Money Won’t Make You Happy. Here’s What Will, According to Science
“Peoples’ levels of happiness only increase as income increases up to a point, after which there are reduced benefits to happiness as you increase your income. This number is probably smaller than you think, although it depends on where you live, but it is usually between $60,000 and $80,000.
I’ll explain this with some examples.
- Imagine you are only earning $8,000 a year. You will barely be able to afford food, let alone shelter, and you will likely be very stressed or living off other people by scavenging.
- Now imagine you are earning $80,000 a year. You can afford a house, a car, to go out, have nice dinners, and gather some savings so you can afford medical bills or travel. …
- But now imagine you earn $800,000 a year. Your house might be bigger and you might fly first class instead of economy, but you are doing basically the same things as before but are working a lot harder and don’t have as much time to spend with friends and family. …
A great summary of the research for the link between happiness and money is available at:
If you want to increase your happiness levels, then be altruistic. Help other people. This is one of the interesting findings of research in positive psychology.
Most people actually think of pleasure, not happiness. They think of the pleasure of eating an ice cream or of going to the movies. But your happiness from these activities looks very much like a square wave. You are happy during the event, but half an hour later it has very little effect on your current state of happiness.
However, humans are wired for helping others. We get a nice long tail of happiness: Days later, you can close your eyes and get a warm, happy feeling as you remember helping your friend with something that mattered to him or her.”