Having read your article on money and happiness (How much money makes you happy? We ask an expert, 28 October), I couldn’t disagree more with the opening line: “Money can buy happiness – just ask anyone without it.” I’ve lived at both ends of the wealth scale: below the poverty line with my girlfriend (as she was then) and 10-month-old son in a tiny, damp and barely furnished bedsit, and, much later, with my wife (as she is now), well above the 1% threshold for wealth in the UK.
The thing about being poor is not that you can’t be happy – and we were very happy, just the three of us with nothing – but that you are also scared, cold, hungry, uncertain and tired a lot of the time. Money can definitely help with the removal of those things, but if you’re still not happy when you strip those things away (and I’ve certainly met plenty of wealthy people who fit that bill), adding more and more money will not make any difference. And so I couldn’t agree more with the conclusion that “we should stop thinking about GDP and think about national happiness”.
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