It Turns Out Money May Make You Happier

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Does it or Doesn’t It?

I’ve devoted plenty of blog posts (and pages in my book) to research citing that more money does not make us happier. So, I felt it was only fair to share some research I happened upon that contradicts many of these findings.

New Study Says it Does

In April, a study conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan analyzed data from 155 countries and found that subjective well-being does increase as income increases. And, that increase is sharper in wealthy countries. For example, the study concluded a 10% pay increase for someone earning $50,000 a year produces a greater bump in happiness than a 10% increase for someone earning just $10,000. As quoted in the TIME magazine article featuring this research, apparently “rich isn’t just better; it’s much better.”

But Only if You’re Satisified

Another study conducted by the University of Illinois and published in December 2012 looked at happiness in 135 countries over a six-year period and found that income does correspond to happiness, but only if that income keeps pace with an individual’s desires. In other words, if the additional money enables you to live the life you want, you’re happy. If however you’re still always dreaming of more, you’ll be disappointed. The TIME article cites this as a common problem in today’s world because with social media, paparazzi and reality TV, we’re often surrounded by examples of people with more, making it far too easy to compare and come up short.

Here are a few interesting quotes from the TIME feature on the pursuit of happiness (July 2013 issue)

People are happier when they’re able to buy nonnecessities. Americans are spending more on new cars, eating out and sports tickets than in 2012.

People who care about other people’s incomes are typically less happy with their lives.

Marriage does contribute to bliss; it’s a better predictor of happiness than having money or children.

People who dwell on the past and future are less likely to be happy than people who concentrate on the present.

What do you think?

Clearly the question of whether money makes people happy is not a simple question with a simple answer. So what do you think? Does money make you happier? Please post a comment and share.

photo credit: jessicahtam via photopin cc


About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. Now she helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

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