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Old 08-13-2010
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Default Can you buy happiness?



It depends. While it may increase your overall satisfaction with life, a higher income won't increase your enjoyment thereof or your positive feelings. These are the findings of a recent survey of more than 136 000 people in 132 countries.


Researchers from the University of Illinois used this "first representative sample of planet earth" to examine why higher income is often associated with happiness. They looked at respondent characteristics such as income and standard of living, whether their basic needs for food and shelter were met, what kinds of conveniences they owned and whether they felt their psychological needs were satisfied.

The survey asked respondents to evaluate their life satisfaction on a scale that ranged from zero (worst possible life) to 10 (best possible life). Participants were also asked about positive or negative emotions experienced the previous day and whether they felt respected, whether they had family and friends they could count on in an emergency, and how free they felt to choose their daily activities, learn new things or do "what one does best."

Confirming the findings of previous studies, the new analysis suggests that life evaluation or satisfaction increases with personal and national income. Positive feelings, however, are more strongly correlated with other factors, such as feeling respected, having autonomy and social support, and having a fulfilling job.

According to University of Illinois professor of psychology Ed Diener, this is the first "happiness" study of the world to differentiate between life satisfaction, the philosophical belief that your life is going well, and the day-to-day positive or negative feelings that one experiences.

"Everybody has been looking at just life satisfaction and income," Diener said. "And while it is true that getting richer will make you more satisfied with your life, it may not have the big impact we thought on enjoying life."

The study will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Source
: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Press Release
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Old 08-14-2010
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I find extreme joy in shoe stores. Money can by my kindda happiness.
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Old 08-15-2010
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Yes it can.

But it depends on what kind of happiness you need.

Intrinsic happiness (the difficult kind) is very difficult to find but easiest to sustain once achieved. It is also longer lasting. Happiness from consumerism is transitory but gives spikes in overall wellbeing
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Old 08-15-2010
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Yes it can.

But it depends on what kind of happiness you need.

Intrinsic happiness (the difficult kind) is very difficult to find but easiest to sustain once achieved. It is also longer lasting. Happiness from consumerism is transitory but gives spikes in overall wellbeing
If consumerism-mediated spikes are constantly created, then can one not say that this type of happiness can be constant and long-lasting?
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"Everybody has been looking at just life satisfaction and income," Diener said. "And while it is true that getting richer will make you more satisfied with your life, it may not have the big impact we thought on enjoying life."
Very interesting to note.

Would love to see follow-up studies.
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Old 08-16-2010
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I think happiness can be explained in a very simple way. How well does your life match your expectations of life? If there is a big difference between the two, then you will be unhappy!

Thats why I think people in poor countries usually score higher on "happiness scores" than western people, they simply do not have very high expectations from life and they manage to fulfill the expectations they have.

Money in this context can be both beneficial or detrimental, beneficial because if your expectations includes a certain standard of living with traveling, gadgets etc, then it will make that possible. Detrimental in the sense that the more money you have, the higher your expectations rise and usually not in proportion to the real increase in money.

I.e if you go from being a poor rice farmer in china to a normal middle class swede, then you all of a sudden expect to go to Thailand for vacation twice a year, expect have money to buy the kids everything they want and so on. The new income doesn't match the expectations while the expectations while being a rice farmer was set to the level of "get food for the year and roof above my head", something fairly easy to accomplish.
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^^ So I don't think one can state "money makes you happy" or "money makes you unhappy". It's all about how you handle the money and what you expect to get out of having more money.

As a student I was quite satisfied with the money I had. Because I knew its just enough to pay rent and food and thats it. I didn't expect any more. Now that I have 3-4 times as much money as I had when I was studying, I am less satisfied with my economy because I expect to be able to afford nice clothes, eating out often, traveling etc. Increasing my income did not make me happier because my expectations grew more than my income did.
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^^ So I don't think one can state "money makes you happy" or "money makes you unhappy". It's all about how you handle the money and what you expect to get out of having more money.

As a student I was quite satisfied with the money I had. Because I knew its just enough to pay rent and food and thats it. I didn't expect any more. Now that I have 3-4 times as much money as I had when I was studying, I am less satisfied with my economy because I expect to be able to afford nice clothes, eating out often, traveling etc. Increasing my income did not make me happier because my expectations grew more than my income did.
Get out of my head damn you.

Serious great post mate!
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I read somewhere (cant remember where but I think it was someone quoting the book "The 4 hour work week) the advice that one should take a hard look at what lifestyle you really want. Then go ahead and figure out how much money that lifestyle demands and work hard to get the needed income, but not more! Any more work will just be detrimental to your lifestyle and more expenses probably doesn't give you any extra joy.
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^^ agreed!!! i think if you have enough money to sustain the lifestyle you want then you'll be good...happy and comfy and every other good thing... cause it would be one less worry
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