There is an very old saying that tells us that money can’t buy happiness. But in fact, serious studies of the question all come to the conclusion that happiness is directly correlated with earned money up to some point.
More than 10 years ago, some researchers suggested that money can buy happiness. They settled on an approximate earning of $75,000 a year. A complicated and nuanced study by Nobel Prize winning economists explained that the more money earned, the more happiness was perceived. However, that effect tended to plateau around $75,000 a year. Anymore and sadness increased.
The research also made it clear that earning more didn’t add to a sense of well-being. And that well-being was some sort of precondition to this correlation between money and happiness. In other terms, one must find his way of life before earning more money to accomplish this way of life.
The obvious appeal of the idea is that money can buy happiness in the sense that it can provide for basic necessities and stability, but not much beyond that. This means that multi-billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are much richer, but not much happier than the rest of us.
The only problem with this idea is that it may be totally wrong, and that we’d all obviously be much happier if we had millions of dollars. A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that the correlation goes upward of the $75,000, although with diminishing returns for every dollar earned more.
The study, titled Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year, doesn’t mince words. There was no evidence of an income threshold at which experienced and evaluative well-being diverged. This suggests that higher incomes are associated with both feeling better day-to-day and being more satisfied with life overall.
“There was no evidence of an income threshold at which experienced and evaluative well-being diverged. This suggest that higher incomes are associated with both feeling better day-to-day and being more satisfied with life overall.”Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year
This new study is from Matt Killingsworth, a senior fellow at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. This study is based on 1,725,994 samples pulled from 33,391 employed adults in the United States. The sampling process was done using the app Track Your Happiness. Basically, this app ping people randomly during their daily life, and ask questions about their happiness and current well-being. This ensures that data can be then aggregated to give a quite good idea of happiness levels for the whole months or even the whole year! The study then just correlated this data with income levels to establish a relation.
Money can’t buy happiness, but can make you earn it!
I have to stress that money isn’t everything. The pursuit of wealth itself isn’t a means to happiness, and will instead lead to an empty and boring life. Wealth is just a small variance. There are plenty of other things that are equally, if not more important for our own happiness. It’s possible to earn not that much and still be quite happy. What matters after all isn’t how much money you make, but how you use it and what are your drives in life! Money can’t give a meaning to your life, but you can just by yourself.