More Money Doesn’t Bring More Happiness
The saying goes that money can’t buy love. Now it seems that money may not be the road to happiness, either.
Researchers from the universities of Stirling and Nottingham in the U.K. looked at levels of life satisfaction and income changes in more than 18,000 adults. They discovered income variation is only important when individuals with specific personality characteristics experience an income loss.
For most people, happiness is more about avoiding a loss than aiming for continual financial gain.
Two separate samples from Germany and the U.K. were studied. Each group was asked each year about their income level and how satisfied they were with life. The questions were asked over a 9-year period. Participants also answered questions on their personality at the start of the study.
Regardless of personality, income increases did not affect life satisfaction.
But when people lost income there was a reduction in their life satisfaction. This was far greater for those who reported themselves as being conscientious – that is, they were thorough in their attitudes to life and work, energetic, and effective and efficient in how they did things.
The study found that for people who were even moderately conscientious, a loss of income had a negative impact. And further, this impact was at least 2.5 times greater than less conscientious individuals.
The study team believes these findings may be used to impart financial advice for workers and investors.