More money, more happiness

‘Money can’t buy happiness’ is a popular saying, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Just ask yourself, “Where would you be without money?”

It’s unfortunate, but when we think of people without money we think of the homeless holding weather-warped cardboard signs and wearing everything they own.

Likely, without money or even with less money, many would be in a far more stressful situation than the one they face now.

Don’t take it from me. Boston Magazine reports Harvard researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton have found more cash means more happiness.

“Even something small, like going out for a meal or little shifts in how you spend $5 or $10 can bring more happiness to people,” Norton said.

However, when it comes to money buying happiness, most joy doesn’t come from our possessions, but rather from the experiences money allows us to take part in.

“We use stuff by ourselves, whereas, being with other people is a pretty big predictor of happiness,” Norton said.

While material possessions depreciate, experiences like parties, festivals, vacations, and other social events that aren’t free create memories that only get better over time.

From Norton and Dunn’s research, these social experiences create long-term happiness.

However, vacations, concerts and football games that the researchers speak of aren’t usually free and thereby put a price tag on happiness’ requirements.

If you’re not sold on trading greenbacks for happiness yet, The Huffington Post reports money does affect happiness. Although people like to spend, there is no fulfillment quite like purchasing something for a friend or someone in need.

Dunn’s research at the University of British Columbia found just by spending $5 on a friend increases happiness more than it would had they spent the same amount of money for themselves, but cash’s exchange for happiness doesn’t end there.

According to the New York Daily News, a Princeton University study also found happiness from buying insurance.

Despite the fact most people pay more for their insurance than they receive in pay outs, this purchase reduces stress and provides peace of mind that wouldn’t be possible without money.

While insurance is linked to bliss, the New York Daily News reports the way to get the most happiness for your buck is to spend cash that frees up your time, like hiring someone to clean the house or an assistant to keep the office in order.

Help like this that lightens your schedule “can have the most significant impact on your well-being,” as found in Dunn’s study.

Clearly, money can buy a life of delight in a number of different ways and purchases.

However, if this were the case, wouldn’t it be safe to say the rich are happier than the poor?

According to the Spokesman Review and University of Michigan Economics professor Justin Wolfers, the answer is yes.

Wolfers found 21 percent of Americans living in the lowest 12 percent of income earners said they were happy.  This compares to 53 percent of those living in the top 10 percentile of income who said they were happy.

Moreover, when the question was reversed and the lowest 12 percent of income-earners were asked if they were unhappy 26 percent said yes, compared to just 2 percent from the Americans that make more than $150,000 annually.

Although ‘money can’t buy happiness’ is a popular saying, when finances leave you between a rock and a hard place, the truth is the more money you have the happier you are.

– Josh Babcock is a senior communication major from Pullman. He can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.