The Top 20 Things That Money Can’t Buy

Money can buy you a home, help you pay for college, or take you on a trip around the world. But there are also some things that money can’t buy. Read more about what one can and can’t buy with money here.


For those not born into a fortune, it usually takes a lot of time and work to become a millionaire or billionaire. And there’s nothing wrong with having a nice car, not having to worry about how to pay medical bills, being able to lay out a Benjamin Franklin as a dinner tip, and achieving financial security.


That said, having a load of money and lots of expensive material possessions does not necessarily mean someone is living their best life, and it’s also not a prerequisite for having a good home, well-adjusted kids, and a fulfilling life. In fact, there are many important things money can’t buy.


The importance of money in our society should never be underestimated, but it’s also important for rich people, poor people, and everyone in between to understand that there are essential things in life that money can’t buy. There are basic needs money can’t provide, even for the wealthiest people, and everyone can benefit from a focus on simple things over material goods.


You don’t need to be the Dalai Lama to understand the value of simple, important things. Sometimes all it takes to find real wisdom on this planet is to step outside and gaze at the incredible night sky.


Let’s look at some of the things you might ponder when you do that:


1. Love


It might be a cliche, but it’s true: money can’t buy love. It can pay for fancy restaurants and vacations and the like, but it doesn’t buy emotional intimacy, which is a lot more than hugs and kisses. Discovering and appreciating the inner beauty in someone takes time and genuine personal connections.


2. Happiness


True happiness is another of the important things money can’t buy. In fact, many wealthy people inwardly are lonely and depressed as they feel valued for their money and not who they really are. People of all income levels can be happy or unhappy.


3. Health

A Portrait of healthy foods in black background.
Image Credit: chanakas1992/Shutterstock.

Money can make it easier to take advantage of medical advances and afford expensive procedures like surgery, but it doesn’t grant good physical health in the first place. Your natural health is something you’re born with and something you can affect through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices.


4. Passion


True passions come from inside, not from having money. For example, money might let you buy the most expensive guitar and pay for lessons on playing it, but it won’t make you love it. If you feel a true calling for something, pursue it no matter what your paycheck is.


5. Talent


Likewise, that expensive guitar and lessons won’t make you a master player. Talent is mostly innate and can be honed with practice. When talent and passion go together, that’s a path to success and happiness.


6. Loyalty


There’s a difference between obedience and loyalty. If you have a lot of resources, people around you may do what you say, but that doesn’t mean they feel genuine loyalty to you. If you haven’t earned their respect, they’ll leave when a better opportunity comes along.


7. Respect, Appreciation, and Admiration


Loyalty isn’t possible without having people’s respect, appreciation, and admiration. Those are things money can’t buy; you have to earn through character and actions.


8. Dignity


Having money doesn’t confer shamelessness. It doesn’t spare you from embarrassment if you behave poorly. Being dignified in the eyes of yourself and others requires acting in a way that justifies it.


9. Honesty and Integrity


This works both ways. If you have a lot of money but don’t act with honesty and integrity, you won’t earn true respect and loyalty. Likewise, people around you may tell you what they think you want to hear, but they might be doing so just to take advantage.


10.  True Friendships


And that brings us to the next two. True friends are things money can’t buy. Real friendship, like love, comes from effort and natural connections between people.


11. Healthy Relationships


Relationships also have to be healthy. Two friends, partners, or family members who constantly bicker and then “make up” with gifts or concessions without addressing the underlying issues don’t have a truly healthy relationship. It takes work and communication.


12. Peace of Mind


Inner peace, being content with who you are and where you are in life. Life satisfaction doesn’t come from being able to pay the bills and afford nice things. It comes from self-reflection, true wisdom, and the right mindset.


13. Good Mental Health


Good mental health is something many people mistakenly assume comes with being financially well off. The truth is that wealthy people struggle with depression, loneliness, drug abuse, and suicide, too, and in much higher numbers than you might expect. Mental well-being is one of the things money can’t buy when many have the wrong understanding that it does.


14. Self-Esteem


A sense of self-worth is important for everyone, and it can be as elusive for rich people as for anyone else. Having an abundance of money and material possessions doesn’t make you feel self-confident and emotionally secure. No matter your income level, essential things such as integrity, meaningful relationships, true passions, goals, and measurable accomplishments are the ways to build self-esteem and feel self-confident.


15. Positive Mindset


Having a positive attitude makes a person happier and more productive, and it encourages and lifts others as well. Money doesn’t make negative thoughts go away; instead, a positive mindset and a focus on positive things is something you always have to be working at.


16. Sense of Humor

Woman spontaneous laugh, person burst laughing out loud, real life smile.
Image Credit: Bricolage/Shutterstock.

Laughter is healthy, especially when you can laugh at yourself or try to find some humor in challenging situations. This is something you can’t purchase with money. A sense of humor and being able to recognize funny things is part of the recipe for happiness and spreading it to others.


17. Good Manners


Unfortunately, our society frequently lets wealthy people get away with poor behavior. Rude people exist at all income levels, but it’s easy for wealthier people to get the message that they don’t have to have good manners. It’s a bad example to set, and it could come back to haunt them.


18. Morality


Morals guide us through life and help us make decisions that affect ourselves and others. Like good manners, morals are things that wealthy people sometimes come to assume don’t apply to them. That’s not true, though, and not just in a legal sense. People who practice strong morals and ethics build trustworthiness, develop genuine friendships, and help create a positive experience for everyone around them throughout their entire lives.


19. Empathy


Empathy is the ability to see things from another person’s perspective and get a sense of what they’re going through. For some people, empathy is innate, and others have to learn and practice it. When you’re wealthy, it can be easy to lose the ability to empathize with those less fortunate. Empathy and morality are part of the path to being a better person.


20. More Time


Finally, money will not buy you more time to get things done. Deadlines are deadlines.


More importantly, it does not buy you a long life or immortality. As the saying goes, you can’t take it with you, so it’s up to you to live your best life because no matter how much health care you can afford or exercise you do, none of us really know how long we have.


Final Thoughts


Many aspects of your life are things money can’t buy or control. Lots of things, such as friends, acquaintances, love, respect, and fulfillment, require extra effort. While financial security is important, the ultimate aim in life should be to be happy with who you are, what you have, and the people you know and love. There are a lot of things money can buy, but it can’t buy those essentials, and there are a lot of problems it can’t solve.

Read More:

This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved. 


Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.