We all suspected it, and now there's (even more) research to prove it: Making more money does make people happier. That's according to a new study from Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Killingsworth, researchers at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania respectively, who found that happiness increases as does income.
The analysis is reversed previous research of Kahneman who concludes that happiness tends to increase with income only up to about $75,000 in annual income. In his 2010 study, earning above that threshold didn't appear to have a large impact on a person's daily happiness.
For the new study — published March 1 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal — researchers tracked data collected from more than 33,000 US adults who earn at least $10,000 a year. Participants used a smartphone app that randomly asked them their mood during the day.
They found that increasing income to $500,000 did increase happiness for most people. There is not enough data to draw conclusions happiness and income more than $500,000 per year.
So while money isn't the only “secret” to happiness, Killingsworth says in a recent statement“That might help a little.”
That result also comes with one big caveat.
“Exceptions are people who are financially well off but unhappy,” explains Killingsworth. About 20% of people are part of this “unhappy minority,” the researchers found. For that group, an extra income of more than $100,000 a year doesn't seem to have much of an effect on their mood.
Both researchers suggest that money beyond that threshold may not ease the pain associated with certain life circumstances – think “heartbreak, loss, and clinical depression.”
“If you are rich and miserable,” Killingsworth said in the statement, “more money is not going to help.”
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