Happiness and Money—what’s the link?

We’ve all heard the proverb “Money can’t buy happiness”…but haven’t  you also caught yourself thinking that getting a raise or bonus or winning the lottery would make life so much better? Personally and professionally, I’m fascinated by the relationship between money and happiness. I just finished reading Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. Normally books head back to the library as soon as I read the last page, but this one has given me so much to ponder:

·        Income gains beyond $75,000/year don’t increase happiness, but

·        How we spend our money can make us happier

It turns out that most of us don’t really know what makes us happy, so happier spending is a two part process. First, pay attention to how you feel when you buy that latte or take a friend to lunch. Then, using what you’ve learned, take a moment to pause and be deliberate before spending.

Dunn and Norton outline five principles that anyone can apply to wring more happiness from money. Not surprisingly, choosing to spend money on experiences, other people, and to free up time give us more pleasure than buying more stuff. But there’s much more packed in this small volume—I highly recommend it!

For a quick overview of Dunn and Norton’s work, check out this video:

Elizabeth Dunn: Happiness and Money

Happy Spending!