Money can't buy happiness, but try being hopeful and broke at the same time.
- A new study finds money alone doesn't make people happy, they need some hope for the future too.
- The study adds to the increasing pile of literature on the subject of how hope influences our wellbeing.
- The findings, particularly on when this effect doesn't work, may have implications for future policy decisions.
Can you buy happiness? Maybe, not, but you can rent hope for the future.<p>Five hundred fifteen American participants selected from the Prolific platform were involved in the study. However, many of them failed to answer all relevant questions over the three years of the study.</p><p>Participants were asked each year to fill out a questionnaire covering their income level, their life satisfaction, overall happiness, experiences of positive and negative emotions, and expectations on their future standard of living. They were contacted multiple times over three years to determine if changes in income impacted their levels of hope and life satisfaction. Their answers were then statistically analyzed for relationships. </p><p>To the surprise of nobody, those making more money tended to report higher levels of life satisfaction. Also, as expected, higher levels of income tied to higher levels of hope. Increases in hope were strongly and directly linked to improved levels of satisfaction, and the ability of statistical models to predict how happy a participant was more than doubled by adding in their levels of hope.</p><p>However, the effect didn't exist for those making less than $1800 a month; increases in income below that point didn't increase hopefulness much. It is worth noting that this is around the poverty line for a multi-person household with children at the time of the study. The authors speculate that "This might be explained by the (lack of) capabilities that an income below $1800 can offer," and note that many of their test subjects would fit into the category of multi-person households at that level. </p><p>It seems money can buy happiness, or at least hope, but that it is more expensive than many people can afford. </p><p>The study does have a few caveats. While the study's demographics were similar to that of the United States overall, there were points of significant departure. Notably, the median test taker made less than the median American, was more likely to be unreligious, and rated their overall happiness slightly lower than other tests show Americans tend to do. While these differences may not prove substantial, the mentioned findings held up across all demographics involved in the survey; they may temper claims of how universal the results are.</p><p>The authors themselves admit that casualty cannot be inferred from these findings. It might be the case that a higher income causes people to be hopeful, which, in turn, improves their level of life satisfaction, or it could be that the causation runs the other way- with optimistic people making more money as a result of their already being hopeful.</p><p>In any situation, hope does mediate the relationship between income and life satisfaction. While perhaps intuitive, this finding will advance the literature on the subject and has many practical applications.</p>
I hope this study has some practical takeaways I can use.<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JyzoIYqmzMQ" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>This study provides further evidence that while having at least enough money to get by on is necessary for happiness, it is not having piles of money alone that makes people happy. It appears that it is what people can do, or at least believe they can do, as a result of having more money that actually increases their wellbeing. People looking to improve their outlook on life might do well to remember this.</p><p>The authors also suggest that there are policy implications in these findings. They conclude their study by pointing out:</p><p><em>"Our findings signal that policy aimed at increasing wellbeing through higher wages should take into account that the stability of income matters, and that only over a certain threshold income can offer enough possibilities to invest in a better future and as such create more hopeful and happy lives."</em></p><p>That is, since the hope, income, and satisfaction relation only kicked in above a certain income level, any policy geared towards improving people's lives will have to focus on getting them above that level to see lasting effects. </p><p>The findings of this study suggest that having enough money to stay above water can make people happier and that the more of it they have the better they think the future will be. While this means that money can't buy happiness, it does mean that it is associated with thinking you'll be happy someday. In the end, that might be close enough. <em><br> <br> <br></em></p>
Finances can be a stressor, regardless of tax bracket. Here are tips for making better money decisions.
- Whether you have a lot of money or a lot of debt, it matters how you handle your personal finances. A crucial step when it comes to saving is to reassess your relationship with money and to learn to adopt a broader, more logical point of view.
- In this video, social innovator and activist Vicki Robin, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, and author Bruce Feiler offer advice on achieving financial independence, learning to control your emotions, spending smarter, and teaching children about money.
- It all starts with education and understanding. The more you know about how money works, the better you will be at avoiding mistakes and the easier it will be to take control of your financial circumstances.
Less than 1% of all venture capital funding in the US is given to Black entrepreneurs. Now is the time for that to change.
- Abner Mason, CEO and founder of health care startup ConsejoSano, is calling for all venture capital firms in the United States to pledge to invest 13% of their funds in African American businesses.
- Currently, Black entrepreneurs receive less than 1% of all venture capital funding.
- The 13% target reflects the percentage of Black Americans and is a nod to the 13th Amendment.
From reassessing the way schools are funded to changing the curriculum, there are ways to fix the inequities in education.
- Recognizing when something is overtly racist is easy, but when it comes to education in America there is often subtle and systemic racism at play that can put children at an early disadvantage. Chris Lehman of the Science Leadership Academy says that now is the time to have these important conversations and to design schools to be anti-racist.
- Lehman says that in Philadelphia, the amount of money spent on one child's K-12 education can be $170,000 less than that of another child who lives in the suburb just a block away. These racist systems and structures are in place in cities across the country but are often not addressed.
- Family income directly translates to the amount spent by the public to educate children. "That's one of the most anti-American things I can imagine," Lehman says about the racial and socioeconomic inequity. While funding is a major component, changes must also be made at the curriculum level.
Living simply now strikes many people as simply boring.