Wealth and Well-Being

What is the nature of the relationship between wealth and perceived well-being?

In my previous post, I mentioned that there are instances where people accumulate a significant amount of wealth at the expense of their well-being. While this is true in some cases, I think it is also important to point out that there are people who make a significant amount of money and are very content with their lives. Maybe this is because they simply love what they do. Or perhaps they work a demanding job in order to provide for a family that brings meaning into their lives. Certainly, either of these reasons would be very noble ones for somebody to accumulate wealth, and so the last thing I would want to do is paint out wealth to be a bad thing that comes at the expense of well-being in every instance.

What these observations lead me to ask though is what is the true nature of the relationship between wealth and perceived well-being? From the above examples, I think a valid conclusion is that as long as the person finds meaning in what they do on a regular basis, then accumulating wealth as a side-effect is actually a good thing, as long as it is not the only thing.

The concept strongly ties into the saying “the best things in life are truly free.” For example, if you apply PERMA (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment) theory to a person’s job, then it is possible that they are living a very meaningful and fulfilling life. Their happiness is not contingent on earning money or buying material things. The person experiences Positive emotions through smiling at the opportunity they have been given in their lives. They experience a high level of Engagement by applying their talents to the best of their ability. They build strong Relationships with people at the workplace who share a common goal. Their sense of Meaning comes from contributing to something bigger than themselves, whether that be making the company grow or something else like providing for a family. Finally, they feel Accomplished after a job well done at work. Notice that with every single one of these examples, the achieved sense of happiness and well-being comes without a single penny of their income being spent in order to achieve it.

Therefore, with a firm foundation of PERMA being applied, the person could live a very meaningful and fulfilling life. Any wealth that they accumulate would be a mere side effect of what they love to do anyway. The relationship between wealth and well-being would be perceived much more optimistically with this perspective.

This perspective, however, contrasts with other theories of wealth and well-being, where happiness is supposedly the result of accumulating wealth. In this model, the only consideration for a job is the salary so that the person can drive the nicest car, or have the biggest house, or have the latest iPhone on the market. Only after obtaining these things will the person finally be happy according to this line of thinking.

Personally, I favor the more optimistic perspective. In reality, however, the majority of us are going to be somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. Still, I strive to view things in the optimistic perspective because my happiness is not dependent on what is coming up in the future. I can be happy with what I am doing today, and be excited to do something similar the next day. The happiness that is experienced is also not temporary pleasure but instead prolonged peace and contentment. Finally, I still have the opportunity to enjoy pleasurable activities, but they are not my only source to turn to for happiness.

There is certainly a lot more to this topic, and so I welcome any contributions that any of you may have about the topic of wealth and well-being. If nothing else, I hope that you are able to apply your talents to the best of your ability in whatever occupation you currently hold. I also hope that you are mindful of the great things that you do for the company, your customers, your family, and all those around you. This mentality is much more sustainable to have over the long-term than some of the other theories of wealth and well-being. Thanks for reading, and have a great day at work or school or whatever it is that you do tomorrow!

35 thoughts on “Wealth and Well-Being

  1. Very much so! I use that word because I feel that contentment describes something more sustained as opposed to experiencing temporary pleasure. Contentment is something people can always go to when they may be feeling more down in a moment, which is a valuable skill to have throughout the events of one’s life.

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  2. True wealth is WHO we are and WHO become more of in our journey. It goes beyond material wealth ….. Money is a powerful tool to help us achieve ambitions and goals in life, or even to simply exist….. BUT, it is not everything. Thus, should be utilized to live out our true purposes ….. loving, giving, serving …… money is NOT the goal ….. it is simply a means to serve higher purposes in life. Wealth is truly internal more than external. Are we truly abundant in our thinking, our giving of ourselves our gratitude level? ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh thank you so much for inspiring me! You read me well like a book. I am passionate about things that truly matter in life …. and even more so, PEOPLE who truly matter in life. I’m so glad I discovered your awesome blog. ❤️

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      2. I’m so glad! Although my path was convoluted, I’ve reached the same conclusion of caring about the people around me instead of the things that I thought would bring me individual happiness. I’m glad we both have similar viewpoints, it is very confirming to me and hopefully others as well. Thanks for reading!

