Maybe money can buy happiness after all
Turns out that money can, indeed buy happiness -- as long as you don't spend it on yourself, according to Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton.
Making more money leads people to accumulate more and more material goods, but not to accrue the things that really make people happy -- like relationships with others, Norton explains in a recent TED talk.
Unfailingly, people link happiness to feelings of affiliation, whether with family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. So, spending money to strengthen ties offers more happiness-bang for your buck, he maintains.
When reached that evening, those who spent the money on themselves bought things like coffee and food, while those who gave money to others reported spending it on things like gifts for their siblings or donations to the homeless.
The result? Those who had spent their money on others reported feeling much happier at the end of the day than those who had spent their money as they usually did, on themselves. There was no difference in happiness between those who spent $5 or $20, suggesting that it is not how much money you spend, but how you spend it, that boosts the spirits.
Does this ring true for you? Does spending money on others really make that much of a difference?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money