Money Can Make You Less Sad, But Not More Happy

A large body of research exploring the link between money and happiness has come to one general conclusion: After a certain point of basic comfort, richer does not equal happier.

But while money won't make you happy, it could make you less sad, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia. The research found that a high income is associated not with greater happiness, but it is associated with less sadness.

The UBC researchers examined data on over 12,000 people from a 2010 census survey, cross-referencing data on their income and their level of happiness. They found that those with a higher income did not experience increases in daily happiness, but they did experience less sadness each day.

“Money may be a more effective tool for reducing sadness than enhancing happiness,” the study's authors concluded.

The researchers point out that happiness and sadness, while distinct emotional states, are not diametric opposites -- being less sad is not the same as being more happy.

One reason that wealth alleviates sadness (without increasing happiness) may be that money simply makes it easier to deal with certain negative situations in life. Having a extra money on hand to deal with problems or inconveniences -- like a leak in the house or a tuition hike at your daughter's school -- can provide comfort and help stave off annoyances.

The findings were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.



Happiness: A Natural Phenomenon