According to Freud’s conclusion based on decades of experimentation and theoretical work in the field of psychotherapy, humans cannot be happy because a satisfaction of needs creates only a momentary phase of happiness which expires after some time. Therefore, the focus of life should not be obtaining happiness, and people should focus on avoiding suffering instead (Bullock, n.d.). However, several paradigms about well-being exist, and individual cognitive patterns and paradigms define the emotional responses to social influences. From an objective viewpoint, well-being is a state of consciousness that arises from a combination of internal and external factors, and money is an unstable external influence in defining subjective well-being.
Money as a determinant for subjective well-being is influenced by several cultural influences. For example, Dittmar (2008) points out a study on UK and Croatian students that revealed more materialistic inclinations in UK students who were more subject to lower well-being in case of conflicts between material and community values. Based on this study, it is possible to make a conclusion that society defines the value of money and its effects on human psychology. If learning theories suggest that cognitive patterns and paradigms form during childhood when the child is exposed to and accepts external ideas, that explains how people from different cultural backgrounds can perceive the value of money differently and form different motivations for making money.
In explaining subjective well-being, the money-making motivations are divided into realistic and unrealistic categories. Scientific researchers explain that realistic goals include financial security, success, worth, and pride while unrealistic goals include happiness, identity, and overcoming self-doubt (Dittmar, 2008). However, it is questionable if it is possible to divide goals into realistic and unrealistic. Perhaps from a mental health perspective, people who pursue money because of unrealistic goals can suffer from more stress and impair their mental health more significantly than people who pursue money for realistic goals.
Furthermore, several cross-sectional studies support the economic paradigm that money is positively correlated with happiness (Gardner & Oswald, 2007). Although cross-sectional studies have many weaknesses, Gardener and Oswald (2007) agree with those conclusions because their longitudinal study found that a windfall of money has the same positive effect on happiness and lower mental stress. In other words, if people achieve financial success, their motivation will be fulfilled. Although happiness achieved by high income levels is unstable and completely dependent on the income level, it is not possible to define financial security as more stable than happiness if people lose their income. Unrealistic money-making motivations appear to be unstable, but realistic motivations are not more stable than unrealistic...