The Other I

November 11, 2010


Filed under: Intriguing Science — theotheri @ 9:31 pm

Religious teaching around the world has tried to convince people that money cannot buy happiness.  Why worry, when God even takes such good care of the lillies of the field?

Unfortunately, a recent study of almost half a million people carried out by researchers at Princeton University suggests that more money does lead to greater personal happiness.

Their findings are complex, but doesn’t provide a lot of support for those who believe that money can’t buy happiness.

Everyday kind of happiness – the sum total of daily ups and downs – don’t just depend on one’s bio-chemical legacy.  Up to a maximum of about $75,000 annual income, more money can increase  ones daily quotient of feeling good.

It’s not that people don’t like not having money so much as not having money makes people worry more about life’s daily stresses and problems.  Low-income asthma sufferers, for instance, are less happy than high-income asthma sufferers.  Low-income people worry more about failing relationships than people who can cushion the blows with income.

This stress-reducing effect does not increase once people are  earning more than $75,000 annually.  But what does increase and what does not seem to have a ceiling, is the self-esteem that comes with increasingly higher incomes.

The more money people make, the more important they believe their work is, and the greater the contribution they believe they are making.  They don’t report necessarily being happier than their poorer counterparts below the $75,000 mark.  But they do seem to think their lives are more worth the effort involved.

Given these results, I find myself wondering whether comparable results would be found for both people who earned their money and those who have come upon their wealth through inheritance or other good fortune not the result of work.


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