How Money Can Make You Happy — Or Not
Think you'd enjoy life so much more if you bought a house or fancy car? Think again
When Princeton professor and economist Angus Deaton won the 2015 Nobel Prize for economic sciences, he told reporters he was “surprised and delighted” by the award. But his win wasn't that surprising to other economists. Deaton, born in Edinburgh in 1945, is renowned for his work on poverty, inequality and consumption. Among his most famous findings: Rises in income increase day-to-day happiness, but only to a point.
That study, based on a survey of 450,000 Americans and conducted with prominent psychologist Daniel Kahneman, found that day-to-day happiness rises until you hit $75,000 in salary. After that, additional income may increase your overall satisfaction with life, but it doesn’t make you happier.
In other words, having enough to make ends meet helps, but money can’t always buy you happiness. Although “low income is associated both with low life evaluation and low emotional well-being,” the authors said, they found that making a salary over $75K failed to improve people’s overall mood.
This is just one of the intriguing studies explored in Happify’s infographic on money and happiness. A New York City-based organization that uses science and technology “to empower individuals to lead happier, more fulfilling lives,” Happify notes that people feel happier when they invest in experiences that bring them into contact with other people, such as travel or a vacation, and less happy when they buy stuff, like a new gadget.
Research also shows that homeowners are no happier than renters (and even feel more burdened), and that how much your car costs has no impact on how much you enjoy driving it. Want more? Check out Happify’s infographic below.