Many people discuss and debate whether money can improve happiness. While we like to think that it doesn’t, science shows otherwise.
This article can catch you up on research to answer your questions regarding money and happiness. Money can pay for luxuries and help reduce or avoid daily stressors. It can also help you stay calm when unexpected situations arise that impact finances.
The benefits of having more money impact those who earn a low income just as much as those who make more. It can make everyone happier, although the reasons vary based on the person.
What the Experts Say About the Relationship Between Money and Happiness
A 2018 study showed that happiness increased the more money someone makes, but only up to $75,000. After that number, the study showed that it no longer affected mental well-being.
This research used self-reported data from an app to determine happiness levels. The participants had to remember and report how happy they were during a specific timeframe. It resulted in answers affected by memory errors, biases, and integrating various memories.
More recent research shows no cap on how much money increases your happiness. The newer study involved repeating the previous idea with new methods. Their techniques removed the things that could have affected the answer in the original research.
Using an app again, participants had to answer a question about how they felt each day. They also had to respond about how satisfied they felt overall. The results indicated a mostly linear increase in well-being and life satisfaction. Experts found that the biggest happiness increase occurred when someone earned a moderate income below $80,000. This increase could be higher because it involves leaving the low-income group and experiencing fewer financial issues.
However, all income brackets experience more happiness as they earn more money. Experts couldn’t find a cutoff point, so the linear increase continues for higher income brackets. It involves joy and contentment at the moment and experiencing overall life satisfaction.
Why People Earning More Money Are Happier
Money can make people happier for many reasons. The reasons often depend on previous life experience and current stress or desires.
More Disposable Income
When you have disposable income, you can spend it on things that bring joy and make you feel good. Spending money on experiences brings more happiness than buying materialistic items. Additionally, spending money on other people can also encourage more joy.
You can also pay others to do jobs quicker or easier than you could when you have disposable income. It saves you time, allowing you to do something else during the time you would have spent doing it yourself.
When you purchase material items, you can boost the happiness it brings by thinking about your purchases first. Consider buying yourself multiple small treats to spread out the excitement a little. You can also think about what you want more than anything, so your purchase can make you feel good.
Money Gives Options
Having more spending money gives you options for what you want to do. You can travel, pay for more experiences, invest, work on home improvements, or many other things. Having these options improves happiness because it gives you control over your life.
Helps Meet Basic Needs
When your salary can pay for your basic needs, you’ll experience more happiness. Not having to worry about where you’ll get money for groceries, utilities, or a place to live is a relief.
Money Allows for Fixing Problems
More money can alleviate hardships as you’ll have the financial stability to fix problems. You won’t get as stressed because you know you’ll have the money to take care of mishaps as they occur. Additionally, you’ll experience less negativity regarding daily frustrations because you’ll feel more in control of hassles that require money to fix.
Protects People from Things That Deplete Happiness
Money can protect you from things that interfere with your happiness. It allows you to pay for solving problems that would otherwise leave you uncomfortable or inconvenienced.
Without money, you might also have to turn down social invitations. It can leave you feeling left out or create unintended separation from your friends and loved ones. Missing these events can bring negative feelings, while having money would prevent it.
Another negative situation that earning more money can help you avoid is asking others for help. You might lose some happiness when you ask your friends or loved ones for cash or to pay for something. With money, you won’t have to worry about asking others for financial help, allowing you to experience peace and contentment.
Financial issues can lead to shame, and reaching this point often causes you to avoid dealing with your problems. It creates a negative spiral where your problems worsen.
Shame occurs when you feel like their money issues are your fault. You won’t think of the external factors contributing to the lack of disposable income.
Financial hardship can also affect your job performance, decision-making skills, and relationships. The more areas of your life affected by lack of money, the more shame you experience. Making more money eases these feelings and the issues associated with it.
Other Things That Make People Happier
While earning more money can contribute to happiness, there are other ways to find joy. Some of the things you can do if you want to be happier include the following:
Implement a Daily Exercise Routine
Exercise can improve your mental health and help you find happiness. It releases hormones that make you feel good, including dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Exercise can help relieve depression, improve your well-being, and encourage motivation.
You don’t have to spend time in a gym to get daily physical activity. You can also go for a walk, try a yoga video, or engage in a hobby that requires physical activity. Even dancing can help you reach your exercise goals without feeling like you’re working out.
Spending Time with Friends and Loved Ones
Experts indicate that social connection is one of the best ways to become happier. Not getting enough social interaction can negatively affect your health and well-being. Talking to a friend on the phone or running errands with a loved one can help increase your happiness.
Spend More Time with Positive People
Spending time with positive people can help improve your happiness. You’re likely to mimic the attitude of those you spend time with, so it’s best to choose happy people. Seek out the happy people at work if you need a boost of happiness, or call your positive friend for an uplifting talk.
Taking time to express gratitude can improve your mood and reduce stress. Making it a daily habit can help you experience happiness and embrace positive moments.
Practicing gratitude doesn’t take much time, and you can do it during other parts of your routine. Thinking of five things you’re grateful for while drinking your coffee is a simple way to build gratitude into your current routine.
You can also write the things you’re grateful for in a journal before bed or when you wake up. The things you write don’t have to be major because the small moments of beauty or joy are essential, too.
Spend Time Outside
Studies show that spending time outside can improve your overall well-being. The experts suggest at least 120 minutes outside each week to experience the most benefits. It increases happiness while decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Don’t shy away from the sun, as sunshine stimulates vitamin D production. Increased vitamin D levels can help ease depression symptoms and encourage happiness. However, don’t forget your sunscreen to protect yourself from ultraviolet rays.
Consider how you can increase your time in nature if you think you aren’t doing it enough. You can have coffee or meals outside to ensure you spend plenty of time out there. Other ideas are to plan a beach day, go on a hike, or walk your dog. You can do anything outside, and making it a habit can help you become happier.
Considering Your View of Success
When you realize money doesn’t always indicate success, it can help you find happiness. While money can make things easier, it doesn’t always mean you achieved your dreams. Shifting your mindset to think about your view of success can make a difference.
Having a Job That Gives Meaning
You’ll likely be happier when you enjoy your job and find meaning in it. A fulfilling career can bring joy no matter how much money you earn there.
Final Thoughts on Science Explains Why People Earning More Money Are Happier
Money can contribute to happiness and doesn’t change despite your income level. With more money, you won’t have as much stress and can do more things that make you happy. You also won’t have to worry about how to take care of your basic needs or handle unexpected setbacks.
While you can work on increasing your income, it’s not the only thing that can make you happier. You can focus on other aspects of your life to improve your well-being.