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‘Money Can’t Buy You Happiness” They Said. But It Actually Can

Does the perfect salary exist? With a turbulent market,pay cuts, record unemployment, and the widening gap between the poor and the rich, money is what brings happiness! How important is money to happiness? The answer is complicated. While a salary is needed for happiness, the ideal ways to spend your money to be happy is more important. A well-known 2010 Princeton study found that people felt happier with more money they make, up to about $75,000 a year per person. After that, happiness leveled off. People’s emotional well-being didn’t improve if they made in excess of $75,000, but their life satisfaction, did.

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A 2018 Purdue study found that the idealistic income point for employed individuals is $95,000 for a “satisfied life” and anywhere between $60,000 and $75,000 to ensure emotional well-being. When people earned more than $105,000, their happiness levels decreased. With happiness, being rich is relative. We compare ourselves to people, on a survival level to see how we stack up to others.  If we feel unable to maintain the same standard of living as our peers, we become unhappy. Getting more money does not make us happier because of “hedonic adaptation” which is a psychological phenomenon. What you need to know, no matter what you make, is given below:

Purpose is more important than money to be happy

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Research consistently shows that to be happier in your job, never chase a high salary as it’s more important that your job provides a sense of purpose. You focus on whether the job meets your signature strength which reflects your own values to be experienced in the world. If being creative or teaching people is rewarding and makes you happier and more productive, the do it. When engaged in a challenging activity that you find satisfying, you experience a state of optimal experience. In a 2018 survey by BetterUp Labs, 90% people would trade 23% of future earnings to have a job with meaning. Why don’t people switch to lower-paying but more meaningful jobs?

It’s easy to get tied down or trapped in jobs you hate because it pays much money. Many hate their jobs and careers, but continue as they need to pay for their life. Experts prefer to redefine the meaning of success as being content versus accumulating money. Many make $12 million a year and yet are unhappy. People can make their job meaningful, infusing personal strengths into your daily routine. If you love helping people, you can lend a hand to others at the office or if currently between jobs or unsure what your strengths are, you can write down what you value in life, and be happy doing this.

The Key to Happiness

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How you spend money is critical to happiness as buying things won’t make us happy as we get used to material purchases but spending money on personal growth, contributing to the community and connecting with people, actually contributes to happiness. Studies suggest that spending on experiences rather than materialistic items makes you happier. A study from 2017 found that people paying for time-conserving services such as ordering food from restaurants, having homes cleaned and employing a person  to run errands for them had more satisfactory lives than buying material items. When money and shopping habits are changing, understanding what ensures happiness is key.

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