Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, but It Can Provide Options

Alliah Czarielle avatar

by Alliah Czarielle |

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“Money can buy happiness.”

My younger self would have refused to buy into that idea. I would have retorted with a long list of nonmaterial things that gave me pleasure. After all, Jessie J sang in her 2011 hit song “Price Tag” that, “It’s not about the money, money, money.” I still find myself singing along to the same catchy tune today.

But now that I’m older and more experienced, I realize that there is a relationship between money and happiness.

Money does not always buy happiness. But it does give a person more options in life, allowing them to feel free. They aren’t forced to choose between a few suboptimal options that don’t align with their preferences.

I realized this when my husband, Jared, and I moved to our own place, along with our small daughter and a nanny. If we had a bigger budget for rent, we would have been able to choose a larger, more comfortable home. But because our budget is limited by our earnings and nonnegotiable expenses, such as medication, transportation, and phone plans (all of which are important for people with disabilities!), we were limited to a small selection of starter apartments.

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Of course, higher prices don’t always indicate better quality. Occasionally, we find a steal. But these instances are exceptions, rather than the rule.

More money translates to more wiggle room and comfort. When we moved to our condo unit, we couldn’t bring our car. So, our only choice was to take public transport, even if it meant crossing dangerous streets on a daily basis. Some people in a similar financial position might have bought a motorcycle instead, but that isn’t an option for us. Riding a motorcycle would be dangerous for Jared, who has both hemophilia and a seizure disorder.

Lately, I’ve been selling many of my prized fountain pens so we have funds to maintain our business. I must make a difficult choice between my beloved hobby and our sustenance, and for now, I choose the latter. In an ideal world, people get to have both jobs and hobbies because work-life balance is important. But I am slowly realizing that not everyone has this privilege.

No wonder my mom, who worked a lot, would often tell me she didn’t have hobbies. In reality, my mom was both a genius and a creative. I once snuck a peek in her work notebook and saw the most detailed ballpoint drawing of a sea turtle swimming in the ocean. I was in awe!

I used to think it was corny to claim she had no hobbies, but now I understand. Even though she enjoyed art, she needed to focus on her office work so she could provide for me.

I’m still privileged because I can continue to enjoy art as a hobby, even if I must let go of some expensive equipment. Jared tells me it’s important that I prioritize my mental health as much as my work, if not more.

It’s true that there are many things in this world money cannot buy. No amount of cash in the bank can be traded for belly laughs with your closest friends, a tender moment with your spouse or child, or even a beautiful sunset. But you can buy experiences that you and your friends can enjoy. You can rent out a nice, romantic venue and create sweet moments with your husband or wife. You can pay for tickets to a theme park and make memories your child will remember their whole life. You can travel to a beautiful, well-preserved beach and watch the sunset. If you have a chronic illness, you can buy medication to lessen the pain, hasten your recovery time, or make disability less burdensome overall.

And in a way, you can buy time. If you have a flexible job that pays the bills, covers medical insurance, and allows you to work from anywhere, you have more time to savor the moments that matter.

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Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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