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Camille Scher

A Little More to Make Me Happy

Quite often my mom, Jona, remenissens over the fact that she does not have enough

money. Every couple of months, she will sit down with a nice glass of wine and wish that she

would have done things differently. She wishes she would have gotten her PhD in college to

have more money to spend. Each year we enjoy many luxuries that many people don't have the

opportunity to enjoy. We own: two jet skis, two dogs, and sit comfortably in our two story house

with three cars parked out front. She might say she needs more money; however, I don't believe

that she realizes how much we have. We do save lots of money by purchasing our clothing at

thrift stores and not eating out. But I've realized that no matter where we live or what she does

for a living, by wishing she had another thousand dollars-or so per month, it would contribute to

her daily happiness.

Psychologist David G. Myers analyzes in his essay, “The Funds, Friends, and Faith of

Happy People,” how economic growth has changed human morale. Myers explains that from

1960 to 1997, the percentage of homes with todays everyday appliances such as dishwashers,

dryers and air conditioning has increased more than 50%. Although, the percentage of people

reporting that they are “very happy” had declined from 35% to 33% from 1957 to 1998. “We are

twice as rich and no happier” (20).

David Myers then asks, “Would a little more money make you a little happier?” Myers

talks about his finding in the Forbes 100 wealthiest Americans survey. He talks about how even

the fabulously wealthy people aren't always happy. Even most of the time. Myers explains that

lottery winners only feel the little jolt of happiness from their winnings. “Although they are

delighted to have won, the euphoria eventually fades. Likewise, those who incomes have
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increased over the previous decade are not happier than those whose income has not increased”

(18).

I truly believe that my father does not let money control his happiness. He lives less

well-off than my mother; however, he does not get irritated over money issues. He does not let

money interfere with his happiness as much as my mother does. My father allows himself to find

joy in the little things in his life. Sitting at home or going out with a friend is more than enough

to say it had been a successful day. The struggle with money is greater than my mothers, but he

seems to be happier and more content with what he has. Just as anyone, he fantasizes about

things he could buy with more money. But allows himself time to save and work for what he

wants. Never once have I heard him complain about his job or wish he had done something

different with his career. Even when he struggles with money.

Arthur C. Brooks examines economic inequality in his essay, “Inequality and

(Un)happiness in America.” Brooks explains how his data shows no link between rising

inequality and unhappiness. “If inequality were so depressing for us, we would expect to see

American happiness falling. Yet average happiness has not fallen.” Then he continues to say

that, “In 1972, 30 percent of the population said they were very happy with their lives. In 1982,

31 percent reported this level of happiness.” But during this time income inequality had

increased by half. This data shows that income inequality “does not explain any of the

fluctuations in happiness or unhappiness over the past three decades” (214).

Many Americans believe having more money will increase their happiness; however,

throughout many years of people earning more money and material items, Americans have not
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been proven to be happier. I can easily recognize that when I examine my mom's life. I see that

she has items that other people aspire to own, but she is not happier than most with less money.

I believe that by letting money control your happiness you aren't going to be allowed to

be happy. People who act like my mother only see what they don't have and can't afford. Making

people ask themselves why they can’t afford all that they want. Just as my mom reminissins over

not getting her PhD.

Most people who earn lower income are more content with their life. My dad is able to

work and save for an item, and expand that feeling of happiness much longer than other people

can. Which most Americans aren't able to do. Americans experience having new things, which

makes them happy; when that feeling wears off they don't feel satisfied with themselves and their

surroundings.