Will Getting That Pay Raise Make You Happier?

The short answer is no… unless you earn less than $50,000 per year, a pay raise won’t make you happier.  Once your basic needs are met, earning more money will not make you any happier.

Will becoming more attractive make you happier?  Nope… plastic surgery or weight loss will give you an initial boost, but you get used to your new looks pretty quickly, and in the long run you won’t be any happier.

Will better health make you happier?  Counter intuitively, no. Unless you’re at death’s door, you get used to your state of health, and being less or more healthy doen’t change your happiness level in the long run.

Will moving to a sunny warm city make you happer? Again, no. After the new car smell wears off, your level of happiness will move back to where it was when you were living in a cold northern city.

So, what are some things that make us happier?

  1. Connect… with family, friend and neighbours is the most important thing you can do to contribute to your overall happiness. The good news is that this will cost you little or no money to do!
  2. Be Active. Walk, run, bike, play games, play sports, dance yoga… these are all things that will improve your mood, especially if you’re in a bad one.
  3. Take Notice of the beauty in nature and in life.
  4. Keep Learning. Whether it’s new hobbies or a new skill at work. Be challenged and remember that most happiness comes in striving for goals, not in reaching them.
  5. Give. Do something nice. Join a community. Be selfless.

If you’d like to read more on this topic, I highly recommend reading Jonathan Haidt book, The Happiness Hypothesis, or if you’d like to read great eight page summary, you can read my brother Bob McCue’s book review and auto insurance guide,

Finally, here is Dan Gilbert’s entertaining TED Talk with his take on happiness. Enjoy!


Leave a Reply