It Turns Out, Money Actually Can Buy You Happiness — Hooray Capitalism!
All those people who told you money can't buy happiness may have been wrong, a study shows. Sorry, folks. A study conducted at the University of Cambridge and published Thursday in the journal Psychological Science analyzed "more than 76,000 bank-transaction records" and found "people whose purchases better match their personality report higher levels of life satisfaction." Basically, people who spent money on things that really mattered to them, like traveling or buying presents for their loved ones, were happier overall.
The findings come as somewhat of a surprise. "In contrast to decades of research reporting surprisingly weak relationships between consumption and happiness, recent findings suggest that money can indeed increase happiness if it is spent the 'right way,'" the study's authors wrote.
However, there's a caveat. The study didn't conclude that having lots of cash made people happy, it concluded that people who bought things they actually liked were happier. And the amount of money someone makes didn't affect the happiness their purchases brought them: "This effect of psychological fit on happiness was stronger than the effect of individuals' total income or the effect of their total spending."
And that makes sense. After all, if you want to spend your savings on an adult-size race car bed or an indulgent meal at a restaurant for stoners because those things make you happy, you do you.