It is the age old question which will have a variety of answers. “Money is the root of all evil.” “Money can’t buy you happiness.” But if money is what makes us so unhappy then why we end up muttering under our breath “If I won the lottery….”
What would you do with a million pounds?
I was asked this question recently as part of a new TV show so we might as well get my answer out of the way. If I was given a million pounds, I would be boring with it. I would buy a house that is probably a bit too big for me but I justify the size because I need an office. I would pay off my debts. I would buy myself and my hubby a new car each. I would have a holiday. That is it. Whatever was left would go into the savings account but my life would go on as normal. I would still be working at Tit-bits. I would still take my kids to school myself. And I would still do my own housework. Nothing would change in my life on a day to day basis. I would just have different stuff to use and a nicer house to sleep in.
If nothing would change they why do you want money?
Ah! This is where it gets tricky for most people because most people are happy with what they have. There is no shame in that. And I am not unhappy but I wouldn’t say no to a million. But when it comes to justifying why you want a million pounds dumped in your lap for no reason, people tend to feel guilty. “There’s starving children in Africa!” as my mother used to say. True and maybe if your were a complete saint and give them the magical million pounds, you would sleep better at night, but that is not the point. In a time of economic insecurity people want money, not because they are greedy, but because it offers a level of security that will help them sleep better at night. People want a bit of extra to help get those bills paid on time. They want to stock up the freezer so that they have a food supply. Or maybe they just want to go to the cinema on a date night for the first time in forever and spend £20 without feeling guilty.
Most people do not really want a million pounds because they would have no idea what to actually spend it on. If my parents won the lottery they would give most of that money to myself and my brother. They don’t need it. They, like so many others, worked hard and were smart with the money they earned. They can go on holiday and treat themselves without getting into debt and danger. This is a skill that many other people lack. It’s a skill that I am only getting the hang of now at the age of thirty. It might not be that people want to be rich but they want to have enough money coming in every month that they aren’t counting the pennies close to payday. Having a different mindset when it comes to money can help improve happiness levels in my opinion. I have no more money coming in than I did last year, but I have learned how to budget and manage what I have. Now I sleep better because I know the bills have been paid and that I have made a little dent in my debts every month. So maybe it is not the amount of money that you have that counts but the knowledge of how to use it that makes people happy.
But aren’t rich people unhappy?
We have heard this time and time again. People who won the lottery or big on the horses. They find themselves with more money than they can spend, their friends leave, the wife leaves with the kids because they have developed an addiction to pixie stix. Yes, this does happen but why does it happen? Being able to live your life without limits does not work for some people. I am one of those people. I know that if I was handed a billion pounds, I would not be able to function. For one, I do not need that type of money. My dream house costs around £900,000. There are too many idiot drivers on the road so I would have a normal new car, not some super-fancy-doo-dah sports car. Besides, I live in Belfast. The M1 is forever backed up, I’d never get to let her rip. But most of important, I like my job. I wake up in the morning and check my email accounts to see what steaming mess that has dropped on me for the day, I rub my hands and get stuck in. I love the pressure of deadlines and I learn something new every day. Would I leave my job?
Not for a million pounds. Because for me, my happiness does not lie with the amount of money I have but how I earn it and how I choose to spend it on improving my life a little bit every day.