Skip to comments.Study: Money-happiness link is complex
Posted on 11/26/2006 7:08:37 PM PST by NormsRevenge
NEW YORK - Does money buy happiness? It's sometimes said that scientists have found no relationship between money and happiness, but that's a myth, says University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener.
The connection is complex, he says. But in fact, very rich people rate substantially higher in satisfaction with life than very poor people do, even within wealthy nations, he says.
"There is overwhelming evidence that money buys happiness," said economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England. The main debate, he said, is how strong the effect is.
Oswald recently reported a study of Britons who won between $2,000 and $250,000 in a lottery. As a group, they showed a boost in happiness averaging a bit more than 1 point on a 36-point scale when surveyed two years after their win, compared to their levels two years before they won.
Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-Prize winner and Princeton economist, and colleagues recently declared that the notion that making a lot of money will produce good overall mood is "mostly illusory."
They noted that in one study, people with household incomes of $90,000 or more were only slightly more likely to call themselves "very happy" overall than were people from households making $50,000 to $89,999. The rates were 43 percent versus 42 percent, respectively. (Members of the high-income group were almost twice as likely to call themselves "very happy" as people from households with incomes below $20,000.)
But other studies, rather than asking for a summary estimate of happiness, follow people through the day and repeatedly record their feelings. These studies show less effect of income on happiness, Kahneman and colleagues said.
There is still another twist to the money-happiness story. Even though people who make $150,000 are considerably happier than those who make $40,000, it's not clear why, says psychologist Richard E. Lucas of Michigan State University.
Does money make you happier? Or does being happier in the first place allow you to earn more money later, maybe by way of greater creativity or energy? Or does some other factor produce both money and happiness? There's evidence for all three interpretations, Lucas says.
In any case, researchers say any effect of money on happiness is smaller than most daydreamers assume.
"People exaggerate how much happiness is bought by an extra few thousand," Oswald said. "The quality of relationships has a far bigger effect than quite large rises in salary.... It's much better advice, if you're looking for happiness in life, to try to find the right husband or wife rather than trying to double your salary."
Honestly, it is usually much harder to find the right person and to be that right person for them.
That said, the very best investment is in such a relationship. Money can always be had if you are willing to work.
Happiness measurement unit is called a dollar. I've been low on the dollar scale, and have been higher - and higher was certainly happier.
Right now, I don't anyone anything. And I'm content with that. But if I made a lot of money and I owed more than I make, I'd be pretty unpappy.
Now that my rant is over...
Money is good, but it isn't the be-all and end-all. People need to sort this out for themselves.
Pretty unHappy, too.
Duh. Who needs a "scientific study"? People who can pay their mortgage (or rent) and still have money left over for food and a car (or whatever) are always going to be happier than people who can't.
Someone who makes $500,000/yr. and is hopelessly in debt isn't going to be as happy as someone who makes $40,000/yr. and has learned to live on it.
I'd be pretty happy if I got a ton of funding to conduct a stupid study like this.
I have been both. What money buys you is peace of mind that you won't go homeless or starve any time soon. This does wonders to your stress level. If also gives you choices. If a boss annoys you and you have a bit of money in the bank and have kept up with your marketable skills, you can go find another job and pull yourself out of a bad situation instead of staying miserable at your job.
"husband or wife"
and, not or in that case
Being a two time gigolo still won't make you POTUS though.
exactly! who needs a study?!
isn't it just common sense that someone who can afford to take a sick day when they have the flu will be happier than someone who has to drag themselves into work because they can't afford to lose the money?
isn't someone who knows that they can pay for their child to have decent medical help happier than one who can't?
I know most would be happier if they could afford:
college education for kids, opposed to not.
decent house, opposed to not.
heat, opposed to not.
a car that doesn't leave you stranded, opposed to not.
the knowledge that you can retire when the time comes and not have to choose between food or meds.
money buys alot of happiness and alot of piece of mind. It reduces your stress and allows a person to take care of themselves in a way that most can't.
I always look to the long time rich and famous....isn't it funny how most of them live to be in their 90's and playing golf right up to the end??
Money does buy happiness....what it CAN'T buy is LOVE.
A positive attitude is the key to success. Negativity, pessimism, cynicism and envy will keep you down.
"Money doesn't always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars."
-- Hobart Brown.
Depends. When one's heart transplant is priced at 9.5 million, the happiness differential suddenly becomes more noticeable.
Oh, but it does buy lovin'... :P
Money does not 'buy happiness'. Love and family come first. What money does is give you fewer worries and more peace of mind.
That can certainly help you be happier but wealth in itself does not bring happiness.
