Do you need money to live a happy life? Illustration: Andrea Galvan
Do you need money to live a happy life? Illustration: Andrea Galvan
Do you need money to live a happy life?
Illustration: Andrea Galvan

Each week, siblings Andrea and Amanda Galvan are presented with a topic and 30 minutes to debate that topic. The catch? They are not allowed to speak. Instead, they document this dialogue on a Google Document in separate spaces, but they can utilize whatever resources that the Internet can provide them to support their viewpoint. 

Andrea: It’s a common belief in American society that if one has a lot of money, then they will have a “good life.”  American society defines a good life as having a high-paying job, owning a big house, having a family, and being able to retire in your late 40s.  However, I don’t believe that. If a person is simply in the right environment and perfectly content with their family, friends, social status, and environment, then money doesn’t really matter.

Amanda: Sure, you don’t need a lot of money to be happy, but I see it more of an aid for someone to help reach whatever happiness you strive for. You may be content living a certain way, but if you’re unable to pay for certain necessities, are you really happy? I’m not saying that happiness can only be achieved through focusing on strictly money itself, but it does help you reach your goal of happiness quicker.

Andrea: Okay, yeah, reaching your personal goal of happiness quickly would be nice, but it’s not always realistic.  It’s not going to take a person 1 year to make $100k a year at a job they just got after graduation. I guess this is where patience comes into play; if you’re satisfied with your current status, then you’re set.

Amanda: Being happy with how you are in the present is a good thing, but if you’re like me and have the urge to plan everything and anything in advance just to be sure you know how the outcome will be, it’s always nice to have something to fall back on. That way if something takes a turn for the worse, you know that the financial situation you’re in is good enough to support yourself as you get yourself on track.

Andrea: In a way, that’s only temporary happiness right? You’re buying yourself things that will make you happy at that given time.  It’s like when I bought the Heffron Drive album last week. I was super happy about it for the entire week (and I still am), and it’s going to wear off in about a month or two (probably because that’s when One Direction’s new album comes out). The happiness is temporary and that’s no good.  When I’m chilling with my best friends, though, that happiness lasts a long time.  Even if we’re doing something totally mundane, like coding during 7th period or whatever, I feel at peace with my life. In moments like those, I don’t need money to get me things and temporary happiness.

Amanda: Temporary happiness isn’t all that bad of a thing in the big picture. If you’ve had a rough week and feel like treating yourself for your hard work, you can buy yourself that new book you’ve been eyeing ever since it came out or that amazing set of watercolors that you’ve been saving up for. Sure, it’s okay to reward yourself every now and then to have that nice feeling of joy, but it shouldn’t be spent carelessly. Money may not necessarily equal happiness, but it’ll get you on the right path if spent wisely

Andrea: While money is a nice asset to have, it can easily turn you the wrong way.  You can become greedy and corrupt if you don’t watch yourself.  Just remember to stay grounded and always count your blessings.  If you’re happy with your life and it’s partly because of money, then all the more power to you.  If you’re not happy because of money and instead you’re happy because of your environment, then just know that I’m on your side.