Yes, if used correctly, money CAN buy happiness!
Lots of studies have shown that once your basic human needs are met, more money doesn’t make you that much happier. If you made 20k per year and get a new job that earned you 40k per year, your happiness doesn’t double. It might go up a little, but more money doesn’t make you more happy.
It’s how you USE your money
Did you know that the mere thought of having money makes people less likely to help acquaintances, to donate to charity, or to choose to spend time with others. Does that sound like the kind of things a happy person would do? No!!
In fact, it’s helping acquaintances, donating to charity, and spending time with others that leads to more happiness. Researchers Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Aknin, and Michael I. Norton created an experiment to discover if using money to facilitate these type of happiness activities would actually make people happier.
To get to this answer, they looked at two different situations….
- In the real world, 16 employees were about to experience a financial windfall in the form of a profit-sharing bonus from their company. One month before the employees received the bonus, the researchers asked the employees about their general happiness and their annual income. Then 6 to 8 weeks after the bonus, the researchers asked those employees about their general happiness and what their bonus had been spent on: bills and expenses, rent or mortgage, buying something for themselves, buying something for someone else, donating to charity, and other. These categories could be divided into two types: personal spending and pro-social spending.
Their conclusion: “Employees who devoted more of their bonus to pro-social spending experienced greater happiness after receiving the bonus, and the manner in which they spent that bonus was a more important predictor of their happiness than the size of the bonus itself.”
In an experiment, participants rated their happiness in the morning and then were given an envelope that contained either $5 or $20. The participants were instructed to spend that money by 5:00 p.m. Some were asked to spend it on a personal spending expense (such as a bill or a gift for themselves) while others were asked to spend it on a pro-social expense (such as buying a gift for another person or by donating it to charity). At the end of the day, the participants again reported their happiness. Those who spent the money on something other than themselves reported greater happiness at the end of the day! And it didn’t have to be a lot of money. Even $5 spent for others led to greater happiness
Give, because money can buy happiness when you use it to give other happiness or an opportunity for a better life. And you want to be happy. Don’t you?