On Monday I noted that money doesn't make people happy but that I felt wealthier people were happier. Here's a piece from Forbes that explores the relationship between money and happiness and ends with the following conclusion:
Money doesn't really make us very happy. Not only do we want what we don't have, we really don't know what we want, and we think the things that we want will make us happy, which they tend not to do.
I guess that clears things up, right?
Seriously, I think they are right. Money doesn't make us happy. It doesn't hurt though, and can remove a lot of the frustrations in life that do make us unhappy.
Here's another thought:
Which is somewhat along the lines of what another wonk suggests, that the country is in the grips of "luxury fever." That is, families with annual incomes of $50,000 try to emulate the consumption of those with $70,000, who in turn try to emulate those with $140,000, ad infinitum.
Simply put, when we see something we like that someone else has, we want it, too.
This is similar to the dynamic we discussed in my post titled Which do You Prefer: Making More Money or Making Less but Being Paid More than Others? You may be happy with what you have, but when you see someone else with more, you want it too (and can become unhappy as a result).
In the end, they wrap up with the same question they started out by answering...and come to the same conclusion:
And yet, does all of this spending make us happy?
Researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Pennsylvania proclaim with totemic authority that, in a 1985 survey, respondents from the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans and the Maasai of East Africa were almost equally satisfied and ranked relatively high in well-being. The Maasai are a traditional herding people who have no electricity or running water and live in huts made of dung.
Money certainly brings on its own sets of issues -- especially serious money like that managed by the Forbes 400.
What do you think? How is money related to happiness?