Putting a price on happiness

As the saying goes, “Money can’t buy you happiness.” However, recent studies show this may not be entirely accurate.

Economists, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, recently examined surveys—including the Gallup World Poll—from more than 150 countries. Their research shed new light on the interaction between happiness and income. Their initial conclusion stated that the more money someone has, the happier they tend to be.


They also found that a person’s happiness can increase more rapidly once they reach certain income levels. More specifically, Princeton University Economist, Angus Deaton, found that some people experience daily rises in their level of happiness until they reach income levels near $75,000. At this point, a person can comfortably afford the basic necessities of life without worrying about where their next meal or rent payment will come from. However, this type of happiness typically levels off.

Are there any ways to more efficiently buy happiness with money? The University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that people experienced greater happiness by spending more money on others than they did on themselves. It seems that helping others and participating in charitable activities are among the most powerful financial enhancements to personal happiness.

For others, life is enhanced by experiences such as traveling, vacationing and even living closer to work – all requiring money. The bottom line is that while money can help increase happiness—if used in a positive manner—it does not automatically buy happiness.

Now’s the time to ensure your financial future is designed to help you reach maximum happiness. For more tips and tools, visit the Mission Financial Solutions (MFS) website. If you are a Compass Rose Health Plan member, you can access the MFS site through the ‘Financial Planning’ tab in your Member Portal. To login, visit member.compassrosebenefits.com, or sign-up at www.compassrosebenefits.com/Register.

The information on the MFS site is for educational purposes and the opinions and information is provided by the publisher (Horowitz & Company) and is not the opinion of Compass Rose Benefits Group or its affiliates.
Sources: Money Magazine / Time Inc. (photo); Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. “Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.

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