Tags: happiness | money | wharton | study | well-being

Study: Money Can Buy Happiness

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By    |   Thursday, 21 January 2021 10:48 AM

Money really can buy happiness. That's according to new research from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which quantified 1.7 million data points from more than 33,000 participants who provided moment-to-moment snapshots of their feelings during daily life.

The topic of money and happiness has been debated for decades and Matthew Killingsworth, who studies human happiness at the school and who led the survey said: "Other scientists are curious about it. Laypeople are curious about it. It's something everyone is navigating all the time."

So Killingsworth set out to find some answers. The study participants provided moment-to-moment snapshots of their feelings during everyday life. They would regularly fill out short surveys at randomly selected moments during the day via an app Killingsworth created called "Track Your Happiness." Participants had to rate how they were feeling on a scale that ranged from "very bad" to "very good." They were also required to rate their overall satisfaction with life.

The 33,000 people who were part of the study were all employed, located in the U.S., and ranged in age from 18 to 65. They submitted 1,725,994 reports of their perceived well-being. Killingsworth was able to determine the impact money had on their happiness by calculating each person's general level of well-being and measuring it against their income.

One of the reasons why people earning higher incomes were happier was because they had a greater sense of control over life, Killingsworth explained.

"When you have more money, you have more choices about how to live your life," he said. "You can likely see this in the pandemic. People living paycheck to paycheck who lose their job might need to take the first available job to stay afloat, even if it's one they dislike. People with a financial cushion can wait for one that's a better fit. Across decisions big and small, having more money gives a person more choices and a greater sense of autonomy."

The findings are in line with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that people living below the poverty line were more prone to suffering from depression.

But Killingsworth noted that those who equated money to success were less happy. He further explained that people who earned more money worked longer hours and felt more pressure.

"If anything, people probably overemphasize money when they think about how well their life is going," Killingsworth continued. "Yes, this is a factor that might matter in a way that we didn't fully realize before, but it's just one of many that people can control and ultimately, it's not one I'm terribly concerned people are undervaluing."

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Money really can buy happiness. That's according to new research from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which quantified 1.7 million data points from more than 33,000 participants who provided moment-to-moment snapshots of their feelings during daily...
happiness, money, wharton, study, well-being
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2021-48-21
Thursday, 21 January 2021 10:48 AM
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