Different people do different things with their money, but when the money they have is sufficient to take care of their priorities, it can bring about bundles of joy. Money could help prevent a home foreclosure in the United States, or allow a poor farmer in a developing nation to feed his or her family. Money can be used for a wedding in Singapore, it can help a scholar in Indonesia or assist a restaurant owner in Australia. The defining element that tips the balance between making these events possible vs. not is simply money.

SEE: 7 Affordable Ways To Buy Happiness

True, a lot of money is spent on what a lot of people may consider inane, like yet another car or a pair of shoes that don't give any real long-lasting happiness. However, having money shouldn't be the only thing we strive for in our lives. The fundamental and pivotal role money plays in the kinds of life we can live is too big to ignore. Let's look at some of the things money can buy.

Time
In some cases, money helps buy more time. Instead of wasting countless amounts of time doing chores and running errands, if one has enough money, it will help cut down the amount of time spent on these things. Money can help in the time aspect by giving us the ability to buy technologies that make some chores quicker and easier to perform. For example, a dishwasher for dirty dishes or a lawnmower for landscaping duties. One can even cut the cost of performing some chores and errands completely by hiring a maid, landscaper or butler. Money can definitely buy time.

Achieving Goals
Money can help us realize a variety of common goals in many different ways. For one, money can provide the funds needed for a proper education. In richer countries, citizens do not have to strive as hard as poorer people in developing nations to realize basic goals like providing food for the family, clothes on their backs and maybe even something less basic like a luxurious vacation. Money can also support training in certain desirable skills like sports and music. In many ways, money can help achieve goals.

Financial Security
A person with financial security would be less worried and happier than someone struggling without it. It affects your world view and what you do with your time. Laura Vanderkam, author of "All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending," says satisfaction with life and consequently happiness increases with income. This is probably because when one has enough money, he or she won't have to stress day in and day out about providing proper food for the family, or worry about a family member becoming ill and not having enough funds to pay for healthcare. Financial security is one of the many things money can also buy.

Creating Opportunities
The more money you have, the greater the opportunities we have to help others. Michael Norton, associate professor at the Harvard Business school, says it is far more satisfying in the long run if people use their money to help others, rather than spend it only on satisfying their individual needs. These conclusions were reached by conducting a study across economic and demographic groups whose highlights he presented in his TED talk called How to Buy Happiness. He says, "The specific way that you spend on other people isn't nearly as important as the fact that you spend on other people."

SEE: Money Can't Buy Happiness, But What About Championships?

Experiences
Vanderkam says that money can buy happiness if done mindfully. Buying too much of the same thing is going to diminish happiness, as compared to using money to create an experience that can be shared. This, she says, helps the happiness grow three-fold. It grows through the anticipation, the experience and the happy memories whenever we remember it. Money can provide the capital needed to gain lasting experiences like traveling the world, scuba-diving in amazing oceans and trying some of the most delicious meals restaurants have to offer. Money can buy a ton of wonderful experiences that are available in our world.

Social Standing
Our socio-economic statuses are determined largely by the amount of money we have. It's certainly no fun to be poor and it doesn't hurt to be rich. For most of the rest of us in varying shades of the middle ground, it is money that puts us there, more than our color or ethnic backgrounds. If it didn't, we would not have proud discussions about how much we earn. It is the equivalent of the lion hunt in our ancestor's time. Most often, the ones who can say money doesn't mean a thing are those who sit on a pile of it.

Enabler
Many philanthropists like Bill Gates are looking at ways to build better healthcare and education systems. They are using their money to not allow great teachers get defeated with inadequate budgets or a lack of resources. Grant commitments by the Gates foundation stand at $26.19 billion to date. Why would he want to part with his billions? According to psychologist Martin Seligman, humans are happiest when they acquire meaning by enabling something greater than themselves, which gives them a great sense of accomplishment. He also states that being engaged with a challenging task is yet another indicator of happiness. Fulfilling relationships and the basic pleasures of life all lead to happiness and contentment. Gates, having accomplished way more than his financial goals while still quite young, probably finds happiness by enabling greater opportunities for many others who need a helping hand.

The Bottom Line
Often, we see people and organizations that already have sufficient money use unlawful means to make even more money. This causes great distress to so many others, and it leads people to believe that money is evil and beguiling. Money is not moral in nature - but we are. The things we choose to do with our cash determine whether we will be happy or not.

SEE: Financial Planning: It's About More Than Money

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Zika: Study Says This Device Could Protect You

    New research just uncovered an inexpensive, commercially available device that might help fight off the mosquito that carries the dreaded Zika virus.
  2. Personal Finance

    Zika Virus: Latest Advice on Staying Safe

    Zika has hit the U.S. Here’s a quick review of what’s known about the virus, how it spreads, who’s at highest risk and how to avoid it.
  3. Investing

    3 Small Steps to Maximize Your Investing Goals

    Instead of starting the New Year with ambitious resolutions, why not taking smaller manageable steps that can have a real impact.
  4. Investing News

    How Zika Is Infecting the Travel Industry

    The Zika virus is declared a public health emergency as airlines, cruise lines and other travel companies accommodate customers and assess the damage.
  5. Your Practice

    Stressed Out? How Advisors Can Deal with It

    Financial advisors face loads of stress, especially during troubled times. Here's how to deal with the job's stresses and gain a competitive edge.
  6. Your Clients

    How to Prod Clients Into Talking Long-Term Care

    Long-term care is a difficult subject to broach, but it's a reality for millions of Americans. Here's how to bring it up tactfully with clients.
  7. Budgeting

    How To Manage Chronic Illness Expenses

    Chronic illnesses affect millions of Americans, but it is not only taxing their health. Its also hurts their wallets. But there are ways to reduce the burden.
  8. Investing Basics

    How Novartis Probably Has a Cure for What Ails You

    A look at the unparalleled growth of the world's biggest pharmaceutical company: Novartis AG.
  9. Retirement

    Red State or Blue: Where's Retirement Sweeter?

    Choosing whether to go red or blue when picking out your retirement destination is more than a matter of politics. Here's how to cast your vote.
  10. Economics

    What Does Triage Mean?

    The term triage refers to the practice of prioritizing work or customers into different levels so that the most urgent issues are handled first.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can CareCredit be used for family members?

    CareCredit has become a widely used option when it comes to paying for medical procedures, primarily procedures not typically ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does dental insurance cover crowns?

    Dental insurance coverage may vary according to the type of plan and the level of benefits that you have elected. Most dental ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions tax deductible?

    The contributions you make to your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) are not tax-deductible because the accounts are funded ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cover Lasik?

    Flexible spending accounts (FSA) can be used to pay for qualifying LASIK procedures. LASIK is not the only laser eye surgery ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are Flexible Spending Account (FSA) expenses tax deductible?

    Flexible Spending Account (FSA) expenses are not tax deductible. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states you cannot ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cover acupuncture?

    A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) covers acupuncture. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has defined acupuncture as a qualifying ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  2. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  3. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  4. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
  5. Dark Pool Liquidity

    The trading volume created by institutional orders that are unavailable to the public. The bulk of dark pool liquidity is ...
Trading Center