Is it more important to be rich or to be happy? I did a search on Google today. The search term “be rich” has about 1.15 billion results while the term “be happy” has more than double at 2.43 billion! Massive amounts of articles are written to meet the high demand of people searching for ways to be happy.
The Google search result (as at 2 June 2013) reveals that there are about 1.28 billion more articles written on being happy compared to that of being rich. Hence, we can presume that more people would argue that being happy is more important than being rich.
I asked several of my friends in Singapore on their opinion on whether being rich or being happy is more important to them. And guess what, all of them indicated that being happy is more important than being rich. But before you readily agree to the statement, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you think of being happy if you’re constantly starving?
- Can you think of being happy if you can’t afford medication or treatment when illness befalls you?
- Can you think of being happy if you can’t clothe yourself adequately?
- Can you think of being happy if you lose the roof over your head?
It’s difficult for people to think of being happy unless they start living, not merely existing. Happiness will come about when the basic needs of people are satisfied.
According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, Singapore had 15.5% households with disposable wealth of over US$1 million in 2011. Because of the affluence of most Singaporeans, it becomes easy to declare “It’s more important to be happy than it is to be rich.” However, would it be easy for the poor to make the same assertion?
First, let’s define who the “poor” are. The poor have little or no money, goods or other means of support. When people are poor, they are more concern about meeting their basic needs such as food and shelter. Their priorities are getting the stomach filled and maintaining a roof over the head. What matters most is financial security because without money, the poor can’t even survive! Therefore, to the poor, being rich is much more important than being happy.
For people with basic needs already met, majority would start to pursue their “wants” and other luxuries. They begin chasing for more money to keep up with the Joneses. In doing so, these people work harder, sleep lesser, and have little time for their family and friends. They experience intense pressures and feel stressed out. How can these people be happy even after they become more affluent? Therefore, to the more well-off, being happy is much more important than being rich.
So, is it more important to be rich or to be happy? I believe both are equally as important. While money can’t buy happiness, the lack of it can cause unhappiness. Why not aim to be both rich and happy?
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