I’ve never really had to worry about money. Sure, I’ve had jobs and personal expenses, but my parents have always helped me out with major costs. So, I am definitely speaking from a privileged perspective when it comes to money. However, I still think about money a lot, especially when it comes to my future. I am set to start my Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy in September at Fuller Theological Seminary, and while I’m excited to be helping people for a career, therapists do not make much money (the average is around $40,000/year). Thankfully, my mom constantly keeps reminding me of this in case I forget. She worries I won’t be able to support myself, which is warranted. After all, you do need some amount of money to eat and have a bed to sleep in (although not much mom!)
That being said, in my opinion, money is not the answer to a fulfilling life. Take me, for instance. As somebody who has never seriously had to worry about money so far in my life, I have been absolutely 100% happy and satisfied with life every single second of every single day! Not. I have had some real good days in my life, but also some real bad days too. Even at times when I have all I could ask for – a big comfy bed with two perfectly flat pillows, a wallet full of $20s for my daily Chipotle run, a brand new iPhone that doesn’t die in 30 minutes (that is, until the next software update), and fresh new Nike Air Max on my feet that has everybody turning around when I walk by – I have felt at my very lowest. Empty, unfulfilled, and lost. And for no good reason at all.
But don’t just take my word for it. There is the popular study from Princeton University that found the positive correlation between money and happiness caps out at $75,000 a year. While that is a bit more than what I’ll be making (sorry mom), many of my recently graduated friends are already making more than that in their first job (congrats, you have achieved complete happiness)!
Then there are all the millionaires who realize for themselves that money isn’t all it cracked up to be. Jim Carrey once said, “I hope everybody could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer." Or, just the other day, NBA All-Star Demar Derozan (who has a $139 million contract) said this while discussing his struggles with depression: “People say, ‘What are you depressed about? You can buy anything you want.’ I wish everyone in the world was rich so they would realize money isn’t everything” (by the way, I highly recommend reading the linked article on mental health in the NBA). Jim Carrey and Demar have reached the pinnacle of life in terms of status and wealth, only to realize there is more to life than that. Money is not the answer. Money could not fill the hole inside of them.
But, hey, easy for rich people to say, right? And Princeton University is bogus anyways, just ask my twin brother (he just graduated from Princeton and is going there for three more years for a master’s degree so he obviously hates it). Then, maybe you’ll take this Average Joe’s word for it. My older brother Ryan sent this to me the other day - it’s worth a read. But, if you’re lazy like me, he basically tells you not to chase money because you always need less than you think and the pursuit of money can destroy your emotional well-being (I know, I made that sound harsh).
Moral of the story, money isn’t the answer. Money isn’t going to solve all your problems. In fact, it may cause more. Money isn’t going to fix your relationships. In fact, it may worsen them. Money isn’t going to fill that big hole in your heart. In fact, it may make you more aware of it. Money or not, you are still you. So, don’t waste time chasing money thinking it will be the answer. Or go ahead, ignore me, I’m just a kid anyways. Do what everybody else does. Only to realize I/Princeton/Jim/Demar/Average Joe/pretty much everybody (because everybody knows the truth in their heart) was right. You do you. I’m just trying to help.
As always, I would love feedback, questions, opposing arguments, or whatever else you feel like doing. I would love to chat one-on-one and talk about money, mental health, life, your dog, my dog, or anything else your heart desires. Stay Wayvy my friends (cue awkward shaka)!