advertisement
Home » Blog » Money = Happiness

Money = Happiness

Money
It turns out that whoever said money can’t buy you happiness was wrong.

Money can buy you happiness, as long as you give some of the money away.

Dunn and colleagues (2008) conducted three studies that examined the relationship between Americans’ spending habits and their self-reported happiness. The first study was a national survey conducted on 632 Americans that asked to detail their income and spending habits. The participants were also asked to rate their general happiness level.

The researchers found that two things were correlated with greater general happiness levels — higher income (naturally) and spending on gifts for other people or money given to charity.

One could argue, well, hey, of course having more income can make you happy… But maybe it’s related to either the dollar amount given, or the fact that people who are more likely to give money to charity and others are just inherently happier people by character. So the researchers set out to examine those hypotheses in two separate followup experiments.

In a small, second study, 16 employees were asked about their general happiness levels before and after receiving their annual bonus. No matter what the size of the actual bonus, employees who spent more of their bonus money on others or charity reported greater general happiness levels than those who spent more of it on themselves.

Finally, in a third study of 46 people, researchers discovered that participants who were directed to spend a small amount of money on others (either $5 or $20) reported greater feelings of happiness than those who were directed to spend the same amounts on themselves. Again, the dollar amount didn’t matter.

The third study suggests that even when the choice isn’t ours, we still feel the happiness effects of giving away money to others. And even when the actual value is small ($5).

So indeed, money can buy you happiness. As long as you give some of it away.

Reference:

Dunn, EW, et al. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319(5870) 1687-1688.

Photo: Yomanimus

Money = Happiness

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.


2 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment
APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2008). Money = Happiness. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/money-happiness/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Sep 2008
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Sep 2008
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.