Money is important but is it everything? Does money buy happiness? These questions come up frequently but what are the answers? A daily survey in 2010 of 1,000 US residents conducted by the Gallup Organization showed that emotional well-being improved with raising income but this relationship diminished and plateau with further increasing of income beyond a ‘satiation point.’ At the time of the study was reported, the satiation point where no further improvement of emotional well-being with increasing income was around $75,000. Participants’ daily emotional well-being (hedonic well-being or experienced happiness) was measured by answered to questions about emotional experiences the previous day (frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, fascination, anxiety, sadness, anger, stress, worry, affection that make one’s life pleasant or unpleasant) . The study also measured participants’ life satisfaction by having participants answer questions on their thoughts or evaluation about their daily life in a scale from 0 to 10. Interestingly at the same time period, participants’ income ‘satiation point’ where raising income further no longer changed participants’ life satisfaction was higher at around $120,000. This study pointed out that money is important but it is not everything when comes to well-being.
Every individual and family are not created equal. This study indirectly indicates the importance of lifestyle medicine. Happiness is not only limited to hedonia but also eudaimonia. Adhering to lifestyle medicine pillars guides us towards our overall well-being!
By: Rusly Harsono, MD, Head, Lifestyle Medicine Social Engagement Pillar
- Kahneman, Daniel, and Angus Deaton. “High Income Improves Evaluation of Life but Not Emotional Well-being.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, v. 107 ,.38 pp. 16489-16493. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1011492107