Stop Asking Whether Money Buys Happiness. It may, but only a negligible amount.

Stop Asking Whether Money Buys Happiness. It may, but only a negligible amount.

It’s an age-old question. Does money buy happiness?

And the answer is not a simple one.

Like most questions, if considered carefully, there are many nuances and subtleties that can be lost if one looks for a simple … yes or no.

But if I were forced to give a simple answer, I’d say “yes”, money does buy SOME happiness. But there are other variables that create A LOT more …

via the Atlantic by Michael Mechanic

For more than a half century, researchers at UCLA have conducted a massive annual survey of incoming college students titled “The American Freshman: National Norms.” One part of the survey asks students to rank 20 life goals on a scale from “not important” to “essential.” Most are lofty aspirations such as becoming a community leader, contributing to scientific progress, creating artistic works, and launching a suc­cessful business. Surveyed in 1969, freshmen entering four-year colleges were most interested in “developing a meaningful philosophy of life” (85 percent considered it “essential” or “very important”); “raising a family” (73 percent); and “helping others who are in difficulty” (69 percent). Ten years later, freshmen opted for “being an authority in my field” (74 percent), followed by “helping others” and “raising a family.”

But something shifted amid the Reagan Revolution, which deregulated Wall Street, revamped the tax code, and set the nation hurtling toward levels of wealth and income inequality unseen since before the Great Depression. By 1989, a new priority had taken over the survey’s top position, and has appeared there on and off ever since: money. Indeed, the No. 1 goal of the Class of 2023, deemed “essential” or “very important” by more than four in five students, was “being very well off financially.”

Grown-ups can relate. Recent polling from The Wall Street Journal and the University of Chicago points to a steep decline over the past quarter century in the percentage of American adults who view patriotism, religion, parenting, and community involvement as “very important.” The only priority tested whose perceived importance grew during that period, the pollsters reported, was money.

Consumer culture encourages us to dream about the happiness that a new Land Cruiser or Club Med holiday might bring. Yet the ability of most families to keep up with basic needs—food, housing, health care, and child care—has diminished steadily over the decades. We’ve all been warned that money can’t buy happiness, but the siphoning-off of middle-class security has left us too willing to embrace evidence to the contrary.

Consider a paper on money and happiness published by the psychologists Daniel Kahneman, Matthew Killingsworth, and Barbara Mellers last month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Mainstream news outlets largely treated the conclusions as confirmation that money could buy happiness after all. But buyer beware: A more careful reading suggests otherwise…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE