Money may not be the be-all and end-all of life, nonetheless this doesn’t necessarily detract from its usefulness as an indispensable resource for meeting the basic necessities of life. As a matter of fact, money influences just about everything under the sun. And more than any other factor, its absence or presence in your life could singlehandedly determine your level of happiness, or unhappiness. Perhaps, this was what prompted the preacher, writing in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes 10:19, to make the universal declaration that “money is the answer for everything”. Given this, it’s quite impossible to justify the ironic conclusion reached by some research findings which appear to relegate this significant role money plays in our daily lives to a place of meaninglessness. Some might even dare suggest that money won’t make us happy. Besides being laughable, these claims are manifestly over-the-top. True, happiness isn’t some consumer product you could buy on a supermarket shelf for the right amount. But that is not say that money makes no difference in the pursuit of happiness. There’s far too much evidence to the contrary. While money may not literally buy happiness, its acquisition does come with certain life-changing freedoms, which when utilized could significantly enhance the quality of ones lives. There’s no doubt that these pleasurable freedoms could increase our sense of wellbeing and boost our happiness in life. Here are 5 money freedoms that buy you happiness
(1) Work Freedom
“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.”
– John Wooden
A person’s choice of career can be an immense source of satisfaction to them. When people do work they are truly passionate about, and that resonates well with their cherished values, compliments their unique interests or fits well with their own personal criteria, they feel truly fulfilled and their lives takes on meaning. But this is only possible if you have enough money put aside in a bank account. Because it saves you the dilemma of having to choose between a rewarding job and another that pays high, but yet makes you well and thoroughly miserable – and with this, you won’t ever let the pressure of finding the money to meet your basic needs and mounting bills back you into a corner by accepting work that’s anything but fulfilling. You’ll have to work because you want to, not because you have to. And best of all, you’ll be free to take risks to try out your ideas without being scared of the prospect of a sack hanging over your head – for trying. But only wealth can afford you this important freedom: of living life to the fullest; and more importantly, on your own terms. This makes you happy
But in today’s workplace, most employees are pressed for cash, and with piling financial obligations to meet, most have been forced to prioritize higher pay over job satisfaction. The net effect has been that they’ve had to give up finding work they’re passionate about to do the one they hate – just for the money!
A recent Gallop study reveals that Eighty-five percent of employees worldwide are in this bracket, and admit to actually resenting their jobs. For the simple reason that they’re working for money, and not for themselves.
(2) Financial Freedom
Money and life are intricately entwined, such that when people say they want to enjoy life to the fullest or live out their dreams, what they mean really is that they want to make more money. Quite possibly, enough to not have to work anymore, or ever worry about going broke. Within life, money is to living what blood is to human life. It’s not possible to enjoy one without the other. An abundance of it represents infinite possibilities for both the possessor and his loved ones. It’s an insurance against one of life’s worst fears – the fear of poverty and dependence on others. All those who enjoy this important resource are safe in the knowledge that they’ve got an important cushion against some of life’s biggest uncertainties and are ably equipped to respond in times of unexpected emergencies. They can go to bed every night and sleep soundly without worrying about where their next meal would come from. They won’t have nightmares either, of losing it all, and going on skid row. Whatever may come in life, the wealthy are assured of always having this protective safety net, afforded them by their well-earned riches. It puts their minds at rest, creating the ideal conditions for the blossoming of thoughts that foster a sense of wonderful inner peace and tranquility. In another sense, financial freedom is freedom from lack and its worries. This brings happiness. But people with constant money issues can expect to experience a crisis that’ll affect both their confidence, and prey upon their mind, while causing them to lose this sense of inner peace. For such people, deficit is a constant reality. And this fact dominates their minds and drives them to a complex.
(3) Relationship Freedom.
Centuries ago, Aristotle wrote that, “Man is a social animal”. In truth, humans are designed to function within the context of a social setting. Whether that’s a family, a close friendship, or workplace ties. To a larger extent, your overall happiness in life will be defined by the nature and quality of the relationships you maintain throughout the course of your life. Among humans, our needs for companionship, acceptance and love rank highest among others. These longings primarily drive us to make contacts with others and to form life-long associations in the process. But in forming and maintaining these relationships, money could act as both facilitator and catalyst. Even one of the most profound books of the Bible on practical living, “Proverbs” acknowledges this fact in chapters 14:20 that, “The poor is hated even of his neighbor: but the rich hath many friends”. Money has the same magnetic pull on people as does honey on bees. And generally, the wealthier one is, the longer the list of one’s associates, well-wishers and friends – most of whom might prove to be allies. And with such a reliable network of friends to fall back on, the more fulfilled one is.
In family or in ones love life, one might experience this same positive influence of money. It’s the make-it-happen power allowing for a deeper and profounder expression of love. With enough cash in hand, couples can keep their romance aflame and lavish more love on each other. You can take vacations at some of the best destinations in the world, shower yourselves gifts, and revel in every pleasure money can buy. Equally, money has that power to alter the dynamics of a family beyond our wildest dreams. You can press it into the service of your cherished ones and provide them all that they need to make life truly enjoyable and comfortable. And with your loved one’s material needs being catered for, and so much love in the air, they’ll reciprocate by loving you in return. This will have an incredible effect on your happiness.
(4) Freedom for Self-actualization
Abraham Maslow propounded the theory of hierarchy of needs. He identified that humans have two basic needs: “deficiency needs” and “being needs” (another term for self-actualization). However, the highest need that people have according to Maslow’s theory was for self-actualization. But to realize this, people must first satisfy their “deficiency needs”. Linked to this, are the need for safety and survival. This requires the provision of food, clothing and accommodation for one’s general wellbeing. And meeting these needs require money. But when these needs are not adequately met owing to a frugal existence, people come under increasing stress and become unhappy. And worse still, this effectively shuts the door on the fulfilment of one’s personal potential.
But the happiest and most fulfilled of people are those with enough money to satisfy their “deficiency needs”. And with their basic needs out of the way, such people can channel their efforts on becoming the person they were meant to be. To live in sync with their highest purpose and to reach their true potential. This is one of the obvious advantages of wealth as having more money brings you closer to fulfilling your “being needs” – which is your very existence. You feel that you are living the life of your dream; it may be pursuing a new career, starting a new business, or traveling the world. Whichever you decide, its pursuit will create room for outstanding personal achievement. And by reaching your goals, you’ll begin to experience tremendous feelings of joy and personal satisfaction.
(5) Physical Freedom
Along with these other freedoms, money does guarantee you physical freedom. Not merely individual autonomy, or the liberty to make your own decisions, but that freedom which allows you to live life to the full and manifest life’s fullness. Money enables you to have that unforgettable “peak experience” so many people could only dream of. It gives you the access to everything essential for an absolutely amazing life. With money, you could provide yourself the very best of diet and exercise, both of which are vital for fitness, optimum health and longevity. If you want to, you can live in the lap of luxury, and maintain your dream lifestyle: hang out with the influential, with wear only designers, eat out at fancy restaurants, drive fast cars, marry your dream man or woman, and have gorgeous kids and get to raise them in a life-changing neighborhood. The list could go on. But if there’s anything I’ve said, it’s that more money influences your life choices in every way and gives you the chance to turn every day of your life into fun. Money translates to “physical freedom” and securing this will all but pave the way for your future happiness.