This well-cited study shows that people with high incomes aren’t actually that much happier than their less-earning brethren. This is something many people know empirically. Never mind that subjective happiness is a nebulous condition that’s not easy to measure.
The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory … People with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities.
Of course, there’re situations wherein more money can make a real difference in your well-being: nirvana from living paycheck-to-paycheck, freedom from debt, and adequate savings for retirement. Yes, being poor makes people miserable.
But, beyond a reasonably upper-middle-class living (better health care, lavish-enough vacations and celebrations, affording one partner who could stay at home, the ability to buy conveniences, and so on,) additional income doesn’t create enough incremental happiness to justify all the compromises the extra income entails.
Even people who had big wins in the lottery winded up no happier than those who had bought lottery tickets but didn’t win. Sure, these people will be more content with their new toys for a short time, but that delight typically fades away quickly. After that, they’ll seek out yet another indulgence. Soon, that’ll wear off too, at which point they’re already on the hedonic treadmill.
Idea for Impact: Be mindful of what you’re trading away in the pursuit of a higher salary. Wealth and status are false gods.