Can you buy happiness?

“God gave me my money. I believe the power to make money is a gift from God … to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience.” – John D. Rockefeller

I’ve thought a little about money lately and the role it will play in my life. A lot of thoughts have stemmed from a devo by Arthur Brooks, economist and newly appointed president of AEI.

Arthur Brooks wrote a book called “Gross National Happiness” where he analyzed data from thousands of families across the U.S. He wanted to find that those who had a lot a money would give it away. Logical right? What he actually found was that those who gave (whether monetarily or through volunteerism), earned more money. In fact, the return on investment is 3.75 to 1. Fascinating, huh? (I’m am interested to know how he came to this conclusion.) Dr. Brooks went on to state other conclusions he came to:

People who give have lower stress levels.
People who give are recognized as leaders by those around them.
People who give are healthier, happier, and richer.

He quoted Mosiah 4:21 (he’s Catholic) and then dispelled these myths about giving:

Giving makes us poorer. (It makes us richer.)
People are naturally selfish. (Most aren’t.)
Giving is a luxury. (It’s a necessity!)

He concluded with a plea for all of us to teach giving in our families, churches, and schools. We should search for more creative solutions on how to work these concepts into daily life.

It was a fascinating forum and I’ve been thinking about my own giving/financial philosophy. I haven’t reached any real conclusions but here are some of my thoughts:

Debt binds us down and restricts our ability to give to others.
We should find work we love and work where we can do the most good (money is an afterthought).
We should find a way to earn the most money as quickly as possible so that we are free from financial restraints to do what we really want with our time.
Can we do both?

I’d love to hear what you think.

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