steal your happiness. Money can make things easier, but it won’t make you happy or make all your problems go away. Happy is a balance between having needs met, being able to give and keeping your joy alive…it is there, just dig it out. I’m 55 years old. I look at young men at work who have small children at home who are working 12 hour days. Those babies don’t want more stuff, they want daddy. Want is something that is learned. Don’t teach your children that things are more important than people.

  4. lisette says:

    What i need to be hqppy is a handmade life, close contact with nature, and a pace of life that matches the rhythm of the day, the ageless turning of the year. Homesteading is hard work, but it is soul satisfying work. The tiny but cozy home i live in and most of the food i eat is the work of my own hands, and there is joy and security in that. I do worry about generating money for food and vet bills for my furred and feathered family, my dog, horse, donkey, three cats and a bright and mischievous parrot. But i am so far able to cover all our needs with several diverse businesses and i barter for some things when needed. There simply are very few bills as a result. I live very simply, need few clothes but buy durable good quality gear, dont need gizmos, but have slowly bought up a good collection of tools and things to buy experiences with. Like the woodworking tools and plans to build my celtic harps, dulcimer and fiddle, which give me much joy. I consider that i live a life of utmost luxury. If luxury is defined as pleasure of the senses, well, i wake to the heartstopping beauty of a valley glowing in the dawn mist, the comforting scents of coffee and hay and the wind off the river. I get to watch deer browse as i do my morning chores and see hawks in flight. Evening brings the feeling of comfort in the firelight and smell of woodsmoke, the spacious quiet under starlight, the music of the creek outside my window. I never grow bored as there is alwayssomething to do or to explore. I can never be jaded with the changing seasons show though i have seen it nearly sixty times now. I am challenged to cope with things that can go wrong, as in any life, but i need not compete or put on a show to “brand” myself for anyone. I count myself blessed and lucky, and would never trade what i have for any sort of high flying job, fancy house or all the stuff in the world.

  5. Robbin says:

    What makes me happy? My husband does. We have been married for 25 years. He is my best friend, the father of our children, my confidant, and my soul mate. My one wish is that we would find a way to argue less. I am working on it; it is my new year’s resolution. I am happy, but if we argued much less, I would be even happier.
    As for money, I am old enough to know that it doesn’t bring me happiness. The more I make, the more I spend. On the other hand, if I won the lottery, I could go on more vacations with my husband and pay for our children’s education. And that would make me very happy indeed!

  6. Cathy says:

    I believe I am a very grateful person. I am thankful for everything I have in my life. We are not rich, in fact we have a heavy debt load. I know that eventually I will get it paid off. What really makes me unhappy is living with a spouse who is negative, angry, and insuting. I feel distraught because this is my life. I often wonder how I would feel being away from this person or should this not effect my happiness.

  7. Yolanda says:

    I grew up poor. So poor, that my Mom would send me into those metal clothing donation boxes to get stuff out for us. Thank goodness, I am in a much different financial place now, 40 years later, thanks to the teamwork of my husband and I. We have been very fortunate to have lots of material objects that many others cannot; even a lake house! Those items have made us happy for a short period, then the excitement of the purchase is over and you need something else.
    But I’m going to tell you that the one thing that has made me happy is my dog. I couldn’t understand why I was so miserable, as I had everything I needed, and then some. My Dr. prescribed an anti-depressant after I told her I was in bed most of the day under the covers. What the heck was wrong with me? That helped a little by loosening me up a little bit. But then I adopted a puppy from the Humane Society in my county and every day since then, I am happy! I am greeted by this little face that is unconditionally devoted to me. You can’t be upset when you see him. You should always adopt a puppy or dog with the same energy level as your and/or your family. Also watch the Dog Whisperer to know how to train your dog. But honestly, if it weren’t for dogs, I’d be a miserable mess!

  8. Joan says:

    I am unable to care for my own hair due to a handicap. That means I must rely on the compassion of others to have my needs met. Because people will usually do more for money than for any other reason, I think more money would definitely improve my situation.

  9. Sarah says:

    Look at “Greater Wealth” not as having more money in your paycheck. But, having more discretionary income with what you make currently. This is when I became happier, then (only then)as I added more wealth to the top end did my satisfaction increase exponentially.

