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Morales 1

Crystal Morales
Professor Eric Kufs
English 114B
16 February 2016
Money and Happiness
When it comes between money and happiness, they are both very indistinct from each
other due to how it affects a person, whether it is positively or negatively. In the piece Lethal
Consumption: Death-Denying Materialism, the authors Solomon, Greenburg, and Pyszczynski
explain how money and wealth may bring us happiness, but in the most problematic way. We
tend to think that if we have money, automatically happiness will be given with it. Some people
may disagree and say that money could not buy them happiness, but then again, there are some
people who believe money is the only thing that can make them happy.
The authors of Lethal Consumption: Death Denying Materialism, state that the
underlying motive for accumulating money is thus to acquire magic power through social
prestige. Having plenty of money and luxurious items does not promise you anything especially
a never-ending life. In indigenousness cultures, people long ago were not classified based on
any achievement, but by the beautiful skins or head-dresses displayed publicly. Nowadays,
people are not aware of how sacred money was back then compared to now. Any little bit of
money given back then was saved, but now on some occasions, people spend their money on
things that are not needed.

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According to David G. Meyers piece called The Funds, Friends, and Faith of Happy
People, the author believes that there is a connection between wealth and well-being. If you
asked a group of people if money could buy them happiness, most people would disagree.
However, if you asked if more money would make them happier, most people would agree. In a
survey at the University of Michigan, most people confirmed that more money would improve
their quality of life (Campbell 1981, p.4). Ask any student and most of them will tell you that
their main reason for attending college is to make more money and have a better lifestyle for
themselves, financially. Lower and sometimes even middle class families may compare their
standard of living to the lifestyle of a higher class family by assuming they are happier and set
for life when realistically, they can be just as miserable. In The United States, Canada, and
Europe the connection between income and personal happiness is surprisingly weak, stated
Meyers.
Money brings a temporary happiness. Purchasing a luxurious item may seem fulfilling at
first, but it will keep you wanting more. There will always be new trends that are hard to keep up
with. An example of temporary happiness is in Rebecca Curtis story Twenty Grand. The
narrator and her family are poor and depend on the narrators father for money. The narrators
mother kept a coin her mother gave her before she passed away. To her, it had sentimental value,
but to the father it could have changed their life knowing that that coin was worth $20,000. Not
knowing what the coins worth was, the mother gave up the coin to pay a toll to see the father so
he can give his family more money. Once the mother realized she could not get the coin back,
she began to react emotionally because of the fact that the one thing she had left of her mother
was no longer hers. I miss my mothers coin, stated the narrators mother. Then you shouldnt
have spent it, stated the narrator father.

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Referring to the quote The word happiness, as employed by psychologists such as David
G. Meyers is, in the end, too vague to be of much use in determining the real effects of money.
Thankfully the authors of Lethal Consumption avoids the happiness trap, I agree with what the
authors of Lethal Consumption are saying because money can be the root of all problems in life.
Any person would go above and beyond to earn more money. How does terror management
theory help us understand humankinds insatiable lust for money and consumption of goods?
states the author. The idea of having some money to purchase luxurious and trendy items excites
people especially young adults, which we use as a motivation to get a job.
I have a friend who is a first year, full time student and has two jobs. I asked her how she
does it every day, and she responded it gets exhausting. The idea of working and earning some
money at a part time job excites most young adults especially when starting college. Learning
how to balance working and being a student then becomes overwhelming then before you know
it, you are behind in your classes and up all hours of the night finishing an assignment after
working 6+ hours. First I had taken a year off from college because I had just gotten a job at
UPS and the benefits and pay was way too good to give up and I ended up just dropping out all
together, states an anonymous person. Earning money at a part time or full time temporary job
seems like the easier way to approach compared to going to college for four years and not
earning money yet. You end up in debt way before you can even start earning money and that is
one of the many reasons why some students drop out of college. It became too difficult,
balancing school and work so I figured Im earning a good amount of money in my job right now
and if I stay in college, I will just end up being deeper in debt, stated anonymous.
Ernest Becker states Modern man is drinking and drugging himself out of awareness, or
he spends his time shopping, which is the same thing. Just like a drug or drinking addiction,

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some people may find happiness or an ease at mind if they spend their money shopping.
Believe it or not it becomes an addiction, it may not harm a person physically or mentally, but
emotionally you will always depend on money to bring you happiness, and what happens when
all that money is gone? Some people may even let a piece of paper define who they are and what
class they belong to. Children at a young age do not understand how valuable money is and how
important it is to save it. It is nice to spend some money here and there but to completely
surround your joy around it is not right. There are many things in life that money cannot buy, yes
nothing may be free but not everything enjoyable requires money. Life is too short to be spent
wondering what life would be like if you were at a higher class than you are at that moment.
The research and historical records provide that convergent support for the proposition
that the denial of our mortality is at root of humankinds feverish pursuit of wealth, stated the
author. Out-earning other people and having a big bank account is not what should be the main
focus in life. No matter how rich you are, it will not bring the same type of happiness as being
surrounded by family and friends. Theres a difference between happiness that money can buy,
and happiness from priceless moments that are shared within the ones you love the most.

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Works Cited
Greenburg, Jeff. Solomon, Sheldon. Pyszczynski, Thomas A. Lethal Consumption: DeathDenying Materialism. Boston: Leasa Burton, 2014. Print.
Curtis, Rebecca. Twenty Grand. Boston: Leasa Burton, 2014. Print.
Meyers, David G. The Funds, Friends and Faith of Happy People. Boston: Leasa Burton, 2014.
Print.