You know, I think back on some of my happier memories, and the least of which wasn't driving from California to Virginia, sleeping in a tent or in the back seat of my car, cooking whatever was on sale in the grocery store by a campfire along the way, going wherever the wind blew me... A cheap hotel room along the way here or there to shower. Pulling up next to the big rigs in my little Jetta and calling it a night, the desert stars twinkling over the dash.
Life is what you make of it, and happiness is a choice.
Those who are happiest with money use it to buy freedom. Those who aren't all too often imprison themselves with it.
That said, finding the right gal that fits perfectly under your arm and smiles the whole way doesn't hurt, either.
Is this the Hobart Brown I know?
Money can't buy Paul McCartney a sane wife
They noted that in one study, people with household incomes of $90,000 or more were only slightly more likely to call themselves "very happy" overall than were people from households making $50,000 to $89,999.
In most areas of the country, people making $50,000 or more can pay all of their bills, unless they are being totally unrealistic about what they can afford.
Money doesn't buy happiness - learning to live within your means does.
Funny! I did not keep up with all of that so I don't know the details. Paul might be a little 'iffy' too, ya think?
Dunno, I read the quote somewhere and thought it was funny.
The relationship is surely a complex one. However, I think there's somekind of treshold of wealth in which you'll be miserable if you are below it. Poverty, regardless how you define it, comes to mind.
I have an older brother who has a lot of money, by a "lot" I mean he has a lot more than I do. I retired at age 54 and am debt free, I have anything I want or need.
My brother is the penny pinchingest person I've ever known. I'm fond of telling him that I have more money than he does. It must be true because I have all I need and he will never have enough.
He kind of rushed into it fast after his wife's death
Donald Trump could give him some pointers on pre-screening and legal problems
Over a billion dollars puts a huge target on you
Here ya go... http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Hobart_Brown
Drapes are over-rated, except for cat toys.
And when I walk into the house today, everybody loves me and wants to eat, and wants new drapes.
Life is good. It's just like being married, except for the honey-do list.
Awww, sorry to hear about the broken hip; give him a hug for me, won't you. Here's something from google:
A resident of the Victorian village of Ferndale, California, Hobart Brown is known for his works of art made from wire coat hangers and fencing. In 1969, Brown became a local celebrity when he initiated the annual Kinetic Sculpture Race.
The inspiration for the race came when Brown set out to repair his son's tricycle with a welding iron and ended up creating a whimsical, six-foot construction with five wheels, two seats, and a roof. The first Kinetic Sculpture Race consisted of five human-powered works of art that traveled a one-block course in Ferndale on Memorial Day in 1969.
Often credited with the inspirational quote "Having more money does not insure happiness; people with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars",
Hobart Brown was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 by Richard Langfort, a professor of psychology in a nearby college.
Langfort, an expert on youth suicide, saw the Brown's sculpture race as a means of giving isolated children a sense of hope. It perhaps goes without saying that Brown did not win.
Well sure all that money is a big draw for the gold diggers but he must have been looking for someone so you can't always fault the person he settled on.
But - I don't know the details. I imagine anyone he had married would be thought to be 'after his money'.
That's the only relationship between money and happiness that I know about. :-)
I've either had the time, or the money. Never, have I had both, together.
I've got a zillion projects I want to work on. They take time AND money. I've always had time OR money.
This time, my target is the time AND the money to make some of those projects happen. And who knows, I might get some time AND money if they work out.
He could have avoided a lot of heartburn with a prenup.
True, but I think if any one thing can make you happy, you aren't a whole person. It's a combination of things that make life worth living. It's not big things either, the little things all add up. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts and such.
P.S.: Only smiling might be okay for you, but mine's a great conversationalist, and she listens to me too!
Yes, that is dumb of any very wealthy person not to do that. As I wrote, I didn't keep up with the details of their saga.
Like Andy Warhol says, "Success is being able to pay your bills". What a great saying that is, it`s so freggin` true at least when it comes to finances.
Seems like splitting hairs to me. Being rich is better than being poor, in general, but there's more to it than that.
That's called "screw you" money. It's a good thing to have.
He ain`t going to have any money after her. I heard he is freggin` drinking his arse off now, hitting bars like they are going out of style. I would too with that hellion on one leg taking me up the river. What an ass not getting her to sign a pre-nup. She`s going to take half his loot and the lawyers are going to take the rest.
If my student loan disappeared I'd be pretty darn happy.
That is really beautiful devolve! My speakers are booming!!
I`m not sure but I think you can rid yourself of a student loan by claiming bankruptcy if you are poor enough, or can prove undue hardship such as unemployment, or eviction ect ect. I freggin` hate hearing about people stuck with these enormous debts from going to school because these schools absolutely rip off the students, and you get these absolute liberal a-hole Professors as teachers, it`s a freggin` joke today. What is it now, $60 grand a semester? $1000 a credit? These schools are a complete racket.