  10. HaHannam says:

    I have long worked to be “content” rather than “happy”. Happiness comes from the verb root “to happen”, which to me means being present and in the moment, good or bad, rather than have a smile on my face all the time. Contentment allows me to reflect on past good times to help me through any present hard times. “Contentment” with my life, regardless of what comes, feels more mature, more spiritual, more healthy.

  11. Audio says:

    Truly a healthy family, wonderful friends, happy marriage and strong faith and belief in Jesus and salvation are the most important factors for complete happiness.
    I do not believe that money and just more money are the ways to happiness, but it sure seems t help! It would be nice to have enough money so that you could travel, buy a car when needed, fix home repairs or remodel the home as needed, give to charities and donate to churces and worthy causes without having to plan so much or think about it so far in advance.

    From – A Faithful subscriber

  12. Kathie says:

    I’ve never seen a u-haul behind a Hearse. Stuff means absolutely nothing. I find that true happiness comes from giving back. It brings such contentment and joy to know that you’ve helped someone in some way. Twenty five years ago I found myself stripped of everything including my self-esteem. Through my spiritual journey with the help of a Bible believing church, strangers were so kind, caring and giving. I paid it forward and never have regretted a day. I am truly blessed.

  13. Jamie W says:

    Define “wealthy”! Wealthy to me is paying all my bills and having some money left over for treats like eating at a restaurant or purchasing something wanted but not needed!

  14. Chelle says:

    I have been married 30 years. We have lived with little and we have lived with more. We never lived above our means. We have one adult child married, one about to graduate from college and another one soon making his own way. We are able to enjoy life because we are not in debt, we are able to give (have always tithed). God has always been faithful no matter how much money we had. We planned the best we could and knew how. If our income went down drastically, we would tighten our belts. We have learned to be content with what we have. Family is very important to us and our faith in Jesus is most important. Money does not bring happiness. Without the Lord, there will always be a void. We live in a generation where people think they have to have everything now. A little struggling never hurt anyone. That is how you learn and grow. We have savings, an emergency fund and retirement accounts. But you know what, it could all go tomorrow. My trust and hope is in the Lord and He alone!

  15. Kath says:

    Excellent article! I also find many people of faith have an advantage of knowing joy (unconditional), which is very different from happiness (conditional). I think what lies at the crux of many needless things we do is based on what we perceive society dictates as right or the myriad of luxurious images/messages that appear to be the norm, leaving one feeling empty. In Biblespeak, we’re still worshiping those images. Besides your great advice, I’ve also found a site, optimindshaping.com that offers free feedback and a publication called “Easy Life Skills You Never Learned in School”. If anything, it helps de-clutter the meaningless and get down to what is meaningful to you, personally.

  16. julia hernstedt says:

    We have had much and now not so much. Lost most of it in the economy melt down a few years ago. We are not less happy. The only thing more money would help with is less worry. But with Mary Hunt’s help we are learning to live with what we have coming in.
    We aren’t truly wealthy until we possess something valuable that money can’t buy.

  17. Mari says:

    I want to get up in the morning and be able to say_ I love what I do. It requires money because I have always dreamed of having my own business. So yes money would make me happy and fulfilled.

  18. Chanitele says:

    I feel that I would be content with what I have if my house were fixed/repaired to the point of not being embarrassed to have people over. I would love to have my family over for entertaining, but started projects have not been completed due to lack of funding.

  19. Kim says:

    I have never commented on this website before but feel so strong about this. When I was in high school, over 30 years ago, I was asked to take a value clarification test, very popular in those days, on what we thought was the most important things in life. Out of a class of about 25 students, I was the only one who chose family and friends. Everyone else chose something concerning money and wealth. My and my husband’s priority has always been about loving and caring for people. We have spent our money to help people and maintain a comfortable lifestyle. God has blessed us with contentment and many friends. How much is too much? I believe that what you are referring to is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. If your basic needs are met, money is not the motivator of your life but finding satisfaction and contentment in what you do. With much money comes great responsibility and not everyone is equipped to handle that.

