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Happy daze: Does money truly buy happiness?

Having money or considering yourself wealthy makes life easier. But does it make it happier?
That is an age old question that doesn't have a clear cut answer but rather swirling suggestions and opinions that vary.
Those in favor of money being the root of all that is good point to the ability to take vacations, relax on the beach at a moment's notice and cruise around in the car of your choosing, without really having to worry about living from paycheck to paycheck. That thinking suggests that money is directly related to a lack of stress, which is hard to argue.
The irony of that statement is that spending money often is stress reliever in and of itself. An impromptu shopping spree makes you feel great, and so does just spending money in general. But if money is your gateway to being happier, then you might want to think about sharing the wealth. Being able to take some of your money and not only spend it on yourself but give some to charity only would serve to extend your happiness.
Consider it a job well done by handing over a bit of your fortunes to someone less fortunate. That gesture might be the epitome of what it means to have money equate to happiness, more so than collecting cars or houses.

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The charity angle sells the notion that money buys happiness or at least an inner peace that allows the rich to sleep a little more soundly than they already are. That said, middle class or those who don't have expendable income often can be heard saying to anyone that will listen just how happy they are, no matter what their income tax return reads at the end of the year.
But the one variable in this discussions is the celebrity angle and the fact that most famous people, even the ones who seem happy, can't seem to piece together relationships or marriages that last, even if their joint checking account is in the millions. Couples who share their lives and bottom lines together simply don't last, which would totally discount the money versus happiness debate. It also destroys the thought process that money and stress cancel each other out. Nothing is more stressful than a high profile divorce between celebrities, rock stars and models, right?
The truth is happiness can't be quantified by dollars and cents but rather works as a discretionary emotion that rarely has anything to do with how much you're worth. Being able is relative to a person, their wants and needs and the overall scope of their relationship and how they choose to live their life. If a one bedroom, two bath home, a loving spouse and a few children is all you ever wanted, then money falls high on the priority list.
Granted, it's nice to have and no one is going to argue that point. But most of us can agree based on our own situations that it is hardly everything.

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