Money can(not) buy happiness, can it?

Of course, people’s happiness is not the same, but it cannot be denied that money and happiness have some connection to us. Can money buy happiness? Let’s answer this question ourselves.

We have to be rich to be happy?

“If you get richer, your happiness can grow as well.” This is not just a saying, but there’s a research reference by Mathew Killingsworth, an economist published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He surveyed 33,391 working-age Americans aged 18 to 65 using the Track Your Happiness app, collecting general income data, their normal daily life, and asking for their real-time feelings.

This study argues against a 2010 study by Daniel Kahneman that comfort increases with income, but at some point, people who earn more than 75,000 dollars a year (about 2.6 million baht) said that money rarely affects their happiness. 

However, a new study by Killingsworth has concluded that people earning more than 75,000 dollars a year are also likely to be happier, including those who earn up to 500,000 dollars a year.

Having money mean happiness?

This research does not say that money is the cause of happiness, but this study shows the relationship between money and happiness. Whether it increases or decreases, both of these things move in the same direction. There are two main causes.

First, people who see money as a factor in their lives. Having money fulfills the basic human factors such as not having to skip a meal, having enough money to pay for medical expenses, having a safe home, not worrying about their future life, and reducing basic suffering.

This corresponds to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory that describes the basic human needs with a five-stage pyramid:

  1. Physiological Needs such as four factors: food, housing, clothing and medicine.
  2. Safety Needs such as job security and income.
  3. Love and Belonging Needs
  4. Esteem Needs
  5. Self-actualization Needs

Maslow’s theory explains that humans need to be satisfied by the basic needs in the lowest order before they can move to higher demands. As we all know, the first and second factors, the four requisites and the safety of life, depend on how much money we have. Without money, basic needs such as good food, safe homes, clothing, and medicine can cause us distress. Thus, money has become a factor in buying that comfort.

Another reason is money. People who value money more than the average person, such as people who define success by wealth or attach their value to the amount of money in their accounts, luxury cars, and brand-name bags, their happiness increases or decreases with income than those who view money as a living factor.

Money is not the key to happiness, but it may help a little

Happiness can come from other factors in life and something might be what we have without buying, such as a good relationship with others, working with our own hobby or value.

Killingsworth added for people who are rich but suffer, money can’t solve everything. Money is just one of the factors that can make a person happy, and ultimately money isn’t the key to any happiness, but at least money helps us for a little.

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