Money Can’t Buy Happiness but It Can Give You Depression

Every U.S. citizen knows that by law we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Although it isn’t stated in our Constitution, most Americans also add in the pursuit of the American Dream for good measure. We see the amassing and usage of wealth as a way to have the life, liberty, and happiness that is promised.

Wealth, however, isn’t always content to give us our rights. We may pursue it, but it promises us nothing, and oftentimes, it takes more than we expected. At least that’s what many wealthy people have attested to, including someone cloaked as Anon User. He has posted to a Quora thread to detail how a multi-million dollar fortune has ruined his life, sending him into a tailspin of depression and misery. Wealth has handed Anon User four heavy burdens:

  1. sloth
  2. greed
  3. entitlement
  4. loss of purpose

Money bought him lots of things, including some things he didn’t bargain for. Now, not every rich person struggles with sloth, greed, entitlement, and loss of purpose. And poor people can struggle with them, too. That’s because it’s the obsession with wealth that reveals these ugly traits, not merely the possession of it. David Wagner at The Atlantic Wire reports on Anon User’s difficulties and even wonders at the legitimacy of the posts: anonymity makes it impossible to verify these confessions.

Anon User’s complaints are valid and sound sincere enough, though. Christians know that God’s Word has much to say about the obsession with wealth. The wise—and wealthy—Solomon tells us: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12, ESV).

Despite the Bible’s warnings, most people would rather experience the difficulty of wealth for themselves rather than taking anyone else’s word for it. Sure, we know that no one has the perfect life, but we assume the problems of the wealthy life are much better than the problems of an average American life. We both denounce wealth (consider the disdain for the 1%) and wish to have it for ourselves (consider the voyeuristic Rich Kids of Instagram).

In these tough economic times, it may be difficult to find pity and compassion for Anon User. He gets lumped together with the Rich Kids of Instagram and the corporate powerhouses. But the truth is, it’s easy to look at the rich and point out how they have succumbed to the lure of money. It’s much more difficult for the average U.S. citizen to see where sloth, greed, entitlement, and loss of purposes have ruled us. You don’t have to be rich to have a bankrupt heart.

About Erin Straza

Erin Straza (Associate Editor) is a freelance writer, editor, and marketing communications consultant, helping organizations tell their stories in authentic and compelling ways. After a stint in corporate marketing while earning her MBA, Erin taught marketing communications at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State. She is crafting her first book, writing from the Illinois flatlands where she lives with her husband, Mike. Find more from Erin at her blog Filling My Patch of Sky and on Twitter @ErinStraza.
E-mail: erin [at] FillingMyPatchOfSky [dot] com
Blog: Filling My Patch of Sky
Twitter: @ErinStraza