According to research from the University of Warwick and Cardiff University people feel happy with money only when they earn more than their friends, neighbors and colleagues.
The researchers charged with this fairly obvious in conclusion task have said that the findings ‘may explain why economic prosperity over the last 40 years has not even slightly increased overall levels of happiness in the UK. Which I suppose is fairly ‘ground breaking’.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, examined data on earnings and life satisfaction from seven years of the British Household Panel Survey carried out by the Institute for Social and Economic Research. Comparing individuals’ happiness with others of the same gender, age, level of education, or from the same geographical area, the study found that money only makes people happier if it improves their social rank.
Lead Researcher Chris Boyce, from Warwick Uni’s Department of Psychology said this:
Earning £1 million a year appears to be not enough to make you happy if you know your friends all earn £2 million a year. Our study found that the ranked position of an individual’s income best predicted general life satisfaction, while the actual amount of income and the average income of others appear to have no significant effect.
A few interesting points where raised on the original article from where some of the context for this post is taken. I think its probably worth listing a few of the points made by the commentators:
- It’s not necessarily about improving social rank, so much as measuring success based on surroundings. For Example a person brought up in inner city, a council house in the suburbs will more then likely be seen as a source of happiness and a sign of success.
- Likewise for a person brought up essentially in money. Moving away from the ‘luxurious’ surroundings they have become accustomed to a similar move (point 1) would signify failure and continue to be a source of unhappiness.
- People need to concentrate on actually living and enjoying life.
- Stop worrying about how much money you are putting into ‘high interest paying savings accounts‘ and live happily and not worry about the almost irrelevant arguments about money which frequent having lots of money!
Article Reference – Independent “Money buys happiness if you’re richer than your friends”