Can Wealth Buy Happiness?
EVIDENTLY having more money does not make people happier. Says the magazine Psychology Today: “Once above the poverty line, increases in income have surprisingly little relation to personal happiness.”
This was confirmed in a New York Times obituary of October 29, 1993, that carried the headline: “Doris Duke, 80, Heiress Whose Great Wealth Couldn’t Buy Happiness, Is Dead.” The article said: “Late one evening in Rome in 1945, Miss Duke, who was then 33 years old, told a friend that her vast fortune was in some ways a barrier to happiness.”
“All that money is a problem sometimes,” Duke confided to a friend. “After I’ve gone out with a man a few times, he starts to tell me how much he loves me. But how can I know if he really means it? How can I ever be sure?” The Times noted: “Her words that night showed that her life had been profoundly affected, even scarred, by her wealth.”
Similarly, Jean Paul Getty, once reputed to be the richest man in the world, said: “Money doesn’t necessarily have any connection with happiness. Maybe with unhappiness.” And Jane Fonda, a famous Hollywood actress, who during the 1970’s received half a million dollars per movie, said: “I’ve had my taste of wealth and all the material things. They don’t mean a thing. There’s a psychiatrist that goes with every swimming pool out here, not to mention divorces and children who hate their parents.”
While wealth alone will never bring happiness, neither does abject poverty. Thus, a wise man long ago said: “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” (Proverbs 30:8, 9) Another Bible writer noted that what a person needs in order to be happy is “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency. For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.”—1 Timothy 6:6-10.