Money can’t buy you love

by Kate on October 14, 2012

Money can't buy you happiness

Money can’t buy you love, and it can’t buy you happiness either. But we need it, so how can we get it in perspective? Here are some Sunday musings on money.

In his book “Authentic Happiness”, Martin Seligman suggests what many of us are pretty sure is true –  “money can’t buy your happiness”. We sometimes try to buy it, by purchasing things, or holidays or seeking accomplishments, but the more we have the more we want. The happiness doesn’t last.

Here’s what Seligman writes:

How important money is to you, more than money itself, influences your happiness. Materialism seems to be counterproductive: at all levels of real income, people who value money more than other goals are less satisfied with their lives as a whole, although precisely why is a mystery.

In short, it’s not money that’s the problem. It’s how we think about it, and the place it occupies in our lives.

It’s tricky to think about money in a helpful way, as we face pressures which often seem to pull us to place money, and the pursuit of it, front and centre. For example:

I work with business people, especially in smaller business, which means money, profit and managing the financial part of business is central to conversations. Money isn’t everything, but it is very important – especially now, when times are a bit tougher for many.

At a personal level, we need to generate an income so we can meet our needs today and in the future. We must pay off debt and put aside savings to pay for raising a family, caring for our elders, and to support us as we get older. Yes, we want to enjoy life, and we need to be financially responsible.

What’s your attitude to money?

Billy Graham said, “If a person gets his attitude to money straight, it will straighten out almost every other area in his life.”.

Since money can’t buy happiness, yet we need it, and it can be downright problematic when the money part of life doesn’t work,  we might be well advised to reflect on our relationship to money.

I’m just starting to explore this topic, and perhaps these questions can be a good start.

  • What does financial responsibility look like? Consider in terms of being able to generate an income now and into the future, and also putting aside savings
  • What can I do that will give me a sense of control over the money side of life?
  • What are my non-financial goals? What am I doing to progress towards them and get a sense of accomplishment. Do this for business and personal life.

Have you got thoughts on this? Please leave a comment below.

What if you’re facing financial stress?

Many people are facing tough times and financial stress at the moment. I know looking at these money questions isn’t especially easy when that happens. When we are concerned about money, it tends to become much more high profile in our lives.

If that’s you, here are some tips

  • I’d definitely recommend reading Seligman’s book for some helpful insights. One excellent suggestion is to take 5 minutes each day (just before you brush your teeth before bed), and write down up to 5 things you are grateful or thankful for. Do it for 14 days and see how you feel.
  • If you’re in business and feeling financial stress. Here are some tips we created over at Smart Franchise.
  • At an personal level, check out the tips at You might also consider popping by my pal, Nancy Zimmerman’s blog. Nancy is a money coach, and she posts cool stuff to get people thinking about money and priorities.


For counselling, help and advice, related to mental health and depression, consider the following resources:

Black Dog Institute  -

Beyond Blue –

Lifeline - 

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