When does a person have enough money

Does money make you happy or unhappy? What does money do with people?

Many have little, few have a lot, everyone wants it and no one has enough. We are, of course, talking about money. They are printed notes made of paper or a few pieces of embossed metal, and yet they determine our lives. Even among friends, the topic is a source of ignition and arouses pride or envy. Especially among students, it is considered normal ›at the end of the money to have a lot of months ahead of you‹ and it's much cooler if you don't value money. If someone's eyes light up when it comes to banknotes and gold coins, they are often cursed as a capitalist.

Money: Necessary for life

Nowadays no one can avoid money. "Nobody could produce all the daily necessities that are needed for bare survival overnight," says Klaus Kraemer, Professor of Sociology at the University of Graz. »From food and clothing to warmth and light, we buy everything in markets for money - or on credit.


Where does the phrase "money doesn't stink" come from?


The exchange of goods has no longer functioned as a commodity-commodity exchange, but only as a commodity-money exchange, ”he continues. Money itself has no substance of value and is just a silent promise to be able to redeem it for goods.

Money: trust and coercion

For such a monetary order, trust is essential. However, people must also believe that money has a value of its own. "If this belief turns into unbelief, then the money is lost," says the sociologist. Money is still not just a matter of trust, but also a compulsion. Even if you wanted to get around money, that would not be possible, because "for all of us there is no alternative to money".

Money only works if a state order declares a currency to be legal tender. Sellers have to accept money when a buyer wants to purchase a product.

History of money: from medium of exchange to status symbol

In fact, money has also developed from a medium of exchange to a status symbol in its own right. The disdainful Mammon not only stands for power, but also for properties such as security, quality of life and independence. We even define our self-worth in terms of money, for example not all men can confidently deal with the fact that their wife earns more than they do. Prof. Kraemer even sees money competing with academic titles for what is more prestigious.

“In the case of educational titles, I assume that the 'achievement' counts. When it comes to money, on the other hand, all that matters is 'success'. You are successful in markets if you 'make' a lot of money, as they say. "

However, you can also have a large bank account without having done a lot, for example if you inherit or win the lottery. "That is literally an 'undeserved' fortune," adds Kraemer. But the result is the same, and that’s what matters.

When dealing with money, however, it often becomes noticeable how someone has become wealthy. Of course, there are no blanket stereotypes, but self-made millionaires still have a tendency to preserve their hard-worked assets and not spend the money with full hands. If someone comes to money quickly - and with luck -, also appraisingly called the ›nouveau riche‹, two extremes can be observed. Some tend to splurge and squander their money. Others, on the other hand, develop enormous stinginess because they are terrified of losing everything again. The American psychologist Stephen Goldbart called this phenomenon the ›Sudden wealth syndrome‹. People may experience depression, paranoia, and feelings of guilt, which can lead them to feel harassed and self-isolating by friends and family.

"The desire for money is limitless."

Money can make you lonely and yet we always want more. “The desire for money is limitless. It is only outbid by the desire for even more money, ”says Kraemer. To explain this with the fact that we are ›materialists‹ is inadequate. Rather, he sees this linked to the promise that money makes us: to be able to buy all goods and services in the world that are currently and even in the future. This means that money has also become the purest symbol of our society. »Money is so attractive because you can use it to fulfill wishes and pursue goals that have nothing to do with simple economic calculations. Money is given away to one's own children to do something good for them. Or money is 'invested' in order to provide for one's own family. These examples illustrate: Money is used for profoundly moral purposes, ”he concludes.

Above all, you can realize yourself with money and fulfill your life's dreams, large and small: Be it the first car that you have saved up for, the trip around the world after graduation or the luxury of taking a short break in your professional life to have more time for yourself and to have loved ones. “All the harder it hits all those who have no money and cannot get a loan. For the money poor, access to most of the opportunities that society offers is closed. That is why our society continues to be a class society. An invisible wall separates the money owners from the moneyless, ”says the economic sociologist.

Greed and loneliness

Let's keep it brief: Money makes you greedy and lonely. But apparently a few notes in your pocket make life a lot more pleasant. Marcel Reich-Ranicki once said ›Money alone doesn't make you happy, but it's better to cry in a taxi than in the tram‹.

Money does contribute to a positive image - if you don't behave like the Geißens - but no matter how wrinkled the notes and however cold the coins are, they are emotionally charged and often bring our bad sides to light.

Money changes people: it has a negative effect on behavior

The influence of money on our behavior has been examined in numerous scientific studies - and it almost always had a negative effect. Drivers of expensive cars behave more ruthlessly on the road (University of California study); Test subjects who dealt with money issues donated less generously (University of Minnesota) and another test group who thought about monetary issues found the free market economy and the social system of the USA to be more equitable than the thematically neutral test group (University of Chicago).

However, the human character scores particularly poorly in a study by the University of Warwick. Psychologists from the British university asked 12,000 people about their satisfaction and salary. Surprisingly, it was not the level of the salary that determined life satisfaction, but the rank in comparison with colleagues, neighbors and friends. A high salary doesn't seem to make us happy when we know that the office neighbor earns more. If we overtake comparators with a raise, it makes us happier.

Money: privilege to educate

Money often determines the choice of study. Graduate psychologist and psychotherapist Iris van Bürck confirms that even school leavers strive for a high salary. The clients of the study and career counselor want to live on their income and also be able to afford a little luxury. "The older the clients are, the more emphasis is placed on this point," says van Bürck. In her work she got to know both extremes. If someone comes to her with a goal of wanting to earn as much money as possible, she advises them to thoroughly check their motivation and tolerance for frustration. "If I want to make a lot of money, these two skills should be particularly strong, as well as a high degree of flexibility and risk-taking," she says.

On the other hand, if you are interested in humanities courses, it expressly points out that in most cases you will not get rich with this choice. "The pupils and students probably only think about their studies until they finish their studies, but not about which job they want to and can do afterwards and what the job market opportunities are," says van Bürck, who studied psychology in Münster.

There are more important values ​​than money!

This contrasts with the much-themed Generation Y, for whom salary, bonuses, and the prospect of a fancy office are no longer incentives, as they prefer the prospect of a job that is fun and meaningful. The website ›Escape the city‹ is also picking up on this trend. The platform addresses corporate employees, consultants or bankers who want to escape their professional world and accept financial cuts in return. On the one hand, they can use the portal to encourage their decision, and on the other, they can also search for jobs. Whether it is a creative new beginning in a startup or a charitable task in a small company, the site offers jobs outside the corporate world.

Such a way of life, however, requires one thing in turn: sufficient savings to realize oneself and to attach importance to a good work-life balance. Again a privilege reserved for the wealthy. “All those,” says Professor Kraemer, “should be envied who have the time and leisure - and enough money or a secure job - to think about their own› work-life balance ‹. For many, however, this question does not even arise «. He also points out that financial issues come more into focus when you are older, have children and have to pay off a house.

Everyone has to answer for themselves what importance money plays in life. Money is our livelihood, but it is advisable not to let it become the focus.