  20. Emily Booth says:

    When I was younger and had no $$ and was in debt, I thought about having all the money in the world. But, the question I asked myself was what would I do with it? And, what I really wanted to do was travel. Material things come and go. They go out of fashion, become worn out, break, become lost or worse (fire, tornado, hurricane, tornado, hail). I think when you flip the question, you are better able to determine what you value and what you want more of realistically in life.

    Another question I asked myself when I had no $$ and was in debt was what did I want more (material things) of? The answer turned out to be socks and underwear. As long as I have lots of socks and underwear, I don’t feel materially deprived! LOL

  21. J.E. says:

    Remember the TV show, “The Millionaire”? Most of the time the recipient of the million dollars would anonymously do “good”. That’s really the only reason we would like more money…even a little bit can do a lot of good in lots of places. Otherwise, we are quite content with accepting our “daily” bread, with gratitude.

  22. Patricia says:

    What do I need to be happy? My wonderful husband — and a DOG! With these two living creatures in my life and just enough money to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table (even if the roof needs repairs and the food isn’t exactly gourmet) and our health, the rest doesn’t add an iota to our happiness.

  23. Karen says:

    We’ve been married almost 49 years–have gone from making $1829/yr in the military to 70K/yr, and can tell you that our joy and happiness never depended on how much money we had or didn’t have. The basis for our contentment is realizing that God has given us everything we need–including His Son and our salvation through His death on the cross. No amount of anyone’s money can buy a happy marriage, successful (in their relationships and life in general), adult children, good relationships with family members and friends, or good health. Money cannot stop taxes, cancer or death! 🙂

  24. Contented in AZ says:

    I agree with your “resident philosopher” that when stuff makes you happy like money that you don’t stay happy after it is gone. Happiness is contentment that lasts like family and God.

  25. Jack Boardman says:

    I’m not motivated by money, belongings, or social status; I’m comfortable with what I have. My happiness comes from my family; both immediate and extended, and friends. They are what really matter.

  26. carice says:

    What makes me happy is a warm bed especially when I can sleep late, my children to be healthy and happy, inner peace and gratitude for what I have, a fulfilling job as a special education teacher, a good cup of coffee, cooking dinner with my wonderful boyfriend, being greeted by my dogs when I come home, a good movie or book on a rainy day, etc…I’ve been blessed with a manageable income, which gives us what we need and then some—without the worry of “keeping up with the Jones'” materially. Also, money in the bank and being debt free makes my HAPPY!!

  27. T. Loewe says:

    I have started at the bottom of my career and worked my way upward. I have had varied income depending on where my husband’s job took us next. Regardless of income, what matters most is the ability to manage the money that God has allowed us to have, wisely . If one does not manage their money wisely, then money will manage you and make life miserable. More money will not solve the problem. What makes me happy is knowing that God, family, friends, coworkers, and of course, you Mary are there to support me in my life’s decisions.

  28. Maureen Bordzuk says:

    I agree with your friend. Being content with what you have is happiness to me. I have a wonderful, hard working husband, two beautiful daughters (and handsome sons-in-law) and a terrific 6 month old grandson. Who could ask for more?

  29. Elizabeth says:

    I agree that what brings us the greatest joy and contentment is a good relationship with God and the joys of a wonderful family and friends. I also agree that enough money to care for basic needs and a contingency fund for financial emergencies provides peace of mind. Having said that, I would also say that having more money could provide me more “happiness” in that I could experience the joys of contributing to my community in more ways that by merely volunteering. We live in a small river town long abandoned by the commerce, railroad, and riverboats that once made it a thriving place. How I would love to be able to build a community center/theatre for gatherings and the arts, a great coffee shop/book store, and to establish two or three clean businesses that could capitalize on this area’s beauty and provide employment opportunities for those who live here! I would landscape the entire town and give everyone who is too poor to do so the money for needed roofs and home repairs. Oh yes, having more money would help my town so much! It wouldn’t keep it going forever, of course, without the cooperation of others, but what possibilities there would be! Love to dream. . . .

    • Sophie says:

      I absolutely agree with you, Elizabeth.

      I want more money, not just for the sake of having it but for what it provides: food, shelter, clothes, medical care, emergencies, the ability to travel, ect. And like you, I’d love to be able to contribute more than just my time to my community and the wider world. I love animals and I would want to do something that helps and prevents animal homelessness and cruelty.

