Behavioral Economics Debt Articles

Money Can Buy Happiness

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For those of you that say money can’t buy happiness. I will tell you today what I’ve said my entire life: I’d like to believe you, but I don’t.

The National Academy of Sciences released a research report this past Tuesday that showed people’s happiness and emotional well-being elevated with increasing income levels.

The study, supported by the Gallup Organization and the National Institute on Aging, was conducted to learn more about economic growth and policy. Clearly, evidence from this study shows that money is good for you and your emotional gratification.

Conversely, it can probably be concluded by this that having debt would make one sad. Shocker.

The happiness one feels in regards to their income turned out to plateau around $75,000. Angus Deaton, an economist at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University and reviewer of the surveys collected concluded that, “giving people more income beyond 75K is not going to do much for their daily mood … but it is going to make them feel they have a better life”.

After this point though individuals that have a boost in their salary may feel an increase in success but a spike in overall happiness is not seen, Deaton explained.

I will admit, if you hand me a wad of cash, I’m going to smile. If you take a wad of cash from me, I’m going to cry. It’s as simple as that. Happy. Sad. Money. No Money. Money can certainly be a fuel my happy fire. If I’ve got money to burn, I’m feeling pretty darn good.

Now, you cannot simply walk into Bed, Bath and Beyond and purchase a nice Box O’Happiness (not even in the Beyond section, I’ve looked) but we can feel happiness based on the items we buy, the money we have and the flexibility we feel when either treating ourselves to something or knowing we have the ability to. The fewer our disposable income the more restricted one might feel and thus, less happiness.

Comparing their life-satisfaction results with those of other countries, the researchers said the United States ranked ninth after the Scandinavian countries, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and New Zealand.

However, it would be terribly interesting to me to see how the levels of happiness correlate with countries or societies that do not have high monetary motivation or advanced technology. Princeton, if you’re reading…. jump on this for me, will ya? The Wachutu Tribe is waiting. Oh, and I want a piece of the pie. That would make me happy.

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Don’t get me wrong I do not think that happiness relies on money or that money relies on happiness, however I do find that the two can go hand in hand both favorably and adversely.

So there you have it. Money can buy happiness. But don’t worry, the Beatles’ classic “Can’t Buy Me Love” still proves to be true.

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Amanda Miller

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