Money can’t buy you happiness is an idea that has prevailed for well over a decade. Studies show us that earning just above what we need to cover basic needs and keep us living a comfortable lifestyle is a futile matter that may even make us less happy. However, these days are long gone. Social scientists have worked hard to remove the rose-tinted view to bring forward the idea of ‘the more the merrier’.
Researchers analyzed data from the Office for National Statistics and Happy PLaney Index in 2020 to identify how much money the average Briton would need so they can live a happy life. £33,864 or more is the answer. The plus part is the key. In 2o021 a study was published by Matthew Killingsworth of the University of Pennsylvania that suggested that the more money we have, the happier we become.
This isn’t just greed is a good philosophy, it has to do with the state of the world and the wellness inequality we are experiencing currently. More wealthy people are usually in better health and better health impact our happiness. Well-off or rich people who spend their money investing in experiences or free time rather than more ‘stuff’ can also lead to higher happiness.
Of course, happiness is a lot more than just money. It also comes from job satisfaction, relationships, and enjoying life. But, money can give you much wider choices when it comes to these categories.
Something else that also has an impact on our happiness is how we compared and how often to others. If we are able to maintain the same standard of living as other people around us, we tend to experience a higher level of wellbeing and thus, feel happier. If we don’t, or can’t, we start to experience relative deprivation which is also known as absolute poverty.
According to science, we can live in a wealthy area or country, but if we haven’t got the latest car and our neighbor has, we will be unhappy.
Relative deprivation can have an impact on your happiness. The effect can explain why average happiness becomes stagnant. Taxes on higher spending as well as higher incomes could reduce the impact of relative deprivation on wellbeing. However, the majority of Brits still dislike the idea of higher taxes. So for now, earning at least 33K a year and having more happiness than our neighbors is the statistical key to us being happy.
A study that appeared in Psychology Today showed that the children of wealthier parents have a higher risk of experiencing anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, and depression. Researchers have also found that, as we become more well-off, we start to be
less ethical and less empathetic, this is because wealth instills a sense of freedom. The wealthier we are, we care less about other feelings and problems.
However, psychologists at the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco have found that people on lower incomes can read facial expressions better and are more empathetic. Therefore, if we’re not feeling as flush as our neighbors or drive a better car, we can rest easy knowing that we may be nicer people.