Money And Happiness: The $200 Link
This article by Regina Barreca, Ph.D raises two very interesting points about money and happiness. She questions how much money matters to a person that it would affect their happiness level, and what truly defines a person as happy.
The first point Dr. Barreca addresses is the amount of money required to change a person's mood and make them happy. She first cites a Princeton research study that claims money only affects happiness up to 75,000 dollars per year in salary. After that amount, money has no correlation to happiness. This addresses the upper limit of the question, but Dr. Barreca goes deeper and attempts to address the bottom end of the question. What is the smallest amount of money that would make a person happy? She describes a hypothetical experiment, where a researcher goes up to random people in the street and gives them $200 in exchange for a description of their happiness level after receiving the money. However, she from here goes on to say that money, most of the time "makes life easier. But an 'easier' situation isn't always equal to a 'happier' situation.
From here on Dr. Barreca debates the differences between an easier situation and a happier one. She discusses the complexities society tends to have when asked if they are happy or not, and how defensive some can be when asked this question. Finally she concludes that even if happiness and easiness do not always go hand-in-hand, refusing one or the other because the two are not included together is simply foolish. For example, if one of the people were to refuse the $200 because they claim it would not make them happy, Dr. Barreca thinks this would be foolish because an easier situation can always lead to happiness at some point, even if not initially.
My view of this article is incredibly favorable. Dr. Barreca does a great job of addressing the differences between happiness and money and the ease that money can create to a situation, but not always create happiness. I completely agree with her that even if something does not bring you happiness, but makes something easier, that thing should always be taken advantage of, and the same vice-versa. Much of today's society is focused on the here-and-now lifestyle, while not paying much attention to the long-term consequences. Most of the time, easy situations will make a person happy at some point or another, so these opportunities need to be relished. This applies to money as well.