There’s an old adage that claims money can’t buy happiness, but is it really true? We looked at a lot of financial and psychological research, and the results were no less than surprising. The truth is, most folks tend to set a relatively low bar regarding the amount of disposable income they feel they need to lead a happy land contented life. At the same time, a preponderance of people say they wouldn’t turn down the chance to become a millionaire. Would you? How much cash do people actually need to be happy and content?
Saving vs. spending
According to the Wall Street Journal, people who spend in lieu of saving can be just as happy as or even happier than people who sock away their cash for a proverbial rainy day. It all depends on how they spend their money. Studies show that people who spend their money on experiences instead of a lot of material goods tend to be all around happy people.
Owning a fancy car and giant screen television doesn’t quite compare to traveling the world and exploring other cultures, as far as happiness is concerned. In addition, people who have money and spend it to help other people or to support worthwhile causes tend to have a higher level of joy in their lives than people who spend their cash on big ticket items.
Families who travel together in a no frills car like a Dodge Challenger for instance may be happier than those who never go anywhere but keep a ton of loot in the bank.
Does wealth equate with happiness?
Named in honor or a University of Southern California professor named Richard Easterlin, the Easterlin paradox explains that despite the fact that individuals tend to become happier as they amass wealth, nations do not generally improve their happiness quotient as they become richer.
A Gallup World Poll disagrees with the Easterlin paradox and so does Tim Worstall from Forbes. According to the Gallup poll that references 155 different nations, the populace of most countries actually does become happier in proportion to national wealth. Citizens of countries that afford nationalized health care, excellent education and other social services tend to be exponentially happier than citizens of poorer countries.
How to have more money without winning the lottery
Spending money wisely and well can increase a person’s happiness level. This is not to say that budgeting and saving are in no way connected to well being. Delaying gratification by saving up for a special purchase can be a very satisfying endeavor.
Spending no more than you need to can ramp up your happiness, too. WSJ recommends shopping around to save on necessary expenditures, including car and home insurance, cell phone plans and mortgages.
If the idea of winning the lottery appeals to you, go ahead and invest a dollar a week. If you don’t expect to win and your numbers suddenly come up, you could do a lot of good things and make yourself and other deserving people very happy indeed.
Lucas Kirby is studying psychology and enjoys writing articles in his free time, usually basing his articles on the way us humans think about things in some way, shape or form!
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