Can Money Buy you Happiness?
I used to live just outside of Toronto, Canada. On my daily 1.5 hrs commute into the city I would see a cryptic graffiti. It had a heart, a man in suits, a dollar sign all thrown into an equation. I never understood what it meant and now I am 4000 km away.
Most people today don’t want to admit they believe money can buy you happiness. They think it makes them similar to the silicone and organic entities who refer to themselves as the Kardashians. I myself believe money can buy you happiness. The more important question is what kind of happiness and how are you buying it?
Instead of date nights my partner and I do taxes together. Nothing says “I Love U” better than splitting tax credits. By year five we noticed an interesting pattern. And against the advice of every accountants and lawyers on Bay St. I am going to share a compressed version with you my dear readers.
Year A: My income alone was over six figures, quite a bit over. Nuclear Project Engineer.
Year B: My income was negative. I went to Film School.
Year C: My income was 50% of my six figure income. Part time Engineer and part time filmmaker.
Year D: My income went up to a comfortable middle class. TV and Film freelancer. Indie Filmmaker.
Year E: My income crashed to 50% again. COVID.
My partner’s situation is similar. The biggest surprise was: until we looked at the numbers at year’s end we didn’t notice the huge fluctuations. We still bought the nutritious, organic groceries, went out once in a while, took two international trips a year, had road trips and nights out on the town. Nothing, except maybe our savings accounts ever complained. What the HECK?
Like all great detectives, we scrolled through our iPhoto albums. There we discovered an even bigger surprise. We, were WAY Happier when our paycheques shrunk. When I quit being an engineer I had more time to pursue my passion. When I became passionate I was surrounded by people I actually liked. One of those people became my life partner. With an awesome life partner we made a home together. We explored the world and took risks together. One of those risks is becoming parents. We rose up to the challenge and became the TMZ crew shining from top of the world.
Before I bore you with my cheeky Hallmark Christmas special, I just want to say if I graphed our income and happiness index you would see two lines crossing like a giant “X”. There is no correlation whatsoever!
This is what I concluded from the data:
Love x Time = Happiness (“x” stands for “multiply”, I always wondered why keyboards hate math?)
Work x Time = Money
Happy Money = Lovely Work x Time^2 (“^2” stands for “squared”, again why?)
Before I get stoned by math geeks (formerly my roommates and BFF’s, don’t worry they can’t throw very hard) Let me explain the final equation. If you want to make money and be happy then you must make happy money, which is a financial remuneration for your passionate high quality work. If you do that then your time spent at being happy is multiplied exponentially. In other words you only need to spend a little bit of time at making money, the rest you can spend at making happiness.
So there you have it! Tattoo this on your arms if you still have room. As it turns out, there IS a relationship between money and happiness just not as simple as we thought. It only took getting out of nuclear energy, pursuing a dream and an unprecedented global pandemic to teach us that. How will we use this knowledge? What will be our next lesson? Stay tuned dear readers and happy earning!
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