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It Turns Out Money Can Buy Happiness: UK Study

Well, it looks like the old saying “money can’t buy you love or happiness” is only half true, as a new study from the United Kingdom suggests that money is indeed an important ingredient in happiness.

A new study published on September 4th as part of the Wealth in Great Britain series suggests individual feelings of personal well-being are strongly correlated to the level of wealth of the household where the individual lives. Moreover, satisfaction with life, sense of personal self-worth and happiness are higher, and anxiety lower, as household wealth moves up.

Money Can Buy Happiness

The new study uses data collected in the July 2011 to June 2012 UK Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS).

A U.S. study by a Princeton academic showed that while more money didn’t lead to “happiness”, as salaries increased up to $75,000 annually, an individual’s “life assessment” became more positive. However, salaries higher than $75,000 did not continue to add to a yet more positive “life assessment”.

Details on UK money leads to happiness study

Money Can Buy Happiness

The goal of the study was to consider how wealth and income are related to various measures of personal well-being. However, the authors point out that a range of other factors could also influencing any associations they found. Therefore, when determining how wealth or income is associated with well-being, various factors such as age, sex and ethnicity were controlled in the analysis. This permits a better understanding of which factors matter most to an individual’s personal well-being, as the relationship between wealth or income and personal well-being can be examined by itself as other factors are held equal.

Results of the money and happiness study

Money Can Buy Happiness

Four key results emerged from the Wealth in Great Britain study of money and happiness:

First, the individual level of personal well-being is directly related to the wealth of the household where they live. Furthermore, the more household wealth increases, satisfaction with life, the sense of worth and happiness are higher and anxiety is less.

Second, levels of household income are not as strongly related, with significant relationships only noted with life satisfaction and sense of worth.

Money Can Buy Happiness

Third, the net financial wealth of the household is the type of wealth most strongly associated with personal well-being. Specifically, life satisfaction is generally higher in households with larger net financial wealth.

Fourth, interestingly, neither property wealth and private pension wealth were determined to be significantly related to personal well-being.