Money is not the key to happiness

It's official - money will not buy you happiness. However maintaining family networks and having a full life outside of work might do the trick.

According to Dr Tony Delamothe, deputy editor of the British Medical Journal, research from Mexico, Ghana, Sweden, the USA and the UK shows that despite vastly different levels of wealth, the citizens of these countries report similar levels of satisfaction.

Furthermore most 'advanced nations' have seen almost no change to individuals' happiness levels over the last 50 years, despite a huge hike in income.

This may be because people do not experience wealth without comparing it to others, Dr Delamothe believes.

"Individuals usually get richer during their lifetime, but not happier. As we realise one set of aspirations, it seems we immediately trade up to a more expensive set, to which we transfer our hopes for happiness", he says.

He notes that a person can improve their chance of happiness by being married - married people live on average three years longer and have better health and wellbeing than those who do not marry. Well developed family, social and community networks also all have a positive effect.

Dr Delamothe also believes that work is the key to individual satisfaction. Those who have little control over their workload or levels of decision making tend to be less happy. He also emphasises the importance of making sure you do not work so hard 'that you've no time for personal relationships and leisure'.

"The happiness of its citizens should be the business of government, with ministers as answerable on happiness levels as they are on a nation's gross domestic product", he adds.


Anonymous - 04/01/2006 18:54

money is a key to happiness, to have enough for a good holiday, pay bills and a good diet makes the populace more content. without money people in the western world who have health only exist. if the media didnt portray all the goodies available for the rich, maybe people would be more content with having what they have instead of what they want.

Mary - 09/01/2006 12:56

Money cannot buy happiness but there are certain essential things which you cannot get without money. - access to decent health care - proper shelter - heat and light - food - clothing - certain aspects of education. That said, so many of us have more than we coul ever need or want and still aren't happy. I see friedns who have huge houses and big cars with very good salaries and lovely clothes but they still aren't happy. And others who live in small apartments, drive small cars and buy their cloths in the sales but to talk to them you'd think they'd just won the football pools. They just seem to have a sunnier outlook - why is this?

Sammy - 09/01/2006 15:49

To fall in love with what you have is the secret I think. Then you appreciate it and you seek to get the most value out of it. If you thought of everything that you buy as derserving a long life just as much as you do you, then you can't go wrong. You will only then be left with bare wastage which is the way it should be. Take your time buying anything and make sure that you really want it then give it a great life!

fifi - 11/01/2006 13:13

Money doesnt create happiness but by God it certainly helps. My mum had a great saying that for me has range true at times. "Love goes out the window when bills come in the door". I am madly in love with my present partner but money is very tight & to be honest, a constant worry. The pressure put on each of us from this leads to fights & tears & pure frustration. At least if one didnt have to worry about keeping the ESB activated, they would be left alone to worry about other things. Whats more frustrating is the fact that we both educated ourselves very highly, have years of work experience but we cant find jobs with decent pay. When I say decent, I mean any job that will pay me more than 20,000 per annum.

Mary - 12/01/2006 10:07

An old saying - money doesn't bring happiness but you can be miserable in comfort. Trite I know but money does bring comfort as you say Fifi, ESB, GAS and oil bills have to be paid, as does rent. In relationships too, money can bring unhappiness in the sense that two partners can have different ideas about money and money management.

fifi - 12/01/2006 16:44

Very true Mary. life can be a hard old slog sometimes for some of us. God be with the school days when our only worry was how much shrapnel we had in our pockets for tayto's

Mary - 13/01/2006 10:13

Fifi, as a choice between the worries I have now, in my early30's and being a teenager in chool again I would certainly choose what I have now.

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