      Life is also about experiences and if you want to things like travel, take recreational lessons, go to school for your second bachelor’s or master’s, it all takes $.

      And the peace of mind of having enough money is HUGE. Peace of mind is a kind of happiness, so yes, money can buy some kinds of happiness. I would be a lot happier right now if I didn’t have to look for a miserable job, just for a paycheck, and a small one at that. I could think of a million better ways to use my time than slave away at some job that does nothing to fulfill me. Who cares what your passions in life are if you can’t realistically make money or enough money from doing it.

  30. Shelli says:

    Believing that happiness is really connected to happenings allows me to know that true joy comes only from resting in Jesus and the promises of His Word. Otherwise,in my pursuit of happiness, I will always be striving to either get something else onto or off of the throne of my heart usually not even realizing it. This is how Paul was able to say he has learned to be content in all situations.

  31. Julie N says:

    As the word’s roots show, happiness is indeed dependent upon what’s happening around us. What we should seek is joy, which is independent of circumstances. In fact, it’s a fruit of God’s Spirit.

  32. Pyanci says:

    Less is everything. When I was in the military I could fit all I owned in a foot locker and take off at the drop of a hat.Then when I got my family we had a little house and nice small lot in a nice neighborhood. House was perfect, small mortgage payment, everything we needed. Like most, we got better jobs and wanted to upsize. We did. Now I have a huge house with alot of upkeep. Many more things to manage. We have been following Mary’s financial plan and are about out of any debt but was so much happier with just what we really needed. Now the kids have grown and left home and we have alot of responsibility. Wish from the beginning I had stayed pretty much the way we had it. We really were content. Traveled alot, nothing to worry about, everything always paid off. Now we are trying to downsize and it is hard because I paid so much for items that I never will get half for it.
    Wish someone had sat me down and told me this in the beginning. I have learned alot.

  33. Marci Casey says:

    Happiness is in knowing my God and my Savior. He is ALWAYS faithful to provide for my needs. Understanding the difference between needs and wants releases me from stress, keeps me debt-free, and makes spending choices SO much easier.

  34. Lorri says:

    When you don’t have money (I have been there), it’s easy to fixate on the idea that money will make you happy/solve your problems. When our money problems turned around (mostly due to my husband’s better job, but also helped by my frugal ways), we were able to see which things in our life were helped by more money and which things were not. You need good friends and/or family, and I also believe you need some kind of purpose in your life to be truly happy. More money has not made me happier, but it has helped me to worry less and sleep better at night. As I get older (I’m in my 50s), I realize that stress really does take a toll on my health. My family unexpectedly grew this past year (my teenage daughter’s pregnancy), and though there are challenges with that that have nothing to do with money, I feel more secure knowing that we can help our daughter and precious grandson without going into debt. My goal is to never forget what it felt like to always worry about money, so that I can keep to my budget of saving/investing as much as possible. Another thing about getting older: you learn that emergencies do hit you, sooner or later, which really highlights the need for an emergency fund.

  35. Cheryl Norton Sewell says:

    My husband retired a couple of years ago and our income was cut in half. Surprisingly, I find that by making cuts to our spending, we are able to live comfortably and don’t feel like we are missing out. We spend our money on what’s really important to us and enjoy finding new ways to save. A side benefit is that by not eating out nearly as often as we did, we’re losing a little weight and when we do go out, it’s a treat that we really enjoy!

  36. lees says:

    sleep in the street for about 2 nights and then tell me money doesn’t buy happiness……people that already have money always say that..Money gives you freedom and choices, you can call your own shots and pick your own mizery if you have too. It sure as heck helps!

  37. Mary Marlatt says:

    Like Margie and others below, I feel that if I had enough to not worry so much about paying the bills and never having any cushion for catastrophe, I would be “happier.” For life not to be such a struggle — I have a meeting tomorrow and since we are down to one car, it’s causing an issue. With my mobility issues, getting a bus is also a problem. But I was hesitant to try to change the meeting because I didn’t want to use either my poor-ness or my weakness as an “excuse” because I want this person to think well of me (it’s up to him if I get into graduate school — and eventually make more money. My employer is paying for school). Stuff like that makes me “unhappy.”

