HR Strange But True!
September 09, 2010
Money can be a source of stress in everyday life, but what about happiness? A new study published by Princeton University looks at how income influences happiness and suggests that beyond a certain number, income may affect other areas of your life, but not happiness.

The study separated well being into two categories, emotional well being and life evaluation.

  • Emotional well being is “the quality of a person’s everyday experience such as job, fascination, anxiety, sadness, anger, and affection.”
  • Life evaluation is “a person’s thoughts about his or her life.”

The study found that people’s life evaluations rise steadily with income. Furthermore, a percentage increase in income has the same effect on a person’s life evaluation regardless of the income they start with. For example, an employee who makes $30,000 and get a 4 percent raise would experience the same increase in life evaluation as an employee who makes $100,000 and gets a 4 percent raise.

However, emotional well being leveled off at a yearly income of $75,000, according to the findings. Beyond $75,000, “people’s emotional well being is constrained by other factors, such as temperament and life circumstances.”

The message of the study: “High incomes don’t bring you happiness, but they do bring you a life that you think is better.”


Princeton University

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