According to a Princeton University study, financial security may be more of a key to happiness than money.
The study, conducted among nearly 1,000 American women across all ages and income levels, concluded that when looking toward the future, women who were more focused on financial matters were much less likely to be happy with their lives. Many of these same women had plenty of money, suggesting money alone does not provide peace of mind or happiness.
The study also found the women who were the happiest were those who didn’t focus on financial matters such as retirement savings, college tuition, or making ends meet.
The psychologist who conducted the study, Talya Miron-Shatz, said “Even if you are making a hundred grand a year, if you are constantly worried that you are going to get fired, that you are going to lose your health insurance or that you are simply not sure you are going to ‘make it,’ you are not going to be happy.”
In the survey among 500 people that I conducted when I was writing my book, Breaking the Spell: The Truth about Money, Success, and the Pursuit of Happiness, I found the same correlation between money and security. In my survey, 95 percent of people said their income or the amount of money they have is directly related to their sense of security.
I suppose we should not be surprised by these findings.
After all, we live in a financially volatile world. In just the past few years the bottom has fallen out of the real estate market causing many people to lose their homes; the stock market crashed causing many to lose their retirement savings; and the job market became unstable causing many to lose their livelihood.