You're Less Likely to Be Happy Once You Start Making More Than This Amount, Studies Say

Money doesn't make you a more generous person or buy more happiness, according to researchers.

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By Justin Chan • Dec 30, 2021 Originally published Mar 9, 2021

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Earning more money doesn't guarantee that you'll be more empathetic or considerate, a study published last week by the American Psychological Association (APA) notes.

In a survey of more than 1.6 million people from 162 countries, researchers from Singapore and the U.S. concluded that, although those with higher incomes were likely to feel more confident and less timid than low-income earners, members of the former group weren't exactly more loving.

"Having more money doesn't necessarily make a person more compassionate and grateful, and greater wealth may not contribute to building a more caring and tolerant society," lead researcher Eddie Tong, an associate professor of psychology at the National University of Singapore, told the APA.

Related: 20 Secrets to Living a Happier Life

The report further reveals that high earners often had more positive "self-regard emotions," such as pride and determination. Those with lower incomes, on other hand, experienced the exact opposite, with emotions ranging from sadness to shame.

In essence, having more money appears to have a positive impact on one's "emotional well-being" — as Tong pointed out — but there is no consistent link between income level and how people feel about each other. The professor also added that his team's findings were correlational, making it difficult to prove whether higher income actually leads to positive emotions, or if there is simply a connection between them.

"Policies aimed at raising the income of the average person and boosting the economy may contribute to emotional well-being for individuals," he said. "However, it may not necessarily contribute to emotional experiences that are important for communal harmony."

And despite the fact that there may be some truth behind money's impact on happiness, at least one 2010 study from Princeton University asserts that more money doesn't necessarily equate to more happiness — especially once you start making over $75,000. According to the report's authors, having a high income might positively influence how you feel about your overall life trajectory, but it has little control over how you perceive your day-to-day.

Justin Chan

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Justin Chan is a news writer at Previously, he was a trending news editor at Verizon Media, where he covered entrepreneurship, lifestyle, pop culture, and tech. He was also an assistant web editor at Architectural Record, where he wrote on architecture, travel, and design. Chan has additionally written for Forbes, Reader's Digest, Time Out New YorkHuffPost, Complex, and Mic. He is a 2013 graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where he studied magazine journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @jchan1109.

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