At What Point Does Money No Longer Buy Happiness

Does choosing to follow a path of simplicity embracing life over money make you Happier?

Most of my writing doesn’t speak directly about personal finance. It does not provide you with fancy spreadsheets, budgets and calculations. It does not tell you how to make the most amount of money or what stocks to buy either. I talk about living life and how money should play it’s role.

I want to spend more time in the outdoors where life makes sense. I want to spend time not worrying about money or the stress that comes with it. I want to share my stories and experiences so that with hope you can find that place that makes sense to you as well.

This blog shares my belief that there is a better way to approach how we manage our financial navigation in our daily lives. We don’t need to buy into that indoctrination that society constantly drives down on us. Buy this house, get that loan, drive this car, pay your bills or get this new credit card.

Earn a living to meet your needs don’t let your work control your living.

My focus is on mindfully exploring the world we live in where the pursuit of money beyond our needs doesn’t add to our happiness. Simplify your needs and don’t get sucked into wasting away the precious time you have available at your disposal.

  • Find work that appeals to you and then do your best. Find your joy.
  • Avoid excessive spending as every dollar you waste represents more time at work
  • Avoid taking on any debt. The burden is like an anchor inhibiting your freedom
  • Save intelligently for the future. A high savings rate will ensure financial independence

Embrace Life over Money Chris Istace blog post

 More Money Does Not Equal More Happiness

I wanted to share these thoughts with you again and keep vigilant with my efforts to install this way of thinking with you. I feel passionately about this and I was emotionally invigorated with happiness and steadfast desire in my goals thanks to Brendan Leonard and his website Semi-Rad .

Brendan is a hella inspirational dude and every Friday he shares what has inspired him that week. Well this time he dropped a bomb on me with a short film, John Shocklee: A Fairy Tale by Yeti .

What I really like about this video though is the message it shares about living life in happiness. Don’t let money stresses and unnecessary excess burden keep you from pursuing what brings you joy.

At the end of the video John speaks about a t-shirt he has that says “Ultimate Peter Pan” on it. His thoughts on what the shirt means to him was the premise of this video. It equally parallels my path in life that I want you to see for yourselves.

Embrace Life with Youthful Passion and Excitement

I pondered on what John spoke off in regards to Peter Pan and made my own interpretation of his message.

Be a hero to those around you, inspire them with your youthful embrace on life. Don’t allow the conformity of society to let you think that your choices are tragic and not the right path.

I am captivated by thoughts of the future, the dreams of adventure and life less structured. I enjoy being that 40 something year old chasing adventure and hanging out with 20 year olds in the mountains. I want to feel as young as I do in my mind.

Live your life mindfully in each moment. Enjoy the happiness that comes from simplicity. Avoid the pursuit of the infinite loop that an unhealthy desire for money can bring.


For those of you that enjoy some real in-depth stats and research with further discussion on the topic follow this article from the Wall Street Journal from 2014.

Can Money Buy Happiness

You can also read one of my older posts that explained some simple ideas on personal finance that will allow you to pursue your desire to get outdoors more.

8 Tips to Fund Your Next Adventure

Connect Further at Mindful Explorer

Be sure to join along on my mindful journey discovering the benefits of the financial independence, ecofrugality, the outdoors, environmental awareness, sustainable lifestyle and mindfulness on social media. My Instagram account is @Stasher_BC as on Twitter at @Stasher_BC .

Use the hashtags #MindfulExplorer and #ExploreBeyondTheUsual if you are using instagram or twitter so I can see how you are leading a mindful life and enjoying the outdoors.

Join the discussion 29 Comments

  • ExploreMountainsOnSkiFoot&Bike says:

    I love this video; personal finance and skiing powder!

    Keep sharing your story of structuring your life to spend more time in the mountains. I find it inspiring.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Thanks so much ! My goal is to retire early and visit as many places as I can. To share the trips, photos, adventure while all the same time explaining the money and mindfulness behind the journey.

  • “Pursue what brings you joy!” What an important message, and one that’s too often lost in our materialistic society! Thanks for the reminder of what’s really important!

    • Chris Istace says:

      Thanks Fritz for taking the time to visit today. I work hard everyday so that I can spend more time later doing what I love. I feel lost when I am not in the wild exploring the beauty of nature. Money is that means to get there

  • Money is but a tool to buy time for the things you enjoy. It has no value beyond time, it’s just a means of conveying value.

