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Does money buy happiness?

Does money buy happines? According to the biggest study ever to examine the link between money and happiness, higher income clearly makes people rate their lives as better, no matter whether they live in California or Calcutta. The survey of more than 136,000 people in 132 countries found that general satisfaction with one's life was surprisingly strongly correlated with income, but the survey also found that day-to-day feelings were much more strongly influenced by factors other than money, such as a sense of respect and autonomy, having reliable friends and family, and satisfying work.

Do you think money is the most important component in happiness? Tell us below.


By Cameron Smith  |  June 30, 2010; 8:26 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I do think money can buy happiness, because you can pay for expensive therapy to work out all your issues.

And, if that doesn't work, at least you can be miserable in comfort.

Posted by: Californian11 | July 1, 2010 4:37 PM

No, money can't buy happiness. Neither can poverty.

Posted by: jprospero1 | July 2, 2010 6:32 AM

What a strange poll. Liberal media preparing us for the third world country in which we are living in under Obama, no doubt.

Of course, money can buy happiness.

Posted by: joesmithdefend | July 2, 2010 7:31 AM

I agree with JoeSmith...WaPo is worthless...don't know why I even bother to check their articles..they're all the same propaganda for their Dear Leader.

Posted by: William18 | July 2, 2010 7:36 AM

It's all about personal preference. Maybe money buys happiness for wealthy people, since it's the where they've placed most of their time--acquiring and maintaining wealth. (Unless you've inherited, won the lottery, or made a killing in stock options and retired.) Perhaps by default, the rest of us have put our time into other things--family, religion, study, politics, animals, whatever. So for the non-rich, no, money doesn't buy happiness.

Posted by: woof3 | July 2, 2010 7:51 AM

Well, first, we need to define, as clearly as we can, what we mean by "happiness". But, happiness has different meanings to different people, so I doubt that there's really a consensus on what it is precisely. However, physical or material fulfillment and security enabled by money cannot be considered happiness in a true sense, as happiness is a rather elusive and ethreal term. OK, enough of this psycho babble, then. So, can money buy happiness? No! But, not having enough of it to afford the basics will surely make anyone living in a modern society unhappy or, at least, less happy. And, boy, do we many people feeling unhappy these days...

Posted by: TalkingHead1 | July 2, 2010 7:58 AM

I have to qualify my "yes" vote. Although I'd don't believe money is the MOST important thing in life, it certainly makes it easier to BE happy. I grew up poor and happy, but my parents were always worried and stressed about which bills to pay, something I didn't realize for much of my life. My siblings and I just didn't know we were poor! I am fortunate that as an adult I never even have to think about money, let alone worry about it. It has made me very happy to be able to use that good fortune to do good things for others.

Posted by: kbockl | July 2, 2010 9:02 AM

Money can buy me a month on a beach with white sand and clear blue water and that would indeed make me happy. But I don't think that's the whole story of happiness. If you are constantly struggling to put food on the table, then you don't have time or resources to be with your family and friends or get extra sleep or take on creative projects or care for your health or just take time to get away to the mountains or the beach. This affects your mental well-being when you are in a constant state of stress. I do believe poor people can definitely be happy, but it requires digging a lot deeper on the inside.

Posted by: forgetthis | July 2, 2010 9:45 AM

"the most important component"? Heck no. I'll tell you what, though. The only shoes available in my size (the top 0.5% of the bell curve in length and the narrowest possible width) cost upwards of $250. Without shoes that fit, I can be pretty unhappy.

So in my experience, there's a correlation.

Posted by: random-adam | July 2, 2010 9:53 AM

I don't know about happiness, but it certainly does help with purchasing food and having access to indoor plumbing and running water. Health insurance and dental care are two things I prefer not to do without as well.

Above and beyond that--it's up to you to figure out what you need to do in order to be happy.

Posted by: Skowronek | July 2, 2010 12:41 PM

Plenty of people who have money are not happy. The really more difficult question is: Can you be happy without money? Unless you're the sort of person (and I've known a few) who genuinely enjoys living on the edge (of destitution), then it is hard to be genuinely happy while living with the stressors of poverty - will I lose my home, what food can I afford to buy, what will happen to me if I get sick?

Posted by: tedplaw | July 2, 2010 1:27 PM

Apparently Danes are the happiest people on earth (or so they say). But also, most Danes are white. What if you are not white? You are unlilkely to become white by moving to Denmark so that strategy might not work. Maybe New Zealand? Just a thought.

Note also that the ten happiest countries are all small. Canada is one of them, and it is big (in area) but small (in population).

As for money, the main topic, after you have enough, more money does not help. More leisure and better personal relationships are more important.

Posted by: rohit57 | July 2, 2010 1:38 PM

Give me a lot and I'll let you know.

Posted by: DeeNY | July 2, 2010 3:15 PM

Can money buy happiness? Yes.

Does money buy happiness? No.

Posted by: cmecyclist | July 2, 2010 4:07 PM

Health (mental and physical) is the most important component of happiness, but money helps a lot with both.

Posted by: Dutton1 | July 2, 2010 4:42 PM

"Does money buy happiness?"

No, but it sure can rent it.

Posted by: kuvasz | July 2, 2010 6:24 PM

Worrying about money destroys happiness.

Posted by: scott3 | July 3, 2010 8:40 AM

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