Are you making so much money that you've got all your bills set up for auto-pay, and you never even notice your balance lowering? Are you immune to the snarls of inflation wreaking havoc across the nation? Filling your gold-plated jacuzzi tub with crisp Benjamins every night to bathe in your massive fortune?
We're going to go ahead and guess that you didn't answer "yes" to any of those questions (especially given that you're on a site called Cheapism). And you're far from alone. Being alive in the 21st century is really expensive and, for people living paycheck to paycheck, stress is often a more frequent reality than carefree happiness.
In fact, a recent study from Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Killingsworth, researchers at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, shows that as one's income rises, so does happiness. That is brand-new information!
We know, we know. Money can't buy happiness. The best things in life are free. Life isn't about money, it's about moments. Yadda yadda yadda. We're not arguing with any of those things. What we are saying is that while money might not be able to buy happiness, poverty sure as hell can't either. And before you come for us, the proof is in the study.
The recent study tracked data from a whopping 33,000 U.S. adults earning at least $10,000 a year. Using a smartphone app, the researchers asked questions about participants' moods at random times of the day. The study revealed that an increase in earnings up to $500,000 boosted happiness for most people, although there wasn't enough data to conclude what the correlation between happiness and those making bank actually was. The study did show, however, that 20% of financially well-off participants are generally unhappy, so money is (obviously) not the only driving force behind a genuine smile.
Essentially, when it comes to the relationship between money and happiness, there's a sweet spot. For pretty much anyone living and breathing, there is a just-right dollar amount that would make a more worry-free lifestyle available. Yet there are also plenty of things that life throws at us — whether we earn $30,000 a year or $300,000 — that can make us unhappy.
Money might ease the pain of inflation and bills, but you can't pay away all of your miseries.
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