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Birjees S Hussain: Money can buy you time
July 28, 2017
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The saying is that the love of money is the root of all evil. It’s true. But there are other aspects to one of the most important bartering equipments in the world.

Here’s a question that has been on everyone’s lips for decades. Can money buy you love? The obvious answer is if it’s real love you’re after, absolutely not. Other kinds of love, in exchange for money? Who knows. Probably.

But here’s another question raised by a Canadian research centre. Can money buy you happiness? But before we examine this, let’s not confuse this with love.

People who don’t have money will say it can definitely buy you happiness whereas those who do will say it does not. But the answer is not as simple as that. There are so many grey areas that the only answer I can come up with is a yes and a no, so both opinions are right.

Let’s look at it from both points of view in turn. Those who are struggling with the lack of money for simple everyday items like school fees or medicines realise that having money gives them access to better health insurance and education. An ideal testament to this is the America Healthcare Bill which is currently being debated by US Congress. Poor Americans are struggling simply because they can’t afford the premiums. So having money gives people a sense of relief and that equates to happiness.

Being happy, therefore, is about being debt free, mortgage free, loans free and, thus, stress free.

On the other hand, those who have disposable income will say that money may be able to buy you better health insurance but it cannot cure an illness which is true of course. They may also say that they spend their entire lives quarrelling over whose money it actually is, especially after a loved one passes away. That is not being happy by any means. In such instances, that money can create enormous stress and antagonism between family members.

They will also tell you that because they have money, their friends and relatives see them mostly as an ATM machine. In addition to this, they spend a lot of their time wondering who their real friends actually are. Why are they their friends? Is it their money and what that ‘friend’ hopes they might spend on them or the expensive gifts they could receive on their birthdays?

Who knows? Money is an ugly subject. But you can’t live with it nor can you manage happily without it.

But there is another aspect we all forget. With all the infighting that can take place over money, those who have nothing to fight over seem to be a tad happier. Plus the fact that they’ve never had disposable income, they don’t miss out on things they never had in the first place.

Now I find that those who have lots of money, just don’t know how to spend it so they are happy. For example, if they spent it on buying time, that would make them happy. For example, if they spent the money on getting home help they could use the spare time to be with family and real friends which would, in turn, make them happy.

Now here’s my personal take on happiness and it’s not necessarily connected with having or spending loads of money; just enough to be able to buy a cup of coffee. I don’t believe in retail therapy. Perhaps it’s just the way I was brought up. But in the past when I’ve been down or depressed or upset about something, I would go into an art supply shop and buy myself something small. It could be just a single tube of paint or one of the cheapest brushes they sold. It didn’t solve my problems but it did momentarily take my mind off my troubles because I had something else to focus on, albeit for a short while. Not retail therapy by any means but certainly therapeutic.

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