Can money buy happiness? Probably not. But it may buy satisfaction. According to recent research, having more money can contribute to our overall sense of wellbeing.
Surveys show the effects of thousands of Swedish lottery winners who have reported that they’re way more satisfied with their lives than those who lost the lottery.
And the more they won, the better. Lottery winners who won hundred of thousands of dollars reported higher levels of satisfaction than those who won tens of thousands. The researchers found that the longterm benefits were notable; even two decades after winning, these lucky recipients of wads of cash were still markedly more content than others.
A research report, “Long-Run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-Being,” contains the findings.
Justin Wolfers, who wrote a NYTimes article on this subject, has conducted research that has led him to similar conclusions. People who made higher levels of income seemed to report higher levels of satisfaction with life, and that correlation between money and happiness seemed to be true in numerous countries across the globe.
Indeed, money does seem to lead many into a state of stress. We recently asked our Survey Junkie members how personal finances affected their wellbeing. Nearly three quarters of our respondents said that dealing with money yielded some stressful impact on their lives.
And not only is it stressful to deal with it, it’s difficult to talk about it too. The same survey found that 63.82% of people don’t even want to have conversations about money due to the anxiety that it provokes.
In our open-ended question asking what was the most stressful part of our member’s lives, approximately 1,000 of the 3500 responses centered around money.
Another finance survey found that nearly 75% of respondents had some kind of financial regrets, and an incredible 86% felt that one of their biggest ones was not saving enough money.
The Difference Between Happiness and Satisfaction
The surveys on lottery winners looked at several different things when measuring their respondent’s perceived well being.
One of those approaches was to distinguish between happiness and overall satisfaction. When it came to how content they were across the board, there was a direct and positive correlation with how much money they had.
Questions about happiness often leave answers at the whim of someone’s current mood. And on any given day, we know how much that can vacillate.
Okay… So maybe having more money leads to more overall satisfaction. But the study didn’t find any correlation between lottery winners and decreased mental health issues. And after analyzing the results, they concluded that it has few effects on improving physical health.
So yes. Money probably does buy people more satisfaction in life. But it won’t take care of all of our problems – that’s for sure.
Data Source: nytimes.com