  38. Jane says:

    My husband is in ministry, and we’ve never had a lot of money, but the Lord has always provided for us. I enjoy the challenge of being creative in our home and with meals, repurposing what we have, making something functional and beautiful or coming up with a delicious, thrifty meal. I agree that expensive “stuff” doesn’t bring happiness…that comes with being thankful for God’s presence in my life, family, friends, health…the things money can’t buy.

  39. Richard Rorex says:

    More money creates more problems than it resolves. I have a garage full of ‘stuff’ that has been acquired over the last 50 years or so. None of it brings happiness. Like your resident philosopher, I find happiness in my time with God, whether it be in church or home or even in the car going from place to place. Helping others also brings a sense of happiness or contentment that lasts a very long time. God has seen to it that I have enough income to keep me housed, fed and clothed. What would more money help in that regard?

  40. Tiana says:

    I remember a few times wishing I had more money because I just KNEW that would make me happier. However, a few years ago, I changed things up. I decided that to be content and pleased with my life, eliminating debt would be it. Once I switched from wishing I had more money to focusing on my debt, great things started happening. Last year, we were able to pay off our debt (except for our low mortgage) and let me tell you, I have been “content” ever since. I wake up perkier; the days are always brighter; I was able to focus on my health and lost 30 lbs; when I lost the stress of debt, I gained “me” back. I thank God every single day for my blessings!

  41. njjc1234 says:

    I am a single mother of three grown children. I live in a modest home. More money would make me more content because I am barely getting by as it is. If I had more income I would not have to worry when something in the home breaks or I need a new roof, for example. I would like to know that I have enough to cover all basic expenses, which includes things like the new roof, when the time comes. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. And from what I’ve read of previous studies, that is indeed the key to contentment — having enough that you don’t have to worry about the next home repair or the real estate taxes coming due. Of course having a strong faith helps, too, but most people are more content when they need not be concerned over the next minor catastrophe in the home.

  42. Ron 'n Loni Oliver says:

    It would be much easier to be happy if I had my health. That struggle is tearing me down, but I realize it’s possible to be content in whatever condition you find yourself. The Apostle Paul is the gold standard on that score. Alas, I have not achieved that level. More money would ease the constraints we are dealing with and give us more freedom to enjoy life and be free of worry for tomorrow, so, yes, in our case it would be a boost. But once the basics and a few frills have been provided, friends, family and achievement are the things that truly enrich lives.

  43. BethinCLE says:

    Love of God, neighbor and self are at the very top. I think having emotional stability and healthy self esteem are part of the equation also. I think many of us spend beyond our means because we lack many of these or do not have strong faith in them. We shop to fill an empty void within ourselves. That void should be filled with the above. Some of the poorest people on this earth do not suffer from depression. Depression (not all) is a construct of capitalist society that makes you think you need everything and deserve everything. We don’t. Learning to accept that and being content with our needs being met is very difficult in our society. Many of us need to be plopped down in a third world country for a few months and we will really understand what we truly need.

  44. Margie says:

    I believe that having more money would give me more contentment, not happiness. I am a single mom and I live check to check with not enough to cover the bills. I would be very content knowing that I have paid the monthly bills and no one is calling me looking for money.

    • DianaB says:

      Indeed. I have been in your boat, and bailing water all the time is a huge impediment to contentment. I feel for you and your situation.

  45. Barbara says:

    Yesterday, at church, our pastor’s sermon was on the benefit of giving. He started by giving us statistics of how wealthy we are in this country as compared to the rest of the world and that we are all “rich”. But he said that God does not say “no” to our enjoyment, but that he says “yes” to our generosity. He goes on to say that God prospers us not to raise our standard of “living” but to raise our standard of “giving”, and that God blesses people so that they in turn be a blessing to others. We are made unequal so we may both give and receive. I came away remembering how happy I feel when i am giving of myself, and this is real love and happiness. And speaking of happiness, Mary, I love your messages, encouragement and tips every day and you also make me happy. 🙂

    • Petoskey says:

      I love your pastor’s sermon!! May I copy and share it on my FB page? I’ve been talking with friends about giving of ourselves more.

