According to the most popular conceptualization of materialism by Richins and Dawson it consists of three components: acquisition centrality, acquisition as the pursuit of happiness and possession -defined success. They are usually combined and an overall indicator of materialism is used commonly in various studies. In the article the three components are examined separately. Differences in their nature are revealed in a theoretical analysis, whereas in two empirical studies the ways they connect with well -being are presented. The results show that the overall materialism explains much less variance of well -being than the three components taken separately. Of the three the possession-defined happiness is the most detrimental to all aspects of well -being. The possession -defined success does not connect with well -being at all. Finally, acquisition centrality elevates hedonic and psychological well -being. The conclusion is that the modest effect of materialism on well -being, usually identified in various studies, is probably at least partly due to conflicting forces existing within the construct.