It turns out mo’ money may actually mean mo’ smiles.
While traditional wisdom tells us that money can’t buy happiness, a new study suggests that the opposite may in fact be true. The research also indicates that previous studies, which indicated some sort of limit to the amount of money that impacts happiness, may have been wrong.
Matthew Killingsworth, a senior fellow at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, recently released his findings on the relationship between money and well-being, Penn Today reports. His research reportedly differed from previous studies on this subject, which ranked participants’ happiness based on their overall satisfaction with life.
Previous research also suggested that the relationship between money and happiness seemed to plateau for people making $75,000 per year or more.
Killingsworth asked his participants to rank their happiness using an app that would randomly check-in with them, from time to time. The app would ask questions ranging from "How do you feel right now?" and "Overall, how satisfied are you with your life?" This allowed Killingsworth to rank users’ happiness both in how they felt overall, and how they felt in the moment.
"Scientists often talk about trying to get a representative sample of the population," he told Penn Today. "I was trying to get a representative sample of the moments of people’s lives."
More than 33,000 people participated in the study — and in the end, Killingsworth says the data showed that "all forms of well-being continued to rise with income."
"When you have more money, you have more choices about how to live your life. You can likely see this in the pandemic. People living paycheck to paycheck who lose their job might need to take the first available job to stay afloat, even if it’s one they dislike. People with a financial cushion can wait for one that’s a better fit," he explained.
"Across decisions big and small, having more money gives a person more choices and a greater sense of autonomy."