I've been as poor as the proverbial church mouse a couple of times in my life. I've also been flush once or twice. I have found that money and possessions do not, and never can, buy my personal happiness.
That said, having a high income does make life easier in some ways. It sucks to not have enough money to buy the groceries you prefer. It's not fun to have to make do with worn down shoes that make your feet ache. It really stinks to have to scrimp in other areas to find the funds to afford your rent. I've been there and done that before and I can certainly speak as the voice of experience when I say that it's not my favorite place to be. But it also didn't cause any damage to eat beans & rice for weeks on end or avoid any spending outside of my bare-bones budget. I actually think the experience only served to make me stronger and better able to appreciate financially comfortable times. Looking back, being poor really wasn't all that big of a deal.
It's also fair to say that I don't think having a high net worth is all that important. Sure, it's nice to have, but it really isn't the most important thing. I know that there are plenty of people in the world who might disagree with that statement. I can see that someone who grew up in abject poverty would place an incredibly high value on the security that money often brings. I can totally understand that mindset.
However, I've found that most people obsessed with money and possessions don't exactly come from hardscrabble beginnings. Generally speaking, having an abundance of wealth or goods is only very important to those who have a heart for material goods. And it's okay if that's your heart. That's just who you are and there's nothing wrong with that. It's just not who I am.
If you don't care so much for keeping up with the Joneses, having great cash reserves or fantastic "stuff" isn't all that important. Lest anyone accuse me of suffering class envy, I acknowledge that I'm just your typical middle-class suburban housewife and I'm okay with that. Why am I okay with that? My needs are met and my wants are very few. I guess that's probably the real secret to my happiness: My needs are met and my wants are very few.
What's important to me? Enjoying good health physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Spending time with my husband and our son. Having a roof overhead. Food in our bellies. Clothes on our backs. Friends and family. That's about it. Those things are the key to my happiness. Pretty simple, right?
Everything else is cool to have, I guess, but it just isn't necessary to me. Are you happy? What is key to your happiness?