Our society values money. Whole sections in newspapers are devoted to it, and our politicians spend much of their time and promises addressing it. Because of this, many of us believe that money will bring happiness. But the research indicates that it isn’t so clear cut.
For example, many researchers conducting studies on wellbeing around the world conclude that additional income only significantly increases our satisfaction with our lives when it is needed to meet our basic needs. In other words, what we really need is enough money to feed ourselves and pay our rent or mortgage and medical bills. Beyond that, having enough to buy a boat, or a fancy car, or designer handbags doesn’t really contribute to our long-term wellbeing.
This is somewhat controversial—an opposing camp of researchers associated with the Gallup Organization argues that their data shows instead that the more money we have, the happier we are.
The discrepancy between these two camps may be partly explained by differences in the ways people spend money. It could be that those who buy themselves time for fun activities and friends and family increase their wellbeing when they come into more money, while those who buy more and bigger things don't increase their wellbeing. it is interesting to note that researchers in fields as different as economics and psychology have found that people who prize material goals more than other values tend to be less happy.
All in all, the relationship of money and wellbeing may be quite different from what we think. It is important to explore your own relationship to money and see what it is buying you.