More money

Many people believe that more money would make them happy. It is true that money buys choices, if you have little money you cannot dine out at a 3* Michelin restaurant or go to the Maldives for a luxury spa break. If money does literally buy happiness then all rockstars and billionnaires would be happy. Judging by the amount of celebrity gossip and news stories of who is in therapy, this is not the case. Lets look at why money is not necessarily the answer.

Money motivation

We are all conditioned to think that money is our prime motivation. That having the latest gadget, nicest sofa or best food that comes in a box will make us happy. This is how modern capitalism works. Consumers drive the economy. For most of us the only way to finance our holidays, furniture, cars and home is to work. Really really hard. How much time do you have to call your own, where you can do anything that you want to, or nothing? Not a lot if you are “living the dream”. Some people really do get a great deal of happiness from having luxurious items and being able to buy experiences. Usually this is just part of their happy though. We need interaction with others, connection to nature or spirituality (or both) in order to feel both grounded and lifted to our full potential. Often the freedom to use large chunks of time however you want is what we really desire – that is what retirement is designed for after all.


What is freedom? For me it is the ability to do whatever you feel like with your time, with whoever and avoiding those you would rather not see. Feeling connected to all parts of ourselves, compassionate about others, giving something back in whatever way we can. These things cannot be bought with money. There is a great parable of The Mexican Fishermen where a banker comes along to teach them business in order to have plenty of time off – have a read.

It can be helpful to think about what you would do if you had more money. There are good reasons to do this. Visualising what you want does help it to happen. You will need to take action too but this could come in the form of who you meet or an opportunity that appears. You may also discover that you could already have some of the benefits but not realise.

The benefits of more money

More money buys time. You can delegate tasks to other people because you can afford to pay them.

More money buys comfort. You can buy comfy sofas and nice kitchens with gadgets galore

More money buys travel. You can go and see the world, lie on a tropical beach or soak up culture in Florence.

The challenges of having more money

People want some of it. From scheming financial advisors (only some) or charities or good causes.

You have to keep earning it or investing it wisely to keep the lifestyle up – work and responsibility in itself.

You have to explain what you want and decide on timelines when delegating tasks – that’s hardly relaxing.

Is a £5,000 sofa really more comfortable than one you bought at a local retail park or second hand shop?

When you are off on your holiday your home could be burgled, you could pick up a tropical disease or find you don’t enjoy the place you are because you are thinking of work or what you should be doing.

Evidence in movies

Many movies make the assumption that people will be happier with more money. Downsizing is a movie about how people are opting to minituarise themselves as £100,000 converts to millions in the little worlds that have been built all over America. A husband and wife are struggling financially despite both having decent jobs, they just cannot afford the bigger house that they feel will make them happy, so they decide to opt to be made small. The rest of the movie is far from a picture of bliss. All sorts of pitfalls of a luxury lifestyle with no need to work and everything on tap are shown. It also goes on to demonstrate that happiness comes from feelings and connections with other people.

Pretend you have it

Pretend that you have more money. You can make it a game. If I had 20% more money I would do/ be/have… see what you come up with. Then sit with the three (or less) most important ideas. See if they feel good to you, that they will fit in with who you are and with what you enjoy doing. If so see if you can have all or some of that now. Here are some ideas:

If I had 20% more money I would:

1. Exercise more. Get yourself some trainers or a second hand bike and go do it. No need to spend the earth.

2. Buy a new sofa. Have a look in your local charity and antique shops, there are some great bargains to be had. A sofa looks like, well a sofa, after you have sat on it for a month.

3. Spend more time doing things I enjoy. Have a good honest look at where you fritter time. Can you ask your partner to cook 2 nights a week or watch just one episode at a time of your favourite tv series in order to free up time.

4. Have a pet. Join a dog walking volunteer circle. Spend time at the local animal shelter or share a rabbit or small pet with a friend.

Money helps but…

More money can help us be happy but only to some extent. Happiness does not grow in line with your bank balance. We need to think about why we want the extra money, do the benefits outweigh the pitfalls? Would you have to work a stressful, high pressure job to do it? Even if the hours were shorter, could you resist not working more, would you be able to relax?

A couple of good ways to use money, and you don’t need a lot, are:

  • to make a little savings nest egg or give yourself the challenge of saving a little towards that bike, sofa or whatever.
  • invest in a micro business to give someone else a chance
  • spend a little making someone else happy
  • reward yourself with something little each time
  • go for coffee or a drink each week and talk to a random stranger

More money can help but keeping a realistic account of what we have and making small changes is more beneficial than hanging your hopes on marrying a billionaire or winning the lottery.

©2021 Designed by Helen Llewellyn who also holds copywrite


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