26th Mar 2006

Does More Money Make Us Happier?


If a person is very poor, there is no doubt that greater income can improve his or her life. But once the basics are secured, well-being does not necessarily correlate with wealth. Findings from the World Values Survey, an assessment of life satisfaction in more than 65 countries conducted between 1990 and 2000, indicate that income and happiness tend to track well until about $13,000 of annual income per person (in 1995 purchasing power parity). After that, additional income appears to yield only modest additions in self-reported happiness.

Most governments make ongoing growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) a leading priority, under the assumption that wealth secured is well-being delivered. Yet undue emphasis on generating wealth, particularly by encouraging heavy consumption, may be yielding disappointing returns. Overall quality of life is suffering in some of the world’s richest countries as people experience greater stress and time pressures and less satisfying social relationships, and as the natural environment shows more and more signs of distress.

By redefining prosperity to emphasize a higher quality of life—rather than the mere accumulation of goods—individuals, communities, and governments can focus on delivering what people most desire. Indeed, a new understanding of “the good life“ can be built not around wealth, but around well-being: having basic needs met, along with freedom, health, security, and satisfying social roles.

So, it’s what they said “officially”. Based on this,  I still can improve my happiness by earning some more money (until about $13,000 of annual income) and then, who knows, perhaps suddenly I’ll find myself with enough money to take the retirement, and then no stress, no time pressure and, you know me, rite,  if I have enough time, no unsatisfying social relationships neither. What a nice dream!!

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