What “number” makes us happy?

Money brings people together and breaks them up.  It was one issue in the break up of my marriage.  Not how much money we had, but our views and fears about money.  It took me awhile to figure that out – and we were not so mature back then.  I’ve known people with a lot more money than me and they are no happier by virtue of their wealth.  So, what is it?

We all work hard to provide for our families, with long hours away from home, and extra jobs, in an attempt to get those few extra $$.  We think if we get to the next level (whatever that might be) we will be happy.  But, is there a point at which we will have enough?  In other words, when does having more money make us happy?  And, is that the way to look at it all?

Studies show that there is a relationship between salary and happiness (although I’m not sure I buy into that theory – but let’s leave that for now).  Having extra money does allow us to buy better food and other creature comforts.  The research also shows that spending money on experiences (trips) rather than objects – makes people happier (I might agree there).   There is one area in which I totally agree with the research  – the happiest people are those that buy for others – regardless of their income level.

Shortly after my divorce, when the kids were little, we were really down on our financial luck.  I was totally struggling.  A friend invited the kids and me for a trip to Target and bought us groceries and the kids treats.  I will never forget that experience and I have a feeling she won’t either.  I’ve tried to pay that forward whenever I can.  We have a favorite friend that we love to help out and when we do, they are unquestionably some of our happiest moments.

Yet, I keep moving up in income … working to make more money.  Kids in sports, going to college and I suppose the question will be, when is enough … when will I be at the “number?”

In my quest to learn and teach my children, I think I’m looking at this the wrong way.  Instead, I think I need to focus on the number we can give away, not the number I’m making. (Note to my kids: I love how grateful you are already!)   Maybe this will help us see that how much we give (whether time or money) is the key to how “much” will make us happy … and how much will be enough.  What do you think?

Well, I hope you all have a very relaxing weekend.  I can’t wait to catch up next week!

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