According to researchers, not even the price of happiness is safe from inflation.
What happened: New research shows that not only does money make you happier, but happiness keeps going up along with income. In fact, happiness levels increase with earnings all the way to US$500,000—beyond that, researchers ran out of data.
- Study participants were pinged randomly during the day by an app that asked them to rank how happy they were at that exact moment.
Previous work by Nobel Prize-winning economist and psychologist Daniel Kahneman suggested that money can help make you happier, but only to a point, plateauing at around US$75,000. After Harvard doctoral student Matthew Killingsworth observed no such plateau, the two teamed up to tackle the question, leading to a new, revised happiness hypothesis.
Yes, but: While there’s definitely a correlation between income and happiness, the researchers also describe it as “weak,” with many other factors affecting happiness to a similar degree. A fourfold bump in income, reportedly, has the same impact on your happiness as the arrival of the weekend—TGIF, are we right?
The researchers also found an “unhappy minority” of about 20% who saw some benefit from higher income up to about US$100,000, but not much beyond that. These folks tended to suffer from “miseries” such as depression and, alas, heartbreak, which money couldn’t fix.
Bottom line: Get that bread! But don’t forget that there’s more to life than making money.