Before going to bed last night, I checked Facebook and noticed a post from Eva posing the question … Can money buy happiness? As it turned out, reading that post was not a good idea, it kept me awake for hours. Can money buy happiness?
Many years ago, family friends were spending a long weekend at their cottage. When Jack excused himself saying that he was going to check the lottery results, the rest of the group laughed. Playing the lottery they said is a waste of money, you have about as much chance of winning the lottery as getting struck by lightning. Five minutes later, Jack came back, as pale as a ghost. When asked what was wrong, Jack —clearly in shock — stated: “We won the lottery.” “Who won the lottery?” Madelaine asked. “We did,” Jack said, “our group, all of us.”
So excited were they, they cut their outing short and went back home to tell their families about it. They were rich, all of their dreams were about to come true. Or were they …
One family bought their daughter a car. She took it out for a drive, got into an accident and was killed.
Another family bought a house for their son. He got on a ladder to paint the gutters, fell off and broke his back, paralyzing him for life.
Initially, the group wanted to keep their good fortune quiet, but changes were soon noticed. The winners moved to a bigger house, drove a nicer car, wore better clothing and even jewelry.
When word got out that the families had won millions, they received masses of mail, all of people in desperate need of money (or so that said).
Men sent letters complaining of unemployment and asked for money to care for their families; women mentioned hungry children in need of warm clothing; others asked for money for medical care; there were pleas for mortgage payments, credit card payments, school fees, vet bills, etc.
Not a day went by that the families didn’t receive pleas for help. Some were able to cope better than others. One woman couldn’t cope at all, fell into a depression and ultimately suffered a nervous breakdown.
Another family fell prey to another kind of scheme. Unable to cope with so much money, they had contacted a financial advisor, who — over time — swindled them out of their winnings after they had given him power of attorney.
Other than this the men and women were bored. Initially, there was the thrill of traveling, moving house and shopping, but after a while the men missed their jobs and the women missed their life the way it was before they won.
With the exception of one, all families cursed the day they had won the lottery. Other than the tragedies that befell them and the exploits they suffered, they were lonely. They no longer fit in with those who worked for a living, and neither did they fit among the wealthy. All of them agreed, they were perfectly happy before winning all that money.
Can money buy happiness?
Those in desperate need of money will say “Yes”.
Those who are financially secure might say “Maybe”.
Those who are rich might say “No”.
When Eva asked if I play the lottery, I said yes. Despite the experiences of the various families, I wouldn’t mind finding out for myself if money can buy happiness.