Can money buy happiness? Yes, and I have the formula...

I often work one-on-one with wealthy clients who have done a good job earning and sometimes growing money but they still haven’t found happiness. They may have thought material things would bring happiness, but no matter how many things they buy, they can’t seem to buy happiness.

They start to ask the question, can money buy happiness? Society says no.  You may have heard the phrase, “money can’t buy happiness.” Well, to answer the question, can money buy happiness, you have to first ask what is happiness?

Happiness is different for each of us, however we have been taught that happiness has a specific look and feel. We have been taught that it’s a spouse, a house, two kids, and a dog. But that’s not true for everyone, not everyone finds happiness in this lifestyle.

In my work as a financial therapist, I find there are 5-key areas that cause wealthy people unhappiness. You either, believe that life is not happening the way it should, don’t know what brings you happiness, are focused externally, complaining more than praising, or you don’t have personal connections and self-expression.

If you are wealthy and unhappy you may disagree that money can buy happiness. However, if you are asking the questions, it sounds like you are still open to the possibility that maybe it can, so let’s explore. Can money buy happiness, sure it can. If you know what truly brings you happiness. In this article we will determine what’s distracting you from happiness and I will offer a few resources that may help you get on the path to happiness.

As I mentioned there are normally 5-key areas that I check when I have a wealthy student that is not happy. I’ll break down each one.

  1. You don’t know what you really want.

The number one reason you don’t get what you want is because you don’t know what that is. You settle on something and then months, weeks, days, or even hours later you change your mind. You think you want this and then you think you want that but neither is what you truly want. So you feel confused. Confusion distracts you from happiness.

We are often clear on what we don’t want, but not as clear on what we do want. Have you ever asked someone what they wanted for dinner and they answered…”not pizza,” or “not fried food.” That means they are clear on what they don’t want, but it is not the answer to your question. True happiness comes from focusing on your desires...not on what you don’t want.

In order to buy have to know what truly brings you happiness. So I ask, what brings you happiness? I am not referring to fleeting pleasures, I am referring to deep satisfaction. You may not find it in a pair of shoes, a new piece of furniture, or a car. You may find it in a set of pots and pans because you love to cook or a bunch of new wood planks that you can create art projects with them.

It doesn’t have to be what society tells you will make you happy. Turn off the TV commercials and tune into your inner voice. Tune out what the world is saying because it may not be right for you. If you turn off the noise and consider what is right for you, this will allow you to determine that for yourself.

  1. You are focused on others or external things

The grass often looks greener at the Joneses house. Are you focused on what the Joneses are doing? What kind of results have you gotten from that behavior? It’s likely that focusing on the Joneses will cause you to feel bad about your situation and question your desires. You may begin to want what they have even though it is not your true heart’s desire.

It’s easy to get distracted. These days we are up against images on social media, news outlets, and even gossip. Distractions come in negative and positive forms. Either way the result usually leave us unhappy and uneasy about our situation. When we see others living the life we believe we want we can get jealous or fearful.

We can become self-conscious and start to believe that it won’t happen for us. We have to remember that everything happens the way it is supposed to. This means that one person’s dream may come true before another’s. Maybe you want a baby, a title, a spouse, or a trophy of some sort and someone else received what you wanted.

It’s likely that you have a trophy right under your nose that you are ignoring and someone else is envious of. You too are the Joneses. We are all the Joneses. While you are looking at others with envy, they are looking at you much the same way. So focus on finding gratitude for what you have and because what you focus on expands it’s likely that you will get more. If you focus on what the Joneses have they will get more….love, babies, titles, trophies.

Water the grass right in front of you and watch how green it becomes.

  1. You complain more than you praise

Do you tend to focus on what’s wrong or what’s going well? Are you so stuck in your preferences that when it isn’t the way you like it, it’s not good enough. Becoming wealthy doesn’t have to make you a snob.

Often time it’s perception anyway. Nothing is really wrong, you just find it easier to complain rather than praise. Because it didn’t happen exactly the way you requested you aren’t able to enjoy what you received.

Complaining makes you feel bad, while gratitude makes you feel good. The more you complain the more negative you feel. If you find ways to praise the people, things, situations, and events in your life, you will find more happiness. A compliment can go a long way whether you are giving it or receiving it.

  1. Real connection and self-express

I have a saying, “lack of self-expression leads to depression.” If you are not able to show up authentic you will find yourself more and more unhappy. When you have to pretend and show up fake you will become more and more unhappy. The more you feel sad the more likely you are to open yourself up to experiencing depression.  

When you have a group of friends or family members that allow you to be yourself you are more likely to connect. Human connection is a component to happiness. According to Blue Zone research the happiest places had a few things in common. Human connection was one of them.

You are unhappy because you bought into the idea that it is lonely at the top. It doesn’t have to be. You can find your tribe at the top, middle, or bottom. You can connect with people who like you just the way you are you just have to be willing to be yourself.

Being yourself is the same as finding have to know who you are to be yourself. Let go of what society has told you to be and embrace yourself in all your uniqueness. You don’t have to be like anyone else to be happy. Being you is the best gift you could ever give the world or yourself.  

  1. Life isn’t happening the way you think it should.

Expectations can steal our joy. When we focus on controlling people, events, and situations we lose the opportunity to let it be what it will be. Sometimes we are struggling because we are to afraid. We don’t trust it will work in our favor.

Did you know there is only one thing you have control over, you? (And even that is limited.) When you try to control your spouse, your children, the past, and every situation you miss out on exploring the present moment. You also miss out on allowing others to be their authentic self.

As an achiever you probably have gotten as far as you have by taking control. I applaud you for that and recommend that you find clarity between the things you control and the things you do not control. Check out my course on the Insight Timer app, Control the Controllable. Go to,

Control the Controllable, and for those things that you do not control accept them, influence them or just be curious to see how they unfold for you. When you suspend expectations you allow yourself to accept and receive. Practice being an excellent receiver. Being an excellent receiver brings happiness.

Here are a few questions that can help you find the happiness you are seeking.

What financial feeling am I seeking?

What emotional feeling am I hoping to create?

What is my true heart’s desire?

What is my idea of prosperity?

If you need assistance answering these questions a Prosperous Life Coach can help. Go to to book a consultation with one of our Wealth and Wellness Coaches.

Featured Resources:

Control the Controllable Course

Financial Therapy podcast


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