Would it surprise you that your emotional well-being really doesn’t improve by becoming wealthy? There’s been a host of research in recent years that look into happiness and money. Possibly the most commonly known one is the National Academy of Sciences study on well-being and money.
This study’s now famous $75,000 mark suggests that a person’s emotional well being (how they feel day-to-day) AND their evaluation of life (their overall perspective of how they are doing) improves up to the point of earning $75k per HOUSEHOLD in the United States. Beyond this mark, emotional well-being doesn’t significantly improve, though a person will evaluate their life as better if they earn beyond this mark. To quote their findings, “We conclude that high income buys life satisfaction but not happiness, and that low income is associated both with low life evaluation and low emotional well-being” (Kahneman, et al. 2010).
So what do “happy money” spenders do? Research by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton in Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending (2014) reveals how money is spent makes the crucial difference in happiness.
- Buy Experiences.
- Connect with people; target experiences over stuff.
- Make It A Treat.
- Making something special and novel increases its enjoyment.
- Buy Time.
- Make time to slow down and pursue what’s valuable to you.
- Pay Now, Consume Later.
- First, don’t consume with money you don’t have. Second, enjoy at a later point- anticipate.
- Invest In Others.
- An incredible thing happens when we give: happiness. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, The Bible, ESV).
Are you making the most of what you have? Are you caught up in materialism and consumerism? Today is always a great day to do something different.
Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
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