28 Sep The odd relationship between money and happiness
by Carl Richards for the NY Times
You may have heard about the recent study out of Princeton University, in which Daniel Kahneman, a winner of the Nobel in economic science, and co-author Angus Deaton found that people reported an increase in happiness as their incomes rose to $75,000 a year. Then, the impact of rising income on happiness levels off.
I found this study fascinating. Happiness seems like such a complex issue, filled with individual and cultural differences, so putting a number on it strikes me as odd.
Can it really be that simple? Is there a relationship between money and happiness?
I understand that not having money to cover basic needs causes stress. Real stress. But we have seen plenty of crazy (but real) examples of how varied the definition of basic needs can be. Maybe it is more about expectations, desire and constant _ã–wanting_ã than it is about actual income. We all know people who make more then we do and are still not happy with their income level.
If you believe that happiness can be reduced to a functional equation up to $75,000, then how do you explain all those stories of people around the world with very little money and a whole lot of happiness?
I have a friend _ã” recently returned from an extended trip to Nepal _ã” who was struck by how little people had and how happy they seemed. Of course she was only there a few weeks and that might not be long enough to draw any conclusions, but you get the point.
The moment we accept the idea that there is a magic income that maximizes happiness, we have to deal with the reality that there are plenty of people who seem to have very little money and lots of happiness.
Sure, I would be equally leery about a claim that there was a relationship between having less and being happier. But it does make you wonder…
…are you wondering what the full article is like? Read more about the odd relationship between money and happiness – HERE