Does more money equate to more live satisfaction? Or are there other factors that impact our perception of a happy life?
A survey of 136,000 people conducted by Gallup in 132 nations demonstrated that people generally evaluate their lives with the amount of income they make. However, it also showed that most of us do not associate our day-to-day feelings with how much we earn.
Researchers came up with various methods to test people’s perception of life satisfaction. The study proved that while income had quite an impact how over satisfied we were with our lives, our daily positive thoughts were impacted by the memories and feelings.
Another study conducted by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton of Princeton University showed that while our perception of a satisfactory life improved with income, it flattened out at around the $75,000 mark. In other words, an income of $75,000 was the threshold after with any more increase in income had little impact on people’s emotional well-being.
It does not mean that people were no longer happy to receive more income after $75,000, but that after a certain level of stable income, there are other factors in life that have a bigger impact on our evaluation of life. Examples of this could be spending more time with loved ones, being physically fit and so on.
So what is the link-up between money and people’s perception of a satisfied life? Does more money make people feel happier? Based on the results of these surveys, it has to be said that more money does increase the likelihood of people feeling satisfied with their lives.
Some experts suggest that more income is merely a substitute to something else. Career advancement, job satisfaction or opportunities to travel which you may not have had otherwise all add to this perception.
Obviously, if people are unable to meet their basic needs – food, shelter and clothing – life satisfaction will be low. However, it is interesting to note that people from wealthier nations co related higher income with how they evaluated their lives, as opposed to people from economically backward nations. This data suggests that whether we link income and life satisfaction depends on our ability or inability to accomplish material needs.
A possible reason for this may be the fact that people in economically developed nations have become more competitive, and earning more than the perceived competition (neighbors, friends, relatives and so on) brought about satisfaction.