Money Really Does Buy Happiness, According to New AARP Study Achieving financial security was more important to respondents than building stronger relationships, cultivating meaning and purpose, and having more time in the day.

By Geoff Weiss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Though many balk at the materialistic maxim, a new study conducted by the AARP has confirmed that it's true: money really can buy happiness.

The survey, comprising 1,000 Americans aged 40 to 59, concluded that having more financial security was the No. 1 life change that respondents said would increase their overall happiness -- exceeding, by far, alternative options like building stronger relationships, cultivating more meaning and purpose, and having more time in the day.

Making bad financial decisions also represents, by a long shot, life's biggest regret. If they could change one thing about their lives, participants said, making smarter financial decisions would trump traveling more, having more fun and staying in touch with old friends.

Related: 9 Moments the Happiest People Have Every Day

But when it comes to identity, money isn't everything. Seventy-one percent said that they derive a sense of self-worth from family and close friends as opposed to their jobs.

The survey was conducted by Life Reimagined, an AARP self-help program, amid the flurry of unfulfilled resolutions that typically proliferate this time of year. In determining that participants' aspirations do not always match the reality of what they're working towards, such findings can ultimately help people better budget their lives -- and make New Year's resolutions that they'll actually keep, said Emilio Pardo, president of Life Reimagined.

To read additional findings from the survey, click here.

Related: Want to Be Happy? Quit Trying to Be So Happy.

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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