May 25, 2024

Pablo Picasso, who created art that was recognized and enjoyed by millions only after his death, said, “I’d love to live like a poor man with lots of money.” He implied that one should use funds as a resource without forgetting to notice the little, simple things that bring joy. Is that possible, or are people too consumed by greed? How can society escape those cycles of dissatisfaction and worry and enter into a life full of joy and prosperity?

“Money can buy momentary happiness but not long-lasting joy because of the very definition of happiness, a short-term feeling about your immediate situation,” said Dr. Adele Harrison, professor of finance.

Harrison pointed out that one can spend money on endeavors, gifts or experiences that trigger endorphins at the moment and make them feel happy. The more money you have, the more you can have that momentary experience. 

“It is a long-term life of joy that money cannot buy,” she said.

Harrison referred to the Bible, as it states that we can never be satisfied by the things of this world, which creates a cycle of needing more and more.

“If X amount of money brings me joy now, then when the momentary experience is gone, I need Y amount of money,” Harrison said. 

She said she believes the mindset of needing more and more brings discontentment.

“If you want long-term joy and contentment in your life, more money will not get you there,” Harrison said.

The healthiest way to look at money, in her opinion, is as a gift and a resource of God to be used as a tool to bless others, meet one’s immediate needs and provide a way to store it for future needs. Harrison encouraged CBU students to exercise some self-discipline, as well as to live in a state of contentment and be patient in allowing things to work out.

“You should spend less time comparing what they have to what others have and spend more time being thankful for what you do have,” Harrison shared.

Living independently after being accustomed to her family’s standard of living was not easy for Harrison as a college student. She believes it is OK for students to feel uncomfortable for a while until they reach their parents lifestyle and work experience level. 

“If expectations are set appropriately, you give yourself room for happiness and satisfaction,” Harrison said. 

Luis Chavez, senior kinesiology student, shared how in some contexts, money can generate happiness by spending it on people one cares about.

“It is possible that money can buy happiness when it comes to raising a family and providing for them,” Chavez said. “I think there is a threshold that if you make enough, more is not going to make you any happier.” 

Chavez believes that money can contribute to happiness based on his personal experience but only to an extent.

“I feel like money can help for sure,” said Massimiliano Berti, junior sustainability major. “What really helps is to reach an economic level where you are not worried about money, so then you can focus your energy on what truly matters to you and the people around you.”

Harrison shared some of her favorite verses on the topic. The first one was Matthew 6:25-34 which states, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” 

Another verse she pointed out was 1 Timothy 6:17: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 

“It is not the amount of riches that is important but the way that you use them,” Harrison said. 

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