It ends up that money actually CAN buy happiness

We’ve all heard the expression that “Money can’t buy happiness”, and we’ve heard all the follow-up jokes about it just being a matter of where you shop.

It turns out that maybe those jokes were telling a little bit of the truth, after all.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy marshmallows
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy marshmallows

Whenever someone quits their job, the typical managerial reaction is to offer more money or otherwise try to make the employee happy so that they will stay at the company.  Chances are, once the employee has given notice, it’s too late for the current company to make an enticing offer to stay.  No amount of money or job changes can make an employee who has already decided to leave to suddenly stop and say, “you know, things were bad before, but since you’ve decided to do this for me, I’m staying!”.

Except that THERE IS A MONETARY THRESHOLD THAT TRIGGERS HAPPINESS, and researchers have determined that figure to be around a 20% increase over current levels.

And the research proved that it really didn’t matter where that 20% came from.  A worker making minimum wage and going from $500 to $600 in income experienced the same euphoria that a higher-paid worker had when their salary went from $50,000 to $60,000.

It’s all in that 20%.

Of course, if you really want to concern yourself with how happy people are around the world, you may want to check out the WORLD DATABASE OF HAPPINESS.

The World Happiness Database has asked people of all countries a simple question:  TAKEN TOGETHER, HOW HAPPY WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE THESE DAYS, and then had the person respond in a multitude of ways from the simple 3-level answer (“Very happy”, “fairly happy”, “not too happy”) to a more in-depth 5-level answer (“very happy”, “happy”, “neither happy nor unhappy”, “unhappy”, “very unhappy”).

The Happiness Database has been compiling this (and related) statistics for decades, and it’s an interesting cross-section of data that you can number-crunch to your heart’s content.

For example, Australia ranks themselves fairly happy at 2.41 out of 3.  Poland is a 1.7 in happiness.  The US has a 2.28 average happiness.

What about you?  How happy would you respond on that survey?