On the Early Show today, Money Magazine Editor Eric Schurenberg made some interesting observations about money and happiness.

I have said all along money cannot buy your happiness (although it certainly can make you more comfortable!).

Read the whole article here.


Money can make you happy but having more money doesn’t make you more happy. That’s where a lot of people go wrong.

“Once you get above a subsistence level, it almost doesn’t matter.
If you make $50,000, you’re about twice as likely to say you’re very
happy than somebody who makes less than $20,000. I think you have a
level of confidence. But, once you get above 50, it doesn’t make any
difference. (From) 50 to 90, (there) is almost no difference at all.

What’s at work here?

“It’s all kind of psychological,” Schurenberg responded. “First of
all, we always compare ourselves to others. The definition of a happy
man is the person who makes a hundred dollars more than his wife’s
sister’s brother. You’re always going to find somebody who makes more
than you and you will always find a reason to be unhappy about that.
Another thing we always do is we overestimate the pleasure we’re going
to get from things or from having more money. We think that having that
new sports car is going to make our day. Well, at first, maybe it will.
But three months later, that fancy new sports car is just an appliance.
It’s just the car you have.”

The survey resulted in a list of things that make people happy, and they’re not “stuff,” fort the most part.

“Oddly enough,” Schurenberg pointed out, “(they’re) things that
money largely can’t buy. Good health is on top of the list. Owning a
home. Kids. An interesting job. Things that you can buy with money,
like luxury cars, fancy gadgets, they’re down at the bottom of the

But, he adds, there are things you can buy that will make you happier.

“A barbecue grill is a great investment in happiness,” Schurenberg
says, “because people are what make you happy. So, buy a barbecue
grill, have a barbecue, invite a lot of friends over. People who have a
large circle of friends are twice as happy with people who have a small
circle of friends.”

Another happiness provider? Splurging on guitar or golf lessons.

“Psychologists and economists talk about something called flow,
getting into something that’s challenging, really absorbing and when
you do it, time flies and you never even notice it,” Schurenberg
explained. “So, guitar lessons, playing golf, a couple of sets of
tennis, a tough crossword puzzle, all of those things that make you
feel good when you’ve accomplished them is a good happiness

Finally, buying a souvenir from a great vacation makes people
happy, reminding them of their trip. And, Schurenberg concludes, “Over
time, memories get better. Things get worse. But memories get better.”

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