By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. He is the author of “Don’t Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life.” Excerpts:
"And money is not a reliable path to happiness. Matthew Killingsworth of the University of Pennsylvania has studied data from more than 30,000 adults, far larger than previous studies of money and happiness. He debunked a popular myth that there is no effect of money on happiness beyond $75,000 per year, but he did confirm a law of diminishing returns to money. In the end, Dr. Killingsworth found, the effects of money level off: You need to keep doubling your income to get the same happiness boost.
A study of thousands of millionaires led by researchers at Harvard Business School did find a gain in happiness that kicks in when people’s net worth rises above $8 million. But the effect was small: A net worth of $8 million offers a boost of happiness that is roughly half as large as the happiness boost from being married.
What, in addition to being married, tends to make people happy?
The most important happiness study, in my opinion, is the Mappiness project, founded by the British economists Susana Mourato and George MacKerron. The researchers pinged tens of thousands of people on their smartphones and asked them simple questions: Who are they with? What are they doing? How happy are they?"
"Many of us work far too hard at jobs with people we don’t like — not a likely path to happiness. Dr. MacKerron and the economist Alex Bryson found that work is the second-most-miserable activity; of 40 activities, only being sick in bed makes people less happy than working. The economist Steven Levitt found that when people are uncertain whether to quit a job, they can be nudged to quit. And when they quit, they report increased happiness months later.
"Many of us move to big cities and spend little time in nature — also not a path to happiness. A study by the economists Ed Glaeser and Josh Gottlieb ranked the happiness of every American metropolitan area. They found that New York City was just about the least happy. Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco also scored low. The happiest places include Flagstaff, Ariz.; Naples, Fla., and pretty much all of Hawaii. And when people move out of unhappy cities to happy places, they report increased happiness."
"of 27 leisure activities, social media ranks dead last in how much happiness it brings. A randomized controlled trial on the effects of social media found that when people were paid to stop using Facebook, they spent more time socializing and reported higher subjective well-being."
Related posts:Psychologists uncover new details about how money influences the frequency and intensity of happiness.
What Brings More Happiness, More Time Or More Money? (this study found that people that chose more free time over more money tended to be happier)
Does Wealth Make Us Happier? (maybe wealth buys freedom that makes us happier)
Another interesting article is The pursuit of happiness: Author seeks to take its measure and find where people are most content. It quotes former University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He said "Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved."
Does Or Can Money Buy Happiness?
Interesting Book: Stumbling on Happiness
Does Money Make You Mean?
Money buys happiness after all
The happiness wars
Dagwood Bumpstead Explains The Hedonic Treadmill