Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Happiness is … not having children?

Monday, May 12th, 2008

The belief that children and money will bring people happiness is one of life’s abiding illusions, a Sydney conference attended by 2000 seekers of happiness was told yesterday.

The scientific evidence shows people are very bad at predicting what will make them happy, said Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the author of the book Stumbling On Happiness. He said people’s happiness goes into steep decline after they have children, and never recovers its old level until the children leave home. As a source of pleasure, playing with one’s offspring rates just above doing housework but below talking with friends, eating, or watching TV, research has shown.

Yet people invest so much time and money in their children, and focus on the fleeting moments of joy they bring, rather than on the long periods of boredom and irritation, that most continue to believe children will bring them happiness, Professor Gilbert said.

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Free time outranks wealth in happiness survey

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Wealth may be playing less of a role in Americans’ pursuit of happiness, according to results from a Pew Research Center survey.

Thirteen percent of 2,413 respondents in a survey earlier this year said being wealthy was “very important” to them, according to a survey posted Wednesday on the Pew Research Center’s Web site. Other opinion choices were “somewhat important” or “not very important.” It ranked last among seven statements of priority such as living a religious life, doing volunteer work, donating to charity or being married.

Nearly 70% of respondents said “hav[ing] enough free time to do things you want to do” was very important, the Web site said. This received the largest amount of very important votes. Having children and being successful in a career ranked second with 61% of respondents saying these were very important to them.

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What kind of house brings happiness?

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

What housing would bring real happiness?
In his book, “Stumbling on Happiness,” Daniel Gilbert notes that most people are ineffective at forecasting what would make them happy.
“People know what it feels like to be happy, but they’re very poor at predicting the sources of their satisfaction,” says Gilbert, a Harvard University professor of psychology.
Human beings are especially likely to misjudge the satisfaction they’ll derive from having more money.
“More money makes people happier if they’re living under a bridge and can move up to the middle class. But making a lot more money doesn’t make middle-class people a lot happier,” he says.
By the same token, moving from a modest home to a fancier property won’t necessarily increase your happiness, unless it translates to meaningful improvements in your lifestyle.
A larger home could make you happier if, for instance, it provides more space for your grown children and their families to visit. In this case, the more spacious property would support your deep desire for more family solidarity.

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World’s largest health study: We’re stressed, we’re struggling and we like weekends

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

The Gallup Organization and Healthways, Inc., released the first data from the country’s largest poll on health and happiness today, showing that almost half of all Americans characterize themselves as “struggling” on those fronts.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index polls 1,000 people a day nationwide, including Spanish speakers, cell phone users and other people normally left out of national opinion surveys. It’s the largest ever survey of its kind, and Gallup has committed to doing it for the next 25 years. It began Jan. 1.

Almost 40% of those polled said they were significantly stressed the day before. Two-thirds said they had at least one of a list of chronic health problems, including high blood pressure or cholesterol. Almost a third, 28%, said they were not well-rested. A third said they worried about money the day before, 30% said they had a lot of worries in general and 23% said they were in physical pain.

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Money Can’t Buy Happiness?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008


Last month the Journal’s Jonathan Clements that money alone doesn’t buy a lot of happiness. Here, happiness blogger Gretchen Rubin takes a different point of view.

Money can’t make people stay in love, connect with friends or enjoy a hike in the woods. But money, spent wisely, can contribute greatly to happiness.

Recent articles in the news media tackle the money-happiness connection. A study this summer in Science magazine showed that when participants were asked to record the previous day’s activities and describe their moods, being wealthier didn’t have great impact on their moment-to-moment experience.

A different sort of study presents another picture. According to a Pew Research Center 2006 report, the percentage of people who declare themselves “very happy” goes up as family income rises. People were asked: “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days, would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” Twenty five percent of people with incomes of $30,000 or less said they’re “very happy.” That compared with 50% of people with incomes of $150,000 or more.

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Crib Sheet: Your Guide To Money and Happiness Studies

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008


Confused by recent headlines about money and happiness? Here’s a quick cheat sheet summarizing recent academic studies on the link between the two. Click on the links below to read summaries of the studies.

Plus, see full coverage of “Making the Move for Money.”

 Relative income and happiness

 Would you be happier if you were richer?

 Money and income: a correlation, not a cause

 Money and the blues

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Happy now? The course claiming to replace the blues with true happiness

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

More than fame, money, success and celebrity, we crave happiness. Happiness has become the holy grail of our society. But why, when we have so much, is it so elusive?

This week, a social trends study by the Office of National Statistics revealed that although we are healthier and twice as well off as we were in 1987, we are no happier.

Modern expectation is that we should be continuously happy, but if we can’t buy it, work for it or damn well conjure it up, how do we make ourselves happier?

Psychologist Dr Robert Holden believes that happiness is within everyone’s grasp.

Once a year, he runs a five-day happiness course, spread over eight weeks, which he devised for a BBC QED documentary, How To Be Happy.

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Money CAN buy you happiness, when you spend it on others.

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Harvard Business School have found that it’s possible to buy happiness after all: when you spend money on others.

In a series of studies, UBC Asst. Prof. Elizabeth Dunn found that individuals report significantly greater happiness if they spend money “pro-socially” — that is on gifts for others or charitable donations — rather than spending on themselves. Her findings will appear in the March 21 edition of the journal Science.

“We wanted to test our theory that how people spend their money is at least as important as how much money they earn,” says Dunn, who teaches in the UBC Dept. of Psychology and is lead author of the study.

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Confirmed: Money really CAN’T buy happiness.

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Italian researcher Luisa Corrado was among the those honored today at the European Science Awards Ceremony, for her work on whether wealth can bring happiness. Corrado received one of five Marie Curie Excellence Awards, which recognize excellent researchers who have participated in the EU’s researcher exchange program.

Working at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Economics, Corrado led research that maps European feelings of well-being. Her report confirms the old adage that money can’t buy happiness. In countries where the population said that they trusted the government and other institutions, a high income made people happier still, but in those countries where such trust was lacking, even the richest tended to be less happy.

The Danish emerged as the happiest people in Europe, while the British rank ninth. Dr. Corrado said, “One thing that is clear from the report is that it is not enough for governments to focus on improving wealth. Our well-being would be more likely to flourish in a mutually supportive and trusting society.”

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