  46. Frugal says:

    I live at the poverty level and money would definitely make me happier. It would make life easier and less of a struggle. It would allow me to get better care for my 93 year old mother. But it does not take money to be grateful for all I have and all the wonderful things in this world. You find what you look for.

  47. Dorothy Kirchner Meyers says:

    Happiness is a fleeting emotion. Think about it…would you want to live in that “high” state all the time? Or sadness, again a fleeting emotion…would you want to live in that “low” state all the time? So contentment in my mind is more of a state of being…liking where you in are in life and appreciating what you have, whether it’s good health, good friends, etc. Happiness wouldn’t be appreciated if you had it all the time… without rain the flowers can’t grow, without pain the joy won’t show….

  48. Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    I have enough stuff, in fact I think I’d be happier with less stuff. I sometimes feel the stuff I have is smothering me and yet I find it hard to give it up.

  49. Cindy says:

    I agree that money alone could not make me happy. I believe having my family healthy and together is at the top of my list. My relationship with God is so important and He has never let me go without food or a roof over my head. I would love to be out of debt so more of my time could be spent traveling. So I am working on a plan for that using the DPL plan.

    • guest123 says:

      hi kathy..be careful with that because people can put on a good front in church and be totally different in the real world just saying

      • Kathy says:

        Your preaching to the choir. My ex and i dated 3 yrs off/on. 6mos. After we said I do, the abuse started.. Ä first verbal.. Then emotional.. Then physical. After 5yrs i quit after he wouldn’t get help to make me feel safe.

  50. gayleanna says:

    I believe that as long as your bills are getting paid you have a roof over your head and food to eat the average person is happy.

  51. Susan says:

    Money does not make you happy. People make you happy, having a purpose makes you happy, being healthy and enjoying life and being spiritual make you happy. Money just gives you one less thing to worry about. It is nice to have it, but it will not make you happy. When the time comes that people in our lives die, we really understand this. No amount of money in the world makes a difference.

  52. PH says:

    I agree with the distinctions made by your friend about the differences between happiness and contentment. I think that happiness has a fleeting nature to it and, for me, contentment has come with being satisfied with “enough.” The concept of “enough” vs. “yearning for more” is something that many people probably need to contemplate 🙂

  53. MNJean says:

    Becoming debt free certainly lifted the daily insecurity of making ends meet, and made us ‘happier’ daily. Being thankful for the ability to become debt free, keeps us ‘happy’. We are content, and those moments we can show random acts of kindness make us joyful.

  54. Patrice says:

    My mother did a needlepoint for our 25th wedding anniversary that says “Contentment is not the fulfillment of everything you want, but the realization of what you already have”. This year, we celebrate 40 years of marriage and I can tell you this – when I look around our humble house and see what we already have, I am overwhelmed by the hard work and sacrifice of my husband over the years, and how happy he has made me. But the bottom line is, happiness comes and goes, JOY is deep-rooted and stays through all circumstances. Sadness and loss, joy and gain. It is all in the hands of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I marvel that He loves me so much. It makes me share what little I have with others (materially) and I hope they can see the abundance of JOY I have in the giving of it and I pray they will recognize the Source of it all and want to know Him.

  55. Louise says:

    We live comfortably, but with way too much stuff. I have been giving stuff away. Things that mean a lot to me (family heirlooms) I have been giving to the children. Other stuff I have put in garage sales and/or donated to Love INC, Volunteers of America, Salvation Army, and a local temporary shelter.

  56. Stephanie says:

    This is a good reality check and hat off to DPL/EDC folks for this post. Defining terms is vital, and I was brought up short in the happiness vs. contentment comparison. Thank you!

  57. Princess says:

    Stuff is just that-stuff. Cant take it with us when we die. My true happiness and contentment come from my assurance of my salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ! I lost my beloved husband four yrs. ago after less than 3 yrs of marriage. Crushing of course, but I KNOW I will see him again because of his acceptance of Gods free gift of salvation also. I also find happiness in my precious family!

  58. Cyndi Wolfe says:

    While I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice, I have found a great deal of relief from stress in freedom from debt.


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