The answer seems obvious to some. At a practical level we all need money, but we cannot fully experience life without happiness, can we? We have heard the cliched question about the rich: '...but are they happy?'
However, happiness and money are not mutually exclusive. They address different needs and possibly different parts of our beings - external comfort vs internal fulfilment. As vast sums of money are held by a small percentage of the world's population, and the majority struggle for money, the question about what is more important is natural. Imagine if money was proven not to make one happy, the majority of the world could console themselves with having a little money and be satisfied with the non-money-related joy they had in their lives.
Yet, money is often equated to happiness because it can address so many practical things. Bills that need to be paid cause stress and sometimes danger to some. The ability to pay them leads to relief or peace. Some people equate their self-worthiness to the amount of money they make. They have an idea about what kind of person is a millionaire, for example. And a part of them believes that by becoming one, he/she is now also that vision. Often this may lead to disappointment because the image they held in their mind of a millionaire may not align with their experience in real-life of being one. For that the status they have pegged to the image of who/what they want to be may be flawed. They would have to find a different end-goal that more fully encompasses their vision of the person they want to be emotionally. Some people need to earn more money than Joe Blogs next door. This is another inner issue of self-worth by comparison.
The question is really about the truth of deep feelings that engage us in life and help us feel satisfied. We are compelled often to go in directions that we feel will help complete our needs.
How do we get that completeness? Is it possible to get that impact from earning money? Or is money a metaphor for what we need? The issue isn't about the thing. The significance here is what the thing brings. If money helps a person's self-worth, esteem, confidence in their own ability, self-worth, confirmation of deservedness, etc, then these underlying impacts can certainly bring some sense of completeness.
A way to approach our inner drivers and compulsions is to pay attention to them and observe their roots and experience them within ourselves at a physiological and emotional level. This is the space for meditation, silence and realisation. Enjoy the video below: