Higher income can scarcely buy you happiness: Study

NEW YORK: Eyeing a new job for a better and higher income? While more money may improve health and life standard, it may not necessarily buy you happiness, researchers say.

People who earn more money tend to become proud and selfish, while those who earn less may be rich in compassion and love, showed the study challenging the long-held notion that money can be key to greater happiness.

It is because people at the higher end of the socioeconomic spectrum have a greater tendency to experience emotions that are focussed on themselves, specifically, contentment and pride (as well as amusement).

On the other hand, people who earn less take greater pleasure in their relationships and were more likely to experience emotions that focus on other people, namely compassion and love.

Poorer individuals also experience more awe and beauty in the world around them, the researchers said.

“These findings indicate that wealth is not unequivocally associated with happiness,” said lead author Paul Piff, from the University of California, Irvine.

“While wealthier individuals may find greater positivity in their accomplishments, status and individual achievements, less wealthy individuals seem to find more positivity and happiness in their relationships, their ability to care for and connect with others,” Piff added.

These differences may stem from higher-income individuals’ desire for independence and self-sufficiency, while the other-oriented emotions help lower-income individuals to form more interdependent bonds with others to help cope with their more threatening environments, Piff said, in the paper published in the journal Emotion.

“Wealth doesn’t guarantee you happiness, but it may predispose you to experiencing different forms of it — for example, whether you delight in yourself versus in your friends and relationships,” Piff said.

For the study, the team conducted a survey of 1,519 people, who answered a series of questions based on seven emotions — amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride — considered to make up the core of happiness.