Can a fat paycheck make you happy?

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A recent study by the American Psychological Association (APA) shows the link between rising income and happiness. The study implies that people who earn more tend to have an improved perspective of their life and a positive outlook for the future.

But the caveat reveals that the correlation depends on the earner being optimistic and not having unrealistic desires. The researchers cite that abundant cash flow could force people to ask for more, leading to disappointment and dissatisfaction.

Parsing on the caveat, the study emphasizes that happiness doesn’t depend on money alone. As what the Easterlin Paradox reveals, the main route to greater happiness is improving one’s subjective wellbeing. This can be done by resolving personal concerns, e.g. family life, health, and career aspirations.

The Easterlin Paradox would view that the happiness that springs from a rising income could only be transitory – the short-term impact of economic recovery. Perhaps, the happiness that springs from within overrides the happiness that comes from sheer material escalation.

Though an over-used cliché, it’s a fact that money alone cannot bring happiness. Fortunately, there are some ways with which money can be used to nourish one’s emotional being. One of which is to invest on experiences. Celebrate life moments with family and friends in a park, coffee shop, or in a beach. The place doesn’t have to be luxurious; it just needs to be relaxing and conducive enough for reconnecting with people, building relationships, and having fun. Regardless of the food or venue, what matter most are the priceless memories people share with others and the social value they get from the experiences.

Gary Wandschneider is a leadership guru and author of A View from the Front Row. Visit this Facebook page to learn more about leadership development and career growth.


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