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      3. We are indeed kindred spirits! 😊😊 I always remind myself to be grateful for what I have in life (instead of pursuing endlessly other material possessions) and more importantly, WHO I have in life. ❤️❤️ And I thank God from whom all good things come. 🙏🙏 HAVE A HAPPY, LOVE-FILED DAY!!! 💕🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷💕

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  3. Being a believer in GOD, puts everything in perspective. When I have my strong faith, then I am truly content with who I am and what I have. Yes I like nice things, but they aren’t my all and all. Often I am the happiest when I actually have not much money. Then there is no need or draw to the mall etc. You look around yourself and see what you do have and are truly grateful. And I know deep inside that there is a reason and purpose for everything.

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    1. So true! I think this really illustrates that it’s not bad to enjoy pleasurable activities themselves, it just is not the only source of happiness. Putting my happiness into something eternal in God has helped me immensely in life and put things into perspective. I also try to show that components of happiness are actually even scientifically supported through positive psychology. This is what I hope to demonstrate with my blog: that happiness is a mindset and about an appreciation of what you have in life, and should not be about the endless pursuit of material things. Thanks for reading my article, it really means a lot to me to hear people’s contributions and backgrounds! God bless you!

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  4. You have great wisdom! Monetary wealth can many times create more stress than happiness. For me my faith is first and foremost and from that flows peace, joy and happiness and the best part is that I get to splash that onto other people around me!

    Thank you for following my blog. I look forward to reading more of your insightful messages.

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    1. Thank you very much! I am glad that faith is what you build your foundation on, as this works very well for allowing everything else to fall into place. The more eternal sources of happiness stemming from joy and peace, I feel, are much better than the temporary pleasures in life. That’s not to say the pleasurable things are bad, it is just to say that they are not my only source of perceived well-being. Thanks for taking a look at my article, I appreciate your contribution! I look forward to hearing more of your insights!

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    1. It is much better to view wealth as a side effect of something that you are happy to do anyway. Not happy in the sense that it is an intensely pleasurable experience, but that you are able to apply your talents to something greater than the self. Thanks for your contribution!

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  5. I chose a college major that would make me money. I hoped the passion would be there but at the time didn’t care as long as I’d get paid. Since then I’ve grown and realized a lot about myself. I muscled through my internship this summer and knew, even though I am good in the field, I do not find fulfillment in it. I’ve taken a semester off to explore some hobbies and figure out what my true passion and purpose in life is.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I was originally in college to become a physician in order to help people and make money. Truthfully, however, I started to like the idea of the money more than the helping, which clouded me for a very long time until it hit me hard that I actually didn’t really want to be a doctor. I found a greater passion studying psychology and philosophy. Now with my background, I feel that I’ve found a true passion in reading and writing about topics pertaining to the mind. I’m also hoping to be of assistance to people by writing about these topics from a positive psychology perspective. Thanks again for sharing your experience! I hope that you find out what your talents are and that you are able to use them to the best of your ability!

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  6. I am of the view that there is no limit to our desire for having material possessions. But it has to have some limit. I think, the wealth we earn with our sincere efforts give more satiety than what you just get by other means. Secondly, more wealth does not mean a satisfied life. If we have comfortable bed, it hardly means we can have sound sleep if we have sleep problem due to our mental health problems, then, if we have enough of items to eat but our system does not permit us then what is the use of this wealth. A wealth which gives problem to our body (stress etc) mind and soul is of no use at all.

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    1. This is so great! It really emphasizes the importance of balance. Only emphasizing the soul may make our situations very uncomfortable and unhealthy in the long term. Once these basic needs are met, however, one should seriously reflect on whether they really need more to be healthy or whether they are just trying to satisfy the never-ending desire for material things. Thank you for your thoughts!

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      1. Thanks for visiting and offering your invaluable commentary. Our attachment to material possessions besides too much attachment to impermanent things is the main cause of our problem.

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  7. Here are the 12 jobs in which workers reported themselves the most satisfied:

    Clergy
    Physical therapists
    Firefighters
    Education administrators
    Painter, sculptors, related
    Teachers
    Authors
    Psychologists
    Special education teachers
    Operating engineers
    Office supervisors
    Security and financial services salespersons

    The most satisfying jobs are mostly professions, especially those involving caring for, teaching, and protecting others. Or to put it even more succinctly, the happiest jobs are those that involve giving to others.
    source; https://www.spring.org.uk/2017/09/happy-jobs.php

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    1. Yes, thank you very much for including this! It is an interesting observation that the most satisfying jobs are those involving service to others. To me, this is important to note considering many would look to the salary to determine whether it is a satisfying job or not. Thank you for including this!

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