Money Really Can Buy Happiness

We all know the stories. A person wins the lottery, comes into more money than they know what to do with and their life changes forever…in the worst ways.

Friendships and family ties are affected, too much money is spent, they fall into debt and ultimately reach a deeper level of unhappiness. Why?

Now, you may think I’m being a little overdramatic. If I were, though, would there be 421,000 search results on Google about the lucky being not so lucky?

There are still those that lead lavish, seemingly happy lives post-Powerball, but science has found that more often than not, lottery winners return to “pre-winning levels of happiness”, according to a heavily cited study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Why claim that Money Really Can Buy Happiness then if winning millions of dollars apparently doesn’t make people that happy?

Don’t jump to conclusions, Buddy. Gimme a sec.

Michael Norton is a social science researcher who once presented at TEDxCambridge proving that – if spent in the right places – you can actually buy happiness.

Real talk.

One morning, Norton and his team implemented a social experiment around the campus of the University of British Columbia, giving willing participants envelopes of various amounts of money, telling some to spend it on themselves by 5:00pm that day, or to spend it on someone else. They called them that evening to hear what happened.

What did we find when we called them back at the end of the day? People who spent money on other people got happier. People who spent money on themselves, nothing happened. It didn’t make them less happy, it just didn’t do much for them. And the other thing we saw is the amount of money doesn’t matter that much. So people thought that 20 dollars would be way better than five dollars. In fact, it doesn’t matter how much money you spent. What really matters is that you spent it on somebody else rather than on yourself.”

And if you watched his compelling points above, you also know that he conducted the same social experiment in Uganda, where the GDP per capita – compared to countries worldwide – ranks at 209 out of 230. Can you guess what they found?

This is pro-social spending. Spending made on the behalf of others. It doesn’t matter if your lucky number just landed you the Mega Millions; if spent anti-socially (on yourself), you’ll find yourself no happier than before and maybe even worse for the wear.

If you’re picking up what I’m putting down, you may already know where I’m going next. Yep, volunteering just so happens to make you a happier person too. Combats depression. Maintains your physical health. And that’s without spending a dime.

POINT app is coming to make the reality of your everyday a happier one.

To real wealth,
Photo Adrienne Bingham
Adrienne Bingham
Blog Coordinator

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.