There has been a lot of talk recently about the relationship between income and happiness. Research from Princeton economists suggests that happiness saturates after about $75k in household income. My take on this — this is the point when you no longer have to worry about covering your basic needs like food, shelter, health insurance, student loans, etc. You’ve got discretionary income and are able to chase after your dreams (provided you’re prudent with your money). To build off of this, I thought it would be interesting to sift through happiness research studies online and sum up some of the other happiness drivers… and it turns out the best things in life don’t cost a thing.
Go on a trail run.
Spend time with your friends. Seek out happy friends. Happiness spreads in social networks. Better yet marry a happy soul. Make love. Share positive experiences with others. Get to know your neighbors on a first name basis. Give to others.
Pray and meditate.
Buddhist monks are some of the happiest folks in the world. And those that go to church routinely report being happier than those that don’t. Reduce your stress. Create deeper meaning in your life.
Older people are happier.
If you must spend money, buy experiences.
A researcher at Cornell discovered that “experiences” that we buy such as travel, vacations, or even exercise equipment lead to long lasting happiness, whereas new electronics or cars doesn’t lead to sustained happiness.
Thanks to Alpha Consumer for including this post in the Oktoberfest Edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance!