6 – Agree
5 – Slightly agree
4 – Neither agree nor disagree
3 – Slightly disagree
2 – Disagree
1 – Strongly disagree
____In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
____The conditions of my life are excellent.
____I am satisfied with my life.
____So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
____If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing. Add up your results and see where you are in the following list: 35 – 31 - Extremely satisfied
26 – 30 - Satisfied
21 – 25 - Slightly satisfied
20 - Neutral
15 – 19 - Slightly dissatisfied
10 – 14 - Dissatisfied
5 - 9 - Extremely dissatisfied
“Anybody who thinks money can’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop”?- Unknown
“Anybody who thinks money will make you happy, hasn’t got money.” ?- David Geffen
We humans are obsessed with money. To many people, it’s a commodity in and of itself. And it seems we’re gradually getting more obsessed. In the 1960s, 80% of US college students said it was essential to develop a meaningful philosophy of life, and 40% said it was essential to be very well off financially. By the mid-1990s, you could reverse those figures.
It seems like many people just want money. They don’t want to have made a product, provided a service or found some other way to offer value, and have their money reflect the value they have given. They want money as the end goal, not particularly caring how it was obtained.
Not all people are like that, of course, but a lot are. And it’s quite natural that they are, given what people think money can do for them. It’s the Holy Grail, isn’t it? You get freedom, security, status. But do you get happiness?
Yes! And no. It’s complicated.
Money can buy happiness if you don’t have it to start with, and it’s subject to the law of diminishing returns. It also depends how you spend it. I’ll explain in more detail.
If you live in poverty, it’s likely that many of your basic physical needs aren’t being met. You might not have an available food or water supply. You might have inadequate shelter, warmth or safety. In these situations, money absolutely will make you happier.
However, after a certain point, which is somewhere around $10-15k, money has a diminishing effect on happiness. Essentially, once you’re out of poverty and into the middle-class, extra money doesn’t buy much more happiness.
In 1985 the Forbes 100 wealthiest Americans, each with a net worth over $125m, had their happiness measured by psychologists, and their results turned out to be only slightly higher than the average for the country. Think about that; the top 100 wealthiest people, out of however-many-millions, were only a little happier than average.
However, when it comes to your bank balance, it’s not the size, but what you do with it that counts. Researchers have found that so-called ‘experiential purchases’, such as a meal out or theatre tickets, resulted in greater happiness than material purchases, like a big screen TV or new shoes. After a while we get used to these material possessions, even bored with them. If you spend £500 on a new TV, you’ll be happy for a…