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Happy Money vs. Unhappy Money: What’s the Difference?

There are two ways to categorize money: Happy Money and Unhappy Money. Understanding and appreciating the difference can positively affect your relationship with your bank account. Ken Honda, Japan’s #1 bestselling personal development guru and the author of HAPPY MONEY, shares his financial theory and secrets behind this concept.

There are two kinds of money: Happy Money and Unhappy Money. Happy Money is the kind that a ten year-old boy uses to buy flowers for his mom on Mother’s Day. Happy Money is when parents gladly pinch pennies in order to save a few extra dollars each week to be able to send their kids to soccer camp or take piano lessons. There are so many ways regular old money can become Happy Money:

  • helping a struggling family member out of a bind
  • sending a few dollars to those affected by a hurricane
  • raising money by selling cookies for a homeless shelter
  • investing in a business or community project
  • receiving money for work or services from satisfied clients.

All the money circulated with love, care, and friendship is Happy Money. Happy Money makes people smile and feel loved and cared for deeply. It is in many ways an active form of love—a way in which people can see, feel, and touch. Often money can help others in a way that nothing else can. For example, when someone is going through a major hardship, like losing their entire home to a fire, “thoughts and prayers” and “good vibes” will get them only so far. However, I guarantee you that money will help a family get back on their feet, buy them food, and give them a temporary roof over their heads in a way that good vibes just can’t.

Conversely, Unhappy Money is the kind of money you use to begrudgingly pay your rent, bills, and taxes. We don’t have to stretch our imaginations too far. We’ve all experienced the many forms of Unhappy Money:

  • paying or receiving money as alimony after an ugly divorce
  • receiving a salary from an employer for a job you don’t like but can’t bring yourself to leave
  • unwillingly paying off credit cards with huge interest rates
  • receiving money from someone who resents paying you—like an unhappy customer who says, “You don’t deserve it, but I’ll pay you anyway to honor the contract”
  • stealing money—from anyone.

Money circulated in frustration, anger, sadness, and despair is Unhappy Money. This kind of money makes people stressed, desperate, aggravated, depressed, and sometimes violent. It deprives people of their dignity, self-esteem, and gentleness of heart. Whenever you receive and spend money and you do so with negative energy, it becomes Unhappy Money. 

Find out how you can transform your relationship with money in HAPPY MONEY by Ken Honda!


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Excerpted from Happy Money by Ken HondaCopyright © 2019 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.


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