Money cannot buy everything. Although money is important, we have to understand what no money can buy.
It’s all about the money, right? Money controls almost every aspect of our lives. It is important. We need to recognize that.
We also need to recognize what no money can buy.
At the same time, there are things that money cannot buy. While having some money can help ease the bumps of life, having a lot of money does not buffer you from the struggles of life.
What No Money Can Buy
Money is not the answer to everything in this world. In fact, money can also be a negative influence. The pursuit of money can be a toxic race that makes us forget all else and leaves us unable to find happiness and joy.
Chasing money without spending time and energy working on relationships, family, and happiness will not make us happy.
Sometimes you have to make decisions that are not about money. Even if these choices cost you money, that does not mean they are the wrong choice.
I work a flexible job that pays less to be home and available for my kids. My husband works in a low-paying field because he feels a calling to do that. Hopefully, my kids will one day go to a private school where I will pay an excessive amount of tuition because I believe it is best for them. All these decisions are not leading to “wealth.”
As a society, we sometimes exalt people who have money to an extremely high status. We assume that if they have money, it must mean that they are happy. We also assume that people who have money are “good people.”
If money is good, then the people who have money must be good. If money makes you happy, then the people who have money must be satisfied.
We think this despite all evidence to the contrary.
We don’t want to believe this one even though it stares us in the face all the time. That is not to say that money can’t buy comfort or ease, but it cannot buy happiness. Heartbreak and pain cannot be paid off and exist no matter how much money you have. No money can buy happiness.
The Fallacy of Rich Divorce
When news articles come out about an extremely wealthy person divorcing or committing suicide, or doing a terrible crime, we react with shock. We look on in disbelief. How can this be?
Take this quote from The Times:
“If the Gateses, with all that money……, couldn’t make it, what hope is there for the rest of us?”
The answer: Plenty of hope because their divorce means nothing to us.
There are a million reasons why people divorce and why people stay married. Money does not make people better spouses. Cash does not make a failed marriage work. Money does not make anyone better or happier than anyone else.
Some of the happiest people on earth have no money.
A good marriage is something no money can buy.
Happiness is something no money can buy.
Morality is something no money can buy.
Being a good person and an upstanding citizen is something no money can buy.
What No Money Can Buy- Being Grateful
Besides happiness and contentment, there are numerous other things in our lives that no money can buy.
Although money can, in fact, make our lives easier, and I am the first to encourage being frugal, saving money, and helping lift others out of poverty.
While money cannot buy happiness, poverty can cause sadness.
Being Mindful and Grateful
When we have those things that no money can buy, we must be grateful. We have to work on practicing being thankful for those things that we were blessed with. Happiness should not be taken for granted. Relationships should not be taken for granted. Time should not be taken for granted. Health should not be taken for granted.
If we are lucky enough to be given those things, or we are blessed with the knowledge that we have to work hard to make those things happen, then we need to realize how incredibly privileged we are. we have something that no money can buy. We are the lucky ones.
If you do have money, you should spread the wealth- remember you don’t need more to be happy- do your best to share it with others. The act of giving and sharing makes you a better person, and that is something that no money can buy.
Things Money Can’t Buy
I know that this one is debatable as a lot of our health does rely on having money to buy certain things, pay for doctors, and keep our bodies in tip-top shape. However, when illness strikes, it hits hard, and it doesn’t matter how much money you have.
When your time is up, then your time is up. Money can’t help with that. The Angel of Death doesn’t take bribes
Have you lost time? You can’t get it back. No matter how much you are willing or able to pay- you cannot get it back. It’s gone, and money won’t get it back for you.
Relationships take effort, and you can’t buy friendship or intimacy even if you can buy companionship.
A happy marriage and relationship both have nothing to do with the size of your bank account.
No matter how powerful you are, how much money you make, how much attention you command, you can not buy genuine respect. You have to earn it. People may be forced to show you respect, but you can’t get real respect unless you earn it.
What is contentment? “Contentment could be a state of having accepted one’s situation and is a milder and more tentative form of happiness” (source). You cannot purchase Acceptance and contentment in the store. You cannot pay or bribe someone to get it for you.
Being happy with what you have is indeed a gift- it is also something that you can develop with yourself. However, money cannot buy this. Too much money can have an inverse relationship with satisfaction.
Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their worth (source). Only your true self can only give yourself self-esteem; you cannot get self-esteem from external factors, like wealth.
Just like a good relationship or marriage, money cannot buy real love. It can only be felt and earned with loving acts. All the money in the world can’t purchase true love.
Meaning and Purpose
Do you have meaning in your life? Do you feel that what you are doing has a purpose? Although money can help you get meaning and purpose- giving charity, helping others, etc., money itself cannot provide meaning and purpose. Money can only be used as a tool to derive meaning.
Money cannot buy a person’s character. Having a good (or bad character) isn’t developed through money. To build character, you have to put in the work. Hopefully, you become a better person because of the things you do, the self-control you exert, the people you help, and the things you learn.
The big one. Money does not equal morals. In fact, the Bible urges people to be wary of money as it can cloud their judgment and lead to immorality. Whatever moral code you live by, sticking to it may cost you money, but money can’t get you a sense of morality.
A sense of decency does not come from money, and in fact, one can argue that money can interfere with building a sense of decency. Since money CAN buy power, there are often fewer consequences for those with money. Therefore, it is easier to justify, twist and explain inappropriate actions to yourself.
The final one. Money does not buy happiness. What can no money buy? Happiness.
Unfortunately, we often forget this. I often forget this. I sometimes dream that I will be happier when I have the money I want. I will be content. I will feel good. I will be satisfied. That cannot be further from the truth. We make our happiness, and money has nothing to do with it.
4 thoughts on “What No Money Can Buy”
I love this. Especially the fallacy of a rich divorce. We can look at Bezos, Gates, and even Buffett (Technically he was never divorced) on how much money they had and the end of their marriages. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you are good. It does not buy a happy marriage, character, respect, and health. Money is a tool that can be used for good, but we do need to remember the many things money cannot buy. People often think about how money will make their life so much better, but it does not make people good. This is a great post just pointing out these great points. More people to need to hear this.
Very core points that are missed by a lot of people. The goal is to accumulative wealth and wellness, not ignore your wellbeing for more money!
Nicely written! Especially within the FIRE community, it is always important to remember why we are doing this. Sometimes we get too carried away on being as frugal as possible that we start compromising the very things we are ultimately working for!
We recently moved from Texas to Florida, to a somewhat higher cost of living area, to be closer to our families. While the move might not make much sense financially, it definitely increases our happiness and that of our kids. You can’t put a price on that!
Well said! When I see people arguing about paying off your mortgage vs. investing, I’m just over here thinking how I chose to reduce our income by 75% so I could stay home with our baby. I refuse to even do the math on all the money I’m giving up with matches, bonuses, and the compounding. I’m still working to make sure we’re comfortable when we do retire, and some things are just more important than achieving my maximum wealth.