Ziel: Stop using the phrase ‘Money can’t buy happiness’

Renee Ziel

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

As we roll through the spring semester, students may be looking for next year’s housing options on top of academic and everyday finances. Money is undoubtedly a huge worry for college students, but older generations insist on one displeasing statement: “Money can’t buy happiness!”


Such a statement is no longer appropriate in today’s society or economy. It’s time to stop saying it to people who are concerned about even affording their food because money would improve their life.

On its own, the cost of a place to live is far too high and has grown significantly in Colorado. This does not include the cost of groceries, clothes, transportation, and general health expenses.

Having the necessities to live naturally brings comfort, stability, and above all, time better spent.  Without means to afford basic needs, people spend most of their energy working in order to get that money. Some of these people are students who also must juggle school at the same time.

Poverty has also consistently been linked to poor physical and mental health. One particular study done by Gallup reported depression rates double in those also experiencing poverty. These people were also at higher risk for various other health problems such as asthma, diabetes, and heart attacks. This is possibly due to the inability to afford health care.

More money means people get to live in nicer homes, safer neighborhoods, have good health care and education while having the time and budget for vacations and other de-stressing activities. In short, they don’t need to worry about where their next meal will come from and the “money can’t buy happiness” becomes a privileged statement from this perspective.

The New Era Colorado Foundation released a recent analysis with shocking statistics, one of which is that Colorado consumers owe $26.4 billion in student debt. Mike Carter, Communications Manager of New Era Colorado, states, “For the first time, nearly half of all young adults in the state owe money on a student loan.”

This means this humongous financial burden is being placed on budding adults still getting a grip on their careers and newfound independence. A great deal of people may also find a career necessary to happiness and many jobs require some form of higher education. Though, clearly, not everyone is wealthy enough to afford the rising cost of college. 

The struggle with money is so severe with some that they may unwillingly place their financial burdens on future generations.

And what of those whose parents have poor credit? They will not even be able to take out loans if they do not get financial aid elsewhere, and therefore may not even go to school. If one does not have a degree and is not capable, skilled, or wealthy enough for trade school, employment will undoubtedly be hard to find.

For years, people have argued money only creates superficial, momentary happiness and fuels materialistic desires, when realistically how long can someone go without using any money at all, including things where bills are required? Not long.

Money sets up the foundation for a happy and healthy life, and without it, one struggles and possibly fails to set up that foundation at all.


Phrases such as “money can’t buy happiness” are untrue and make way for a negative mindset in people who have little money to their name. It is simply no longer relevant.

Renee Ziel can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @reneezwrites.