How giving away your money can make you happier

By Justine Clay


There are many reasons for going into business for yourself – the belief that you have a unique talent or product that others will benefit from and the lure of being your own boss & making your own hours are just a couple.  But another motivator is the opportunity to make money on our own terms – the promise that if we work hard enough we can determine our own earning potential.

More money = more happiness, right?  Well, yes and no.  According to a recent article in the New York Times, there is a direct correlation between money and happiness i.e. the more we have the happier we are, until we reach a comfortable level financially (polls show that number to be about $75,000 in the US).  Having more money to spend beyond that only marginally increases our happiness. But, having more money and spending it on others does increase our happiness. 

I thought that this was interesting, particularly when I thought about my own experience with being an entrepreneur and giving.  When I started Plum Creative 7 years ago, I made a conscious decision to contribute to charity on a regular basis, no matter what my financial situation.  I’m proud to say that I stuck to that, even when times were tough and i only gave a little. 


Don’t get me wrong, I love spending money on myself as much as the next New Yorker.  But I’ve found that during tough times I haven’t got the satisfaction I thought I would from buying that new frock (on the contrary, I felt guilty), but I always felt good about giving my money to charity.  The only way I can describe it was that it gave me a sense of security – that money would always flow towards me if I had faith and let it go.  That if I gave to others during their time of need then I would also be taken care of during mine.

So, that’s my little thought for this afternoon.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.