Has the Money Tree Become the Happiness Tree?

Well we’ve all heard the saying “Money can’t buy you love” but can money buy you happiness?

Well, a recent article “More on money (not) buying happiness” by CNN Health purports that research has shown that income does affect a person’s overall satisfaction with life, but seems to have little effect on a person’s emotional well-being, which reflects everyday life experiences.

A recent study showed that people with an annual household income of $75,000 are happy but that happiness doesn’t appear to increase with incomes higher than that.  Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton of Princeton University differentiated between the satisfaction with one’s life overall, and satisfaction with everyday experiences (emotional well-being).

The Princeton researchers analyzed this poll’s data and found that people’s emotional well-being did not increase with higher incomes after $75,000.  This means that day to day happiness does not rise after that point.

However, their study differs from past studies in that the new study finds that happiness in terms of overall satisfaction with life does continue to rise with incomes above $75, 000.  Kahneman comments, “We suspect that this means, in part, that when people have a lot more money, they can buy a lot more pleasures, but there are some indications that when you have a lot of money, you will savor each pleasure less.”

Another important point is that money does not improve a person’s ability to spend time with the people they love or avoid pain or disease.  However, if one was to think of life as a whole, being wealthier makes most things seem better or at least easier.

According to the 2008 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, about one third of households had incomes above $75,000.  The average U.S. household income, according to that survey, was $71,500.

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