Can money really buy you happiness?

While I am trying to decide if leaving a well paid permanent job in Switzerland to go back to London could be the most stupid decision of my life, I bumped into an article about the relation between income and happiness.

According to Dr. Angus Deaton, an economist, and Dr. Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist (and a Nobel prize winner), from Princeton the two key components of happiness are emotional well-being (“emotional quality of an individual’s everyday experience”) and life evaluation (how satisfied we are about our state of life).

It turns out that the perfect balance between these two components is reached in correspondence of a $75000 household income, beyond that amount people might be more satisfied but not necessarily happier.

These results were based on the analysis of more than 450,000 responses to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (GHWBI) and showed very clearly that those who reported a household income lower than $75,000 generally had lower levels of emotional well-being and life evaluation. Surprisingly, respondents who reported a more than $75,000 household income only showed a higher level of life evaluation but not necessarily a higher level of well-being.

So yes, apparently money can buy you happiness..but as long as it is not more nor less than  $75,000.

So why did I find this article so interesting that I decided to write a post about it?

Well, it happens that I earn exactly $75,000 and although I have good social relationships (love wise I am really satisfied!) and health (which are other important factors in happiness), I can’t consider myself extremely satisfied or happy.

After having gone through a lot of unpaid internships I would have thought that a well paid job would have really bought me the absolute happiness, but I was wrong.

I realised that the environment around you really has a huge impact on your perceptions and emotions. Living in a small, quiet, culturally not stimulating city, not having the chance to meet a lot of people and socialise, really affect your happiness. 

Why do I need all this money if I then have no chances to spend it? By the time I go out of my office, all shops are closed and the city center is pretty empty, on Sunday it’s all close and during the week there are not so many things to do or events to attend.

I have suddenly realised that I was much happier when I was living in London with my 18K salary.

How is it possible?

I have to admit that the idea of moving back there, with no job and with the current economic situation really scares me a lot, but in my case, money didn’t buy me happiness, so I guess I have to give it a go!

My bank account will certainly regret this choice, I hope I will not!