Posts Tagged ‘Money’

Money Makes Way For Happiness, But Happiness Still Can’t Be Bought

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Imagine a ladder with 10 rungs. Now, imagine that the lowest rung (0) is the worst possible life that you could have and the highest rung (10) is the best. Where would you fall on that ladder?

If you’re like almost half (49 percent) of Americans, you’re “thriving” on rung seven through 10, according to the most recent Gallup World poll. Another 47 percent of us are “struggling” on rungs five through six, and four percent are “suffering” below rung four.

Looking into the backstory behind the overall estimates of “thriving” vs. “suffering,” we learn that the vast majority of Americans surveyed (84 percent) experienced enjoyment the day before participating. In comparison, only 38 percent experienced stress, 30 percent were worried, and 23 percent felt physical pain. A large percent (67 percent) ate healthy food the day before, 60 percent did something interesting, while only 33 percent worried about money. It’s these factors—not feeling pain, not worrying about money, and having options to do and eat what we enjoy—that are associated with happiness.

As we learn just what makes us happy and how reliable our happiness polling can be, researchers and policy makers are trying to decide just how much our happiness can and should affect policy and vice versa. First, the ultimate question: does money bring happiness?

Click here for the full article.

In my opinion, the problem with questions like, “Does money bring happiness?”  is that they all focus on just one factor of a person’s overall well-being.  No one thing, like money, family, freedom, or anything else, will make or break your happiness.  Happiness is determined by a combination of internal and external factors.

For example, having money might help you have a good education, but it will not necessarily give you the intellect to utilize that opportunity or the personality to appreciate it.  Under these circumstances, the education purchased with that money fails to make you happy, and therefore that money has ultimately failed to make you happy.  You had an external factor of happiness, but lacked a corresponding internal factor of happiness.

I do believe that it is easier for people with a certain amount of available capital to be happy.  People at a particular income level can afford better healthcare, safer shelter, and warmer clothing, and they therefore should have fewer worries.

What do you think?


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.

Click here for the full article.

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.

Click here for the full article.

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.

Click here for the full article.

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.

Click here for the full article.

Happiness, equity theory, and why we tend to think that we should get what we deserve — and deserve what we get.

Friday, April 25th, 2008

One of the most interesting and complicated issues within the study of happiness is the relationship between money and happiness. Although some folks seem content to say, “Money can’t buy happiness,” I think that relationship is a bit more complicated.

Because of my interest in this topic, I read Shira Boss’s fascinating book, Green With Envy. It was interesting in many ways – for example, she seeks to explode the taboo against talking about money, and provides several detailed accouts of people’s money problems, including her own. If you like the blog My Open Wallet, you’ll like this book.

I was most intrigued, however, by Boss’s brief discussion of equity theory - a phenomenon I’d observed in the world, without knowing the name for it.

Equity theory, according to Boss, is the psychological term for our tendency to feel uneasy when we have much more or much less than someone else, without knowing why. People generally have a belief that we get what we deserve – and deserve what we get.

Click here for the full article.

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.

Click here for the full article.


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

Click here for the full article.

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.

Click here for the full article.