Can money buy happiness? Many people would suggest it can’t but there is scientific evidence that money can definitely buy happiness. Matthew Killingsworth from Wharton School at Penn’s University says that scientists from all disciplines are trying to understand this risk and it is something which should be explained now.
Killingsworth tried to collect data from 33,000 individuals with 1.7 million data points. Their results are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Killingsworth says that his studies confirm that happiness is directly related to money, which is the exact opposite of the previous data on this subject.
This study was completed using a new technique which is known as “experience sampling”. This method requires data collection based on short surveys based on random daily moments and filled by the participants. This information is actually what happens in routine while people work, rest, cook, watch TV or eat.
The previous studies on this question of can money buy happiness was based on the well-being of people. This well-being was categorized with their satisfaction from life. For this study, Killingsworth tried to evaluate how people actually feel during a moment.
The data was collected using a customized app called “Track Your Happiness” and all participants recorded their feelings multiple times a day. The questions which this app asked how do the people feel during that very time, and were given multiple options ranging from very good to very bad. The participants were also about how satisfied they are with their life.
They measured this well-being response using 12 different feelings five of them were positive and seven were negative. These results provided the real picture of people’s lives.
All in all, nearly 33,391 participants, between 18 to 65 years of age, living in the US. These results represent that researchers often neglect one of the most important factors in happiness, which is money.
The average parameter of wellbeing in people’s life was directly related to their income. Killingsworth was trying to compare these results with a previous study from 2010, which showed that wellbeing is related to the money that they earn. When they earn more money, their well-being increases and their well-being hits a plateau once their average income reaches $75,000 annually.
This is a high possibility but the idea that money doesn’t matter after reaching some point. But going through so many wide ranges of income levels, it appears that every type of wellbeing is somehow linked with an increase in income. This current study doesn’t regard any point where it doesn’t matter and shows that this happiness eventually grows with more money.
The idea of income used in this study is taken as ‘log’ and not that every dollar means less when he gets more dollars. If there are two people one of which earns $25,000 and the other earns $50,000, both these will have the same difference of wellbeing. This proportional difference is there but the value of this difference means the same for every person.
This work of Killingsworth also provides insights into how money can buy happiness is often misunderstood.