How much is enough? How much more money do you need? How much bigger house do you need? How much fancier car do you need? How much is really enough? I am writing this post not to deprecate the desire for better things, but merely to remind us of the quintessence of contentment. There is always room for improvement, but let’s keep the standard of the room for improvement very objective. personally, I would love an upgrade on my car, it’s falling apart at the seams.
In my sermon preparation for this Sunday, the theme being “Finding Joy and Pleasure in God in this Life and in The Life to Come” and the text is Psalm 16. In verses, 5-6 David says, “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
On your way to the top, I want to throw some caution your way. In preparation for this verse, I came across this interesting journal article conducted by the Harvard Business Review (Donnelly et al., 2018), In it, the researchers interviewed 4000 millionaires, ranging from a net worth of $1 million to $10 million. Each millionaire was asked to report how much they currently had. How happy they were on a scale of 1-10. And then how much money they thought they would need to get to a “10” on the happiness scale. Shockingly, 26%, the largest response was assigned to “10x more,” the largest possible option given. 24% chose “5x more” followed by 23% at “2x mores.” Only 13% of respondents said they “currently have enough to be happy.”
This is a startling finding!
In an interview with The Atlantic (Pinsker, 2018), Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School Professor is asked the reason Why Why Aren’t Rich People Happy With the Money They Have? and Norton responds succinctly with these words, “This instinct to measure and compare doesn’t disappear once people have an obscene amount of money. “The problem is, Am I doing better than I was? is only [moving people in] one direction, which is up,” Norton says. And if a family amasses, say, $50 million but upgrades to a neighborhood where everyone has that much money (or more), they feel a lot less rich than if they had stuck to the peer comparisons they were making tens of millions of dollars ago. Hence the ever-shifting goalposts of wealth and satisfaction.”
Let me leave you with what the apostle Paul said, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV, 1984)
Are Millionaires Happier
Donnelly, G.E., Zheng, T., Haisley, E. and Norton, M.I. (2018). The Amount and Source of Millionaires’ Wealth (Moderately) Predict Their Happiness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(5), pp.684–699.
Pinsker, J. (2018). Why Aren’t Rich People Happy With the Money They Have? [online] The Atlantic. Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/12/rich-people-happy-money/577231/ [Accessed 27 Apr. 2019].