A new study purports to show that, to haul out the cliché headlines making the rounds, "money can buy you happiness"--but only up to around $75,000-worth. Beyond about $75,000 a year, your view of life's overall trajectory may improve, but as for mood, you're on your own. As you might imagine, journalists are eating this stuff up.
'Having Money Clearly Takes the Sting out of Adversities,' Time's Belinda Luscombe explains. "Researchers found that lower income did not cause sadness itself but made people feel more ground down by the problems they already had." Thus, 51 percent of divorcés "who made less than $1,000 a month reported feeling sad or stressed the previous day, while only 24% of those earning more than $3,000 a month reported similar feelings." It turns out that "at $75,000, that effect disappears." Beyond that number, "individual temperament and life circumstances have much more sway over their lightness of heart than money." And yet, each 10 percent increase in annual income, whether below or above $75,000, does increase a person's overall satisfaction with their lives by roughly the same amount.
- The Poor Get a Raw Deal, adds BusinessWeek's Jennifer Goodwin. Not only does poverty "[exacerbate] the emotional impact of negative life events such as illness and divorce," but the "poor [don't] get as much of a happiness boost from weekends as those who were better off, according to the researchers."
- The Big-Picture Conclusions "For one thing, the very rich do not seem happier than the middle class," writes 24/7 Wall St.'s Douglas McIntyre, interpreting the results.
A yacht, a mansion, an expensive car-none of these can drag those who are miserable out of their state of misery.
And, as for the middle class, or at least the high-end of the middle class, having enough money to own a home, put children through school and own one or two modest care is enough, if these people are already happy.
The poor or nearly poor are less likely to be happy, or have a sense of well-being-as if that would come as a shock to anyone.