There was a famous American study conducted in 1978, which suggested the link between money and happiness is not as obvious as you might think.
Chris Budd, an expert on financial wellbeing explains that in the study, they asked a bunch of lottery winners, and a bunch of people who had suffered a very serious accident, life-changing accident: “Were they happy before the incident and were happy after the incident?”
Results found that whoever of either group said they were happy before, were also happy after it. In other words, the event made no difference.
Of course, money can buy us things that give us pleasure — holidays, for example. It also gives us options. But it’s certainly not the biggest contributor to human happiness.
There’s also a Harvard study of 900 or so young people on money and happiness.
The study asked them, what will make you happy in the future? And, they all said two things: money and fame. That’s what they predicted would make them happy. That was 75 years ago.
They’ve been going back to this same group of people every two years, asking them questions around happiness.
Overwhelmingly, the answer that they’ve come up with is, that what makes us happy, is the quality of our social relationships.
Money is important, money does make us happy, but it’s an enabler, isn’t it? It makes us happy by enabling us to do things, it’s a tool. And, if we therefore work-out what will makes us happy, we can therefore direct our money in the right ways.
The way to work out what makes us happy is to use a third party.
We go through life with lots of self limiting believes, with lots of things that we assume to be true, but, we need a third party to challenge us to find out what really might be true.
So, if you haven’t already, try to identify what it is that really makes you happy. You might surprise yourself.