Being rich is not the way to happiness

Being rich is not the way to happiness

Being rich is not the way to happiness

Aug 1 2007

by Sarah Miloudi, Western Mail

THE message that money doesn”t lead to happiness may finally be getting through, psychologists claim.

Research out today shows that people no longer believe money is the route to happiness – a sign that the get-rich-quick ideal, as personified by Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney character, could finally be out of fashion.

A study released yesterday reveals that two out of five people are happy with their finances, even though they do not consider themselves to be wealthy, and say that being rich is not of great importance.

The findings come despite rising living costs and levels of debt in the UK.

The research, conducted by TNS Finance, also highlighted a gender divide between the level of wealth men and women aspire to. It was found that five times more men than women think they will be worth ê_Ô£5m by the time they reach old age.

Dr Paul Saunder, a lecturer in psychology at Uwic, said many people had now passed the stage of becoming obsessed by money.

“Having money is only one factor when it comes to happiness,” he said.

“Having friends, and a job that you do which you think is satisfying and fulfilling are two of the key factors however, and the message that other things can bring happiness may at last be getting through.”

Tayzaa Foxworthy, a 21-year-old shop assistant from Swansea, agreed with the findings, and said she would happily include herself in the group of people who do not need money to enjoy life.

Ms Foxworthy, a mother-of-one, said, “Things like my son Jaydon-Kai and having lots of family and friends around me make me happy, I don”t need money to do that.

“People with money are often arrogant and cocky, and although money would sometimes be nice especially as I have a son, we don”t suffer in any way from not being rich. I am happy the way I am, and I have enough in life to keep myself that way.”

The survey found that only 13% of people said getting rich was an important goal to achieve in life.

Psychologists say the reason behind the findings and many people being happy despite not being rich could include a growing number of people opting for “quality rather than quantity” when it comes to the possessions they choose to surround themselves with.

Other reasons include the value of having a high disposable income being lowered, and becoming less important to the everyday person as more people realise that a higher income often means having less free time.

Dr Mark Millard, a chartered psychologist who specialises in well-being, said, “A lot is made out of money these days, and on one hand, some might say it can make you happy if you know where to spend it.

‘sometimes when it comes to possessions the more we have the more we want, but the findings could be a sign that the pressure to step off the hedonistic treadmill is easing.

“More people could be thinking of the cost that comes with their wealth, such as working twelve or fifteen hour days and having no time to spend it.”

The survey also pinpointed a number of ways people expected to become rich. Working hard in their profession the most common route, followed by investing in property and winning the lottery.

Only 25% of people surveyed expected to inherit enough money to make themselves rich, and 18% said they expected to become rich if they started their own business.