What makes us happy? (Read Time 1:35)

So, ‘what makes us happy?’  The World Happiness Report has been released by the United Nations and it makes very interesting reading – quite happy reading actually!


As Kiwis, we are among the happiest people in the world, which is really good to know, particularly as I am one!!

I decided to do my own ‘household happiness report’, so I asked our 24 yr old daughter if she was happy.  I got an emphatic, “Yes”, so I asked her, “what makes you happy’?”  This was her list:

  1. Having good friends,
  2. A job she enjoys,
  3. Family that she gets on with and
  4. Being able to go away for weekends and catch up with friends who live out of town.

We were on a roll, so I asked one more question, “If you had more money, would it make you happier?”

The answer to this question required a bit more thought.  “Maybe.  More money to spend means I could do more.  I can manage on what I earn, but if I was offered a pay rise, I wouldn’t say no.”  Happiness = reality – expectations.

Next I asked my husband the same question, “are you happy’?”  Again I got an emphatic “Yes.”  So I asked, “what makes you happy?”  The list wasn’t very different from our daughter;

  1. Spending time with family and friends,
  2. Challenging work projects and
  3. Time for relaxation out of the office.

So I asked, “If we had more money, would you be happier?” (I just love asking the curly questions…)  Again, there was a bit of time taken for thinking.  “If it meant I had to spend more time in the office to generate the extra income, then no, I wouldn’t be happier.  On the other hand, if we won the lottery… we would have more to spend or invest, but I still don’t think it would make me any happier than I am now.  Sure, it would give us that comfortable buffer, but no, not happier.”

OK, I know you are all waiting with bated breath for my thoughts on the subject.  Yes, I am happy!  Would more money increase my level of happiness?  Probably not.  Sure, we could buy more ‘stuff’ have more holidays, but at the end of the day it comes down to your core values of what makes you happy in first place.

There is no denying the fact that if you live in a situation where you don’t have enough money to fulfill your basic needs of life, food, clothing and shelter, then the answer is YES.  In this case,  the answer to “What makes us Happy?” is having more money.  It will definitely make you happier, it will also make you healthier and less stressed.

There comes a point on the happiness graph where the increase in happiness stagnates even though income is still increasing.

The happiness report quotes ‘hyper-commercialism’ (the pursuit of ‘stuff’) has failed to lift the average US happiness for more than half a century, even as per capita income has tripled.

In the words of the Beatles “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love”.  It also seems that money doesn’t buy happiness either.

 www.mymoneyseeker.com  Lynda Moore


2 thoughts on “What makes us happy? (Read Time 1:35)

  1. As Maslow and Herzberg taught us, if you can forget about the basic needs in life, you can more easily focus on higher levels of satisfaction. of course it all comes down to what those basic needs are. Mother Theresa had a very different perspective on the basic needs, when compared to someone like Donald Trump. I have had some of my happiest days when all I had was a motorcycle, a guitar and my possessions in a backpack. Today I have more possessions, but if I had to choose between them and the health and well-being of my family, it would be an easy decision.


  2. Hi Luigi, Thanks for your comment. Understanding the distinction between needs and wants and what is important to you is fundamental to happiness, and this may change over time as you mature and priorities change.
    Happiness isn’t just about money, relationships and how we spend our time is also a very important component.


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