My friend, Steve Moeller, did research on science happiness. He gathered information to write a book about what really makes people happy. He gave me permission to share some excerpts with you from an article he wrote for the Investment Advisor magazine. I found his thoughts very interesting and hope you will be too.
The assumption that more money will make us happier is etched in our consciousness. Happiness is something we all want; it is the holy vegetation of western civilization. Biologists have recently shown that all high species from lizards up to humans are biologically programmed to pursue pleasure and positive emotions. It is a basic subconscious drive that all creatures have. All we do, we do because we consciously or unconsciously believe that it will make us happy.
That more money will lead directly to more happiness is the basic principle that most people never stop asking it. When researchers at the University of Michigan asked researchers what would improve the quality of their lives, the majority of respondents said "more money".
The premise that more money will boost happiness, is etched in our consciousness, guided by our culture, presented with billions of dollars of advertising each year and established in our public policy. And it is still the primary promise of benefits that many investment advisers emphasize. But is it true?
"Happiness" scientists have done more than 150 polls worldwide with more than 1 million participants. Let us look at what they have learned.
Since the end of World War II, the purchasing power of US households has tripled. New homes are now twice as large as they were after the war, we have twice more cars per person, and we eat more often. The average of America now lives much better than most kings and queens throughout history.
We're so happier? No!
This magnificent increase in wealth has had almost no positive impact on the happiness of society. Indeed, from 1957 to 1996, the proportion of people who said from the University of Chicago's Chicago laboratory that they are very happy decreased slightly (from 35% to 30%.) In the same period; divorce doubled, prison population quintupled and major depression increased tenfold, turning it into the fourth most common weakening disease. America is not alone; Europe and Japan have experienced the same fundamental development.
One of the happy scientists & # 39; More interesting results came from a survey of 400 richest Americans Forbeins. These hundreds of millionaires and billionaires were asked to rate their satisfaction from "very dissatisfied" (1) to "very pleased" (7). Surprisingly, respondents & # 39; The average criterion was 5.7, just above average.
But here is a very interesting part. Masai tribe from Kenya in East Africa also participated in the survey of living satisfaction. Although they live in a cabin that is made of dirt and cowards, herds of cattle to live, do not have electricity or running water, and have no money, they also rate 5.7 in quality of life.
Some studies now show that money is more important than other values-like relationships with loved ones, spiritual, feeling that your life is contributing better – is really harmful to happiness. Obviously there is happiness but rich, luxurious and material comfort.
So, how much is the right amount of money to maximize our happiness? Here is the bottom line of scientific research for happiness – when we have enough to pay for the basics of life like food, clothing and housing, more money has very little impact on our happiness.
More money buy more happiness and well-being if you are poor and increase fairly fast until you get a solid middle income. But research shows once that household income has reached the middle class, increasing revenue has a declining positive impact on happiness and well-being.
The point above is certain income, which is not at all "wealthy", additional income alone has almost no impact on our happiness. And depending on the price you pay to earn it, more income could even reduce your quality of life.
Indeed, a large and growing number of study support support congratulations scientist Ed Diener commented that, "Materialism is poisonous for happiness." But most Americans do not seem to believe this.
Why, if we tell scientists that more money does not make us happier, are we looking so much? We could teach it to advertisers and the media, two giants interested in getting us more and more content each year. But there is another, minor villain; subconsciousness of our brain.
Psychologists have developed the term "hedonic treadmill" to describe human adaptation to more wealth and content. So if you get a new car, you'll be happier for a while, but then you'll adjust and think it's normal. In order to maintain the same level of consumer satisfaction, you must constantly buy new items. This is all about the term "retail treatment". Adaptation is great for the economy, but bad for you and your financial security.
As an investment adviser, I often work with people who believe that more money will buy them more happiness. As shown by this article, in fact, I should help customers determine what will really make them happy and determine how much their revenue needs. It may be much less than they initially thought.