According to a recent article I read by Gregg Easterbrook, The Real Truth About Money, "research has shown that there is no significant relationship between how much money a person earns and whether he or she feels good about life." It goes on to say that for many people, more money can lead to depression. This is a highly informative article that I have included a link to below. It made me think a lot about my own attitude involving money and happiness. If I had a dollar for every time I found myself thinking how much better my life would be if I had more money, I would be rich and perhaps happier than I am now. I realize that no matter how much money I have, I've always thought it's not quite enough.

Living in Los Angeles, one's life goal seems to be to make as much money as possible. Certainly, our culture seems to glorify money and excessive spending. We celebrate the rich, the thin, and the famous. The goal is to have the best house, the best car, and the best vacations. It's more than "keeping up with the Joneses," it's defining the Joneses. Television shows like MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen" show us that some parents spend up to $250,000 for a sixteen year-old's birthday party. The parents show their bratty, whiny kids love with brand new Range Rovers and an extravagant party designed to create envy with the child's friends. The kids do not seem to be any happier than the average angst filled teenager, despite all the money that is spent.

My parents went though periods of wealth and near poverty when I was a child. I remember what it was like to be a kid in school with holes in my tennis shoes and not able to afford new ones. I also remember when people called me a spoiled rich girl. My mom always tried to teach us that money alone does not equate to happiness. Living a life filled with purpose is what matters.

Now that I'm all grown up, I find that my life does not have the purpose or the money that I would prefer. Sometimes I wish I were the kind of saintly person who donated all of my time to a worthy cause, like helping the homeless. I would be so selfless that I would live just above the poverty line myself because every extra cent would be given to the poor. I imagine that I would not even want material things because I would be so happy giving to others. I am not that person, but I admire those who are.

When I do have money, I spend it. No matter what my yearly income, I manage to spend all of it. If I made more money, I would shop more. That's the point of money—to have more things. If I could afford a house, I would want a mansion. If I could afford a boat, I woud want a yacht. If I could afford an island, I would want a country (just a small one, nothing too flashy). I know people who don't feel comfortable unless they have a certain amount of money in savings. True security comes from within and not from a dollar amount. There is no price for the feeling of being loved. Knowing that my family will love me unconditionally is worth more than being able to buy and island.

It's obvious that happiness cannot be bought. According to Easterbrook, "the things that really matter in life are not sold in stores. Love, friendship, family, respect, a place in the community, the belief that your life has purpose—those are the essentials of human fulfillment, and they cannot be purchased with cash. Everyone needs a certain amount of money, but chasing money rather than meaning is a formula for discontent."

Source: "The Real Truth About Money" by Gregg Easterbrook