Getting more money does not make most people happier, a new study concludes.
However, losing money does make people less happy.
Losses matter much more, though, for people with a certain personality type.
Dr Christopher Boyce, who led the research, explained:
“It is often assumed that as our income rises so does our life satisfaction, however, we have discovered this is not the case.
What really matters is when income is lost and this is only important for people who are highly conscientious.”
The research involved over 18,000 people who were followed over a 9-year period.
No matter what people’s personality, increases in income did not increase their satisfaction with life, the scientists found.
People did get less satisfied with life, however, when they lost money.
Dr Boyce said:
“Continually increasing our income is not an important factor for achieving greater happiness and well-being for most people living in economically developed countries.
Instead, we should aim for financial stability to achieve greater happiness, while protecting those individuals who experience negative income shocks.”
The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Boyce et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
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