Money as something to blow on a yacht in order to investigate the idea that sailing in luxury around the world might be create meaning in life? Something to be acquired through some mix of direct provisioning by others, and cash outlays within restricted categories.
The problem goes deeper than this artificial separation.
Or more precisely, that subjective self-reported “happiness” does not correlate with income above $75,000 or so, in the US.
Why is the hypothesis that we earn incomes in order to buy happiness from some sort of standard-life-script store even a reasonable one, worthy of research?
How about money as a creative stab at attaining retirement security using something other than a tax-law-incentivized 401(k) plan?
Money as planning for kids’ futures outside of colleges?
Money as a Plan B for health emergencies that occur while uninsured?
Money as flexibility in when and how you can choose to do stuff?
Money as a necessary kind of fuel in status races we instinctively engage in?
Money as the capacity to spiral into stoned, drunken debauchery?
That an insistence on a unique, subjective evaluation of one’s own life is something of a individualist-literary conceit.
I suspect the phrase itself is a generalization of the older notion of a phrase you frequently find in early twentieth-century writing.
It referred to the diffusion of various technologies into everyday pre-industrial life, from running hot and cold water in bathrooms and garbage collection to anesthetics and vaccines.