Does money make you happy? That's what psychology says

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It's not the money at all
That's the real reason the super rich are happier than you

© Arminateam / Shutterstock

You can argue loooong about the question of whether money makes you happy – or save yourself. Because psychological findings suggest that the account balance only plays a limited role in terms of our satisfaction.

Money can't buy love – we know from the Beatles – but luck? That is a more contentious topic. Just the idea of ​​being able to afford everything you want, to live in a condominium in a prime location in Hamburg, Vienna or another hip city, to flee the cold in winter business class to a holiday villa in New Zealand … at Who doesn't think of such a fantasy to start playing the lottery?

In fact, psychological research suggests that great financial wealth is not necessarily the key to real happiness, and ultimately it is not the excessive bank balance that makes millionaires – if they are – more satisfied than the average earner. Admittedly, if you live at the subsistence level, you have to constantly fear that something will break because you cannot pay for the repair or cannot even afford groceries, money plays a role in life satisfaction. That person would be made happier with a higher income. However, if you have enough to finance your own living and still have a buffer for emergencies and other things, you have to, according to the psychologist Dr. Mark Travers in "Psychologytoday", probably not asking, "How do I get more money to be happier?" But rather "How can I be happier?"

The super-rich live like us …

Because surprise: As it turns out, according to analyzes, the super-rich (who work for their own money) shape their lives in principle similar to us "normal people". They spend roughly the same amount of time on their cell phones, with their families, sleeping, working and relaxing. Yes, they might fly business class and yes, they can buy any chain, sneaker, or car they want. But such short-term, material happiness boosters hardly play a role for the basic feeling of satisfaction.

On the contrary: Their constant availability can under certain circumstances reduce the subjective value of many things that should actually bring joy and create a feeling of lack. In other words: if you can have everything, at some point nothing is special for you. And then life loses its magic.

… however, do these two things differently

But back to the super-rich and their everyday life: even if this may be astonishingly similar to ours, observations show that there are two important differences and, according to Travers, they are decisive for the fact that millionaires are more likely than normal people to be happier -Consumers, namely:

  • The super-rich tend to spend more time with active leisure activities (voluntary activities, sports …) than with passive ones (television, napping …)
  • The super-rich usually work in jobs with a high degree of autonomy and are more or less their own boss

That's it According to the psychologist, these are the decisive drivers of luck that many super-rich have over us. And in principle, this is good news for us who are not super-rich (and in most cases not even rich), because we can turn these two screws much easier independently and on our own than with our account balance. Sure: we can't just declare ourselves to be our own boss overnight. After all, most people work for some kind of employer, manager, client or other. But within our work we probably have all the tasks for which we are responsible and for which we have a certain degree of design or implementation leeway. Recognizing this can be a first step towards developing a sense of autonomy in the job and making us happier. That in turn may boost our self-confidence and encourage us to pursue our own projects. And once we do that, it's only a small step before we fly Business Class ourselves – and maybe find out that it's really not the high bank balance that makes us happy …

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