Money Does Not Buy Happiness Essay

1242 words - 5 pages

Handke 5Alycia HandkeProfessor FrancoEnglish 121329 October 2014Money Does Not Buy HappinessThe theme of the poem, "Richard Cory," by Edwin Arlington Robinson, is that money cannot buy happiness. The poem is about a man who everyone thinks is a "gentleman from sole to crown" (Robinson 3), who is richer than a king and glistens when he walks (9-10). The townspeople only knew Richard Cory for his outward appearance and wealth but obviously knew nothing of his inner struggles that lead to his suicide. Perhaps Mr. Cory was put on such a high pedestal by the townspeople that he was unable to gain any closeness or friendship with any of them. It is difficult to enjoy wealth while being lonely and unhappy. Too many people are under the impression that the more money they make, the happier they will become; this couldn't be further from the truth.Research by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed the lives and incomes of nearly half-a-million randomly selected U.S. citizens. They dug through the subjects' lives searching for indicators of something psychologists call "emotional well-being," a clinical term for how often you feel peaks and valleys like "joy, stress, sadness, anger and affection" and to what degree you feel those things daily. In other words, they measured how happy or sad people were over time compared to how much cash they brought home. They did this by checking if the subjects were consistently able to experience the richness of existence, by whether they were tasting the poetic marrow of life (McRaney).The researchers discovered money is indeed a major factor in day-to-day happiness. People need to make a certain amount, on average, to be able to afford food, shelter, clothing, entertainment and the occasional Apple product, but what spun top hats around the country was their finding that beyond a certain point, happiness levels off. The happiness money offers doesn't keep getting more and more potent - it plateaus. The research showed that a lack of money brings unhappiness, but an overabundance does not have the opposite effect (McRaney).According to the research, in modern America the average income required to be happy day-to-day, to experience "emotional well-being" is about $75,000 a year. According to the researchers, past that point adding more to a person's income "does nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness, or stress." A person who makes, on average, $250,000 a year has no greater emotional well-being, no extra day-to-day happiness, than a person making $75,000 a year. In Mississippi it is a bit less, in Chicago a bit more, but the point is there is evidence for the existence of a financial-happiness ceiling (McRaney).Just as average income individuals, the wealthy have their own set of worries and emotional struggles. In a survey titled "Joys and Dilemma of Wealth" by Boston College, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Calibre Wealth...

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