Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems. Notorious B.I.G.
Money makes us happy, so it’s easy to think that MORE money will make us even happier.
Elizabeth Dunn, is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, and co-author of “Happy Money: The Science of Spending.” She writes in a New York Times editorial:
There is a measurable connection between income and happiness; not surprisingly, people with a comfortable living standard are happier than people living in poverty.
No surprise there, but she goes on….
People thought that their life satisfaction would double if they made $55,000 instead of $25,000: more than twice as much money, twice as much happiness. But our data showed that people who earned $55,000 were just 9 percent more satisfied than those making $25,000. Nine percent beats zero percent, but it’s still kind of a letdown when you were expecting a 100 percent return.
One reason why more money doesn’t equal more happiness is because we get used to it. Once the newness of the more money wears off, we go back to feeling normal, adjust to our new life and return to our previous level of happiness.
Then something else happens… because we can afford more, we want more. The car we drive gets more expensive. The house we live in gets larger. The clothes we buy get more expensive. More money means more Joneses to keep up with and more stuff to maintain, clean, and worry about. More money means more problems.
Although more money allows us to buy more things and improve our standard of living, our standard of living does not directly impact the quality of our life. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make more money. Make as much money as you can, want, or need. But know that it’s not the money that will make you happy, it’s what you do with it to improve the quality of your life that makes you happy.
What improves the quality of your life?
Giving to family and friends, contributing to causes you care about, and improving your physical and emotional health.