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‘Money Can’t Buy Happiness’ Research Says Otherwise

November 16, 2020
Money can't buy happiness? True or False?

If you randomly ask anyone on the street, the tune mostly sang would be ‘Money can’t buy happiness.’ 

However, multiple research says otherwise.

Though we often questioned whether the statement—whether it’s true or not.

According to the research by Purdue University, 

  • individuals with a salary of $95,000 will feel satisfied in life
  • Individuals with a salary between $60,000 to $75,000 will have satisfaction in emotional well-being.

So indeed, generally, money can buy happiness.

But, it doesn’t go far.

We know that everyone measures happiness differently. 

However, we know that everybody spent a large chunk of their life working. Hence, being happy at work means a lot and it contributes to your overall happiness.

What money can/can’t buy

Money is seen by many as the tool to buy success. And that success is equal to happiness. 

However, a study conducted with 7,500 German adults, by the Binghamton University, indicated that people who viewed wealth and material possessions as a sign of happiness will not be satisfied with their current life.

Money indeed can buy you wealth and possessions, but we cannot equate money to happiness.

It is true that the things we buy make us happy.

But we cannot rely on money to just make us happy through possessions of objects.

In the various studies mentioned, it is obvious that more money doesn’t necessarily make you happier.

It is, in fact, what you do with the money that can make you happier.

Why is Happiness So Important to Humans

Happiness is a scientific term means the existence of the happy hormones, biochemicals known as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, in your bloodstreams that fires up the electrical buzzes into our complex brain biology.

In other words, it is the feeling that made us feel joy, that we see life as good (or almost perfect) or that you can’t erase that smile from our face. The also sometimes made us feel lucky or successful.

It is a very important feeling to motivate you to achieve your life goals. With a sense of happiness, you are more likely to help others too.

The Importance of Job Happiness 

Happiness is important to your career. Reasons are aplenty.

For example, you will

  • be less likely to burn out
  • less likely to be absent from work
  • get sick less often
  • perform better than what is expected of you
  • be more productive
  • learn more, learn better
  • have improved health without unnecessary stress
  • enjoy a better and healthier relationship with yourself and others

Research has shown that

  • Happy employees are 31% more productive 
  • Happy employees perform 20% better than unhappy counterparts


So then how do you achieve true happiness that doesn’t rely on pure money but using it as a tool for achieving lasting happiness?

Happiness is Knowing Thyself

Happiness = Self-Satisfied = Knowing Yourself

We believe that happiness is achieved ultimately through the deep understanding of who you are, what you’re willing to do, what’s your passion, and what you will enjoy doing.

However, what does it mean by self-satisfaction? When you are satisfied, you will feel deep contentment where all your goals achieved and desire obtained.

How do you know yourself?

There are many ways to discover more about yourself. You will learn about who you are, what you like, where your passion lies, and more.

Here are some tactics you can use.

1. Characterisation Exercise

Bring out a piece of paper and pen. Start answering the following questions.

  • How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
  • What is your purpose in your life’s story?
  • What is the most important thing that has ever happened to you? How did it change you?
  • How are you different than the people around you?

2. SWOT Yourself

Draw 4 quadrants and start listing your 

  • Strengths, 
  • Weaknesses, 
  • Opportunities (your goals and objectives), and 
  • Threats (obstacles you are facing).

For more info on using these quadrants, you may check out the four quadrants steps here.

3. Assessments

Assessment is a method that has gain popularity since many years ago. There are many established tests available in the market today. From free to paid versions, they can help you gain a better understanding of yourself.

Hatch Asia is certified to provide the CliftonStrengths talent assessment. We also provide coaching to help candidates better understand themselves for their career advancement.

The 34 CliftonStrengths comprises 34 strengths that are segregated to four domains—strategic thinking, relationship building, influencing, and executing.

The Need for Self-Actualization is High

According to a study by Louis Tay and Ed Diener, conducted in 2011, they discovered the link between meeting the basic human needs purported by Maslow and well-being.

They looked at data from 60,000 participants from 120 different countries, they found that when one’s basic needs are met, they feel positive emotions towards their lives. And the results also link to meeting the needs of feeling loved and respected too.

To achieve self-actualization, one has to discover what will allow them to achieve the best they possibly can. And it is usually all about their passion.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness? Can it?

‘Money can’t buy happiness’ lies on the individual.

If you see money as equals to happiness then you will not be happy. Since getting less money will reduce your happiness easily.

On the other hand, if you see money as an enabler to happiness. Then, your happiness will not be affected so much by the amount of money you have currently.

In other words, money can buy happiness, only if you’re wise about it.

Also, there are many ways to tap into your best side in achieving the happiness you deserve. Sometimes, experimenting is required to achieve that. 

Regardless, you should always keep an open and positive mind to give yourself the opportunity to learn more about yourself.

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