  • I remember that WSJ article that said happiness is maximized at $75,000 or so. More money more problems!

    • Chris Istace says:

      I have optimized my yearly expenses down well below that number and I feel I am without nothing. Therefore as I approach that number the extra work is not needed and we cam focus instead on things we are passionate about.

  • Great post and video, Chris. The Peter Pan analogy is apt — we should take no shame in pursuing the life we value most, even if it seems “tragic” (love that description) to others. Thanks for the continued inspiration.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Matt I loved it too. I was thinking today that I should put together a blog post of these passionate outdoor people that I have watched and have been inspired by.

  • Great post as always, Chris. After we bought the house in the Slocan, and worked to get it to occupancy (abandoned, foreclosed), money vanished fast. I currently draw zero income and have whittled my savings down to almost zero. I am a writer. I WAS a full-time musician. But the house has taken on a life of its own, eating our time and money. However, instead of letting it rule our future, we’ll sell it first. We have no mortgage but I would rather have a small wad in the bank and zero bills/debt than begin to travel back down the road of working for others and a life for work/house. I choose to continue to believe in what and who I am, a full-time author and musician who is born to tell stories. That means returning to it full time, should anything begin to pull me on those tangents that are not conducive to my path. I will furthermore never let people’s opinion of my success or failure dictate my joy. Thank you again for the great insight.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Simon, your perspective and experiences to my thoughts are always a welcoming read. I enjoy the fact that you share that the way many sugar coat their writings isn’t reality. You are reality, their is hardship in both paths but only one is true to you and not a master. Seek Joy Simon

  • Miss Mazuma says:

    Such an inspirational post. It is so important that happiness isn’t so focused on money. They call it cold hard cash for a reason – cash lacks heart! No doubt you can buy things but things dont buy lasting happiness…just momentary luxuries that are soon forgotten. I love this video because it represents what LIFE should be for everyone. Living your passions simply and wholeheartedly. It is sad that Peter Pan has to be a tragic figure for anyone. I love a quote from a movie that says “Never lose your childlike enthusiasm”. There is something so beautiful about the way a child sees the world. Unapologetic with their emotions. Untainted by reality. For some it lasts only a year before hardships set in, others 20. And for very few, the wonder never goes away.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Miss Mazuma please make sure it never goes away. Let’s fight with all our heart to stay true, to inspire others and spread our love of a simpler and free way of life. Your words are a breathe of fresh air that keeps my motivation lifted.

  • You nailed it Chris – money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The second that money becomes the goal, you know you’re way of track!

    • Chris Istace says:

      I am striving for that end and have felt lost along the way. I finally feel as if I am on that right path these last few years and wont get upset with the time lost in the past. Let’s keep each other motivated to make the future an awesome one

      • Steve says:

        THIS. I too am a mid-forties guy who lives as much as I can in the outdoors and have felt lost along the way many times. I wasted much of my 20’s, but now I’m living thrifty and ready to (hopefully) go part time in my job soon to start living more of my life the way I want. And that recipe does not include sitting in an office staring at a screen.

        Just found your blog, great reading – keep it up!

  • Tawcan says:

    Love this, we share similar thoughts when it comes to life philosophy. Money isn’t everything in life. It’s just one of the tools available to you. Go to a poor developing country and you’ll find so many people are very happy. It just goes to show that money does not always bring happiness.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Experiencing other places is so important for that very reason and so many more. “Reality Check” isn’t just a token saying, it is something that so many people need. I have seen the same is evident with many political discussions of late as well, especially the environmental choices we are making.

  • You share so much wisdom here Chris, and the imagery from your incredible photos is truly inspiring. I’m with you in that I prefer not to get bogged down in numbers, although I know it’s important to understand them. The principles you share above are powerful.

  • It is interesting, because my finances are pretty much on autopilot now, and there isn’t some massive feeling like, whew, I made it! It just is what it is. I’m still looking for that adventure and to stretch myself more and more intellectually and emotionally, not just financially. That is what truly makes me happy!

    • Chris Istace says:

      I love how aligned our mindsets are at this point in time. I know that the need to be engaged with work is what holds me from optimizing my lifestyle even further. I want to simplify my life more and spend it in the pursuit of spreading infectious positive optimism for the future for us all.

  • Jeff says:

    That video left me speechless. Soo inspirational (also love his attitude about life and money and staying young)

  • Canuck Carl says:

    This is a very practical article, Chris. Debt is certainly like an anchor that inhibits our freedom. ??

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