Does money make us happy? The discussion has been going on for as long as I can remember.
Some studies say no in general.
To add to the confusion, you can still find other studies that report that, in fact, there is no limit to the amount of happiness money can bring you.
The data is confusing, to say the least.
Because no matter what research you choose to believe (or I want believe), one thing can be said for sure:
Money may not make you happy, but as Zig Ziglar once said, “everyone wants to find out for themselves.”
And it is here that our prosperity is most distracted – not how much money we have, but how much we are desire this.
Regardless of how much money contributes to happiness (and the jury’s still out on that one, apparently), we do know one thing:
Prioritizing the pursuit of money is NEVER conducive to overall happiness and life satisfaction.
In fact, those who prioritize money over value-based goals end up with less satisfaction and fulfillment.
This should be a serious personal concern for each of us, given how often we prioritize money over other things – often because we believe it will contribute to our happiness and satisfaction in life.
According to one recent study, 79% of Americans believe they would be happier if they had more money.
As a result, as you can imagine, 69% of Americans also say their desire for money influences their daily decisions.
If our initial belief is that more money will increase our happiness, it is only logical that we will strategize our days and actions to acquire more of it.
But in a recent study of 100,000 people published in the Harvard Business ReviewAshley Whillans notes that people who prioritize time over money have a better quality of life.
And this higher quality of life shows up in almost every way: “fuller social relationships, more fulfilling careers, more joy, and higher levels of overall satisfaction.”
There are certainly many in the world who need more money to legitimately survive. But chances are, if you’re honest, you’re already making enough to cover your needs – probably even more than enough.
Certainly 79% of us do not need more money to survive. We prioritize it because we think it will help us happier.
But if it takes priority over other more life-giving pursuits, it not only does not contribute to our happiness, it also distracts us from it.
And that’s why the belief that more money will make us happier is so dangerous—it can be the very pursuit that prevents us from achieving happiness.