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Unhappy Money

Writing for The Atlantic, Michael Mechanic parsed the findings of the most recent study on the perennial “Does Money Buy Happiness?” question. Recent polling from The Wall Street Journal and the University of Chicago points to a steep decline over the past quarter century in the percentage of American adults who view patriotism, religion, parenting, and community involvement as “very important.” The only priority tested whose perceived importance grew during that period was money.

Researchers definitively found, [in their original 2010 study], that the quadrupling of a person’s income had an effect on well-being roughly equal to the mood boost of a weekend “and less than a third as large as the [negative] effect of a headache.”

The authors also explain that “the difference between the medians of happiness at household incomes of $15,000 and $250,000 is about five points on a 100-point scale.” That’s “almost nothing,” one researcher said. With such a small difference, in fact, one could argue that “there is no practical effect of income at all!”

Possible Preaching Angle:

The origin of the proverb “money can’t buy happiness” has its origins as far back as 1750 in the writings of Rousseau. But even so, people still think that it can.

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