Money Can Make You Less Sad, But Not More Happy

Like my dad always said, “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy property that’s happiness-adjacent.”

A new study in Social, Psychological & Personality Science has found that money has the power to reduce a person’s sadness, but it won’t make someone happier. Sounds confusing, right? Well, according to the study’s authors, “Happiness and sadness are distinct emotional states, rather than diametric opposites.”

Researchers surveyed over 12,000 Americans about things like income, cash on hand, and daily emotional state. They found that more money is liked with less regular sadness in life, but not more happiness. Why? Well, someone with money on hand can more easily take care of life’s little problems, like a broken transmission or leaking roof. Someone without money needs to make potentially painful choices to fix those problems, but someone with money can pay to make the problem go away. Fixing that transmission or roof will certainly reduce your sadness, but it won’t make you any happier with life than you were before the problem arose.

So, if not money, what can make you happy? Try self-control. Alternatively, you can try having a meaningful life instead of a happy one.



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