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The link between happiness and being Rich.

Would you be happier if you were richer? Many people believe that they would be. But research conducted over many years suggests that greater wealth implies greater happiness only at quite low levels of income.

People in the United States, for example, are, on average, richer than New Zealanders, but they are not happier. More dramatically, people in Austria, France, Japan, and Germany appear to be no happier than people in much poorer countries, like Brazil, Colombia, and the Philippines.

Comparisons between countries with different cultures are difficult, but the same effect appears within countries, except at very low-income levels, such as below $12,000 annually for the US. Beyond that point, an increase in income doesnt make a lot of difference to people happiness. Americans are richer than they were in the 1950s, but they are not happier. Americans in the middle-income range today have a level of happiness that is almost identical to well-off Americans.

Most surveys of happiness simply ask people how satisfied they are with their lives. We cannot place great confidence in such studies, because this kind of overall life satisfaction judgment may not reflect how much people really enjoy the way they spend their time. Princeton University Daniel Kahneman and co-researchers tried to measure people subjective well-being by asking them about their mood at frequent intervals during a day.

In an article published in Science, they report that their data confirm that there is little correlation between income and happiness. On the contrary, they found that people with higher incomes spent more time in activities that are associated with negative feelings, such as tension and stress. Instead of having more time for leisure, they spent more time at and commuting to work. They were more often in moods that they described as hostile, angry, anxious, and tense.

Of course, there is nothing new in the idea that money does not buy happiness. Many religions instruct us that attachment to material possessions makes us unhappy. The Beatles reminded us that money cant buy us love. Even Adam Smith, who told us that it is not from the butchers benevolence that we get our dinner, but from his regard for his self-interest, described the imagined pleasures of wealth as a deception. Million Dollar Smiles- II

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