Buying happiness by giving money away

Buying happiness by giving money away

Giving money away can buy happiness, research finds

Randy Shore

Vancouver Sun

Money can buy happiness, according to a study by University of B.C. psychologist Elizabeth Dunn. Even spending $5 in the right way can make you happier.

But people usually get it wrong when they try.

Dunn had always been nagged by the notion that money can’t buy happiness. Reliable research across the developed world finds that once a person’s basic needs are being met, surging incomes are only marginally related to happiness. A wealthy nation is not necessarily a happy nation.

People usually predict that spending on themselves will make them happy, but it doesn’t.

“I wondered if maybe we just weren’t doing it right,” Dunn said.

Dunn and her colleagues — UBC grad student Lara Aknin and Harvard researcher Michael Norton — designed and conducted a survey on money, happiness and giving.

They found greater happiness among people who give money to charity and buy gifts for friends, regardless of income.

But does giving, what researchers call pro-social behaviour, actually cause happiness?

To find out the answer to this question – click here