Would you be Happier if you had More Money?

I read an interesting article a few weeks ago. The title caught my attention. It was called, “Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer?” I know that sometimes I think I’d be happier if I had a bit more money in my pocket. So what did the researchers find out? The article said that people who are struggling to put a roof over their head and food on their table typically saw an increase in happiness as their income increased. Their happiness continued to increase until the per-capita house hold income reached $12,000 (This is for the United States, in US dollars). After that point there was virtually no increase in reported happiness as income rose above that level. On a graph, happiness increased steadily with income, until the $12,000 per person mark, and then it went almost completely flat.

A different research group also took a look at lottery winners in Great Britain. Interestingly he found that in the case of people who won large lotteries (over $200,000); they reported a significant increase in happiness immediately after winning, but within a year, most were back to the same level of happiness that they were at before winning.

Both of these studies confirm what I saw a number of years ago while I was living in Brazil. Most of the people I worked with would be considered “poor” if they lived in Canada, but most were quite happy in spite of their relative lack of material possessions.

What this tells me is that if someone is unhappy with a little bit of money (once their basic needs are met), then there is a very good chance that they will be unhappy with a lot of money. It turns out that money doesn’t buy happiness in the long run. I better get back to work so I can afford my gym membership 😉 …

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