In the afterword of “All the Money In the World“, Peter Bernstein and Annalyn Swan inquired the frequently asked question, “Does it make millionaires and billionaires happy – or at least happier?” They quoted Daniel Gilbert ‘s book, “Stumbling on Happiness” – “economists and psychologists have spent decades studying the relation between wealth and happiness, and they have generally concluded that wealth increases human happiness when it lifts people out of abject poverty and into the middle class buy that it does little to increase happiness thereafter. Americans who earn $50,000 per year are much happier than those who earn $10,000 per year, but Americans who earn $5 million per year are not much happier than those who earn $100,000 per year.” The authors went on further, “Once you’ve bought your way beyond hunger, sickness, fear, and fatigue, writes Gilbert, “the rest of your money is an increasingly useless pile of paper.””
I share the same perspective as Gilbert and I have articulated in the previous post. Money makes a big difference when you are having problem meeting your basic needs. The satisfaction derived from money suffers dimishing returns thereafter.
The co-authors also quoted some of the billionaires/millionaires about money and happiness:
“A happy person with money is probably happier, and an unhappy person with money is never happy. Money is not going to fix it. At least that’s what my mother used to tell me – and it’s true.” – T. Boone Pickens
[Free Ebook] How should you invest your first $20,000?
We asked 14 Singapore finance bloggers to share what they would do if they could go back in time and invest their first $20,000. They can no longer rewind time, but you can learn from their experience and hopefully start with a better footing.
“Money may not make you happy, but it makes life more convenient. And it puts us in the position to help poor people.” – Kavitark Ram Shriram
“All the studies suggest that riches bring happiness, but only for a moment. I read one study that found that the only surefire thing that leads to happiness, except maybe doing something for other people, was to dance.” – Nelson Aldrich Jr
“Right after my company got successful, as a young man I met some of the wealthiest people in the world and found that they were such unhappy, lonely people. Howard Hughes, for example, was a recluse when he was helping with the work we did on the POWs. But he would never ever surface. I learned that money and happiness are unrelated.” – Ross Perot
“I measure my success by how often I’m smiling. If I wake up smiling and looking forward to the day, then I’m successful. That’s how I felt when I was dirt-poor and with five roommates and how I feel today. Money can’t make you happy, but it sure can make your life a lot easier. If you were happy without money, it’s easy to be ecstatic with it!” – Mark Cuban