Why Doesn't Money Make Us Happy?

Are you unhappy? Maybe it's because of all that money you have. Jonah Lehrer of Wired's The Frontal Cortex blog explains:

Once we escape the trap of poverty, levels of wealth have an extremely modest impact on levels of happiness, especially in developed countries. Even worse, it appears that the richest nation in history – 21st century America – is slowly getting less pleased with life. (Or as the economists behind this recent analysis concluded: “In the United States, the [psychological] well-being of successive birth-cohorts has gradually fallen through time.”)

Needless to say, this data contradicts one of the central assumptions of modern society, which is that more money equals more pleasure. That’s why we work hard, fret about the stock market and save up for that expensive dinner/watch/phone/car/condo. We’ve been led to believe that dollars are delight in a fungible form.

But the statistical disconnect between money and happiness raises a fascinating question: Why doesn’t money make us happy? One intriguing answer comes from a new study by psychologists at the University of Liege, published in Psychological Science. [...]

The Liege psychologists propose that, because money allows us to enjoy the best things in life – we can stay at expensive hotels and eat exquisite sushi and buy the nicest gadgets – we actually decrease our ability to enjoy the mundane joys of everyday life. (Their list of such pleasures includes ”sunny days, cold beers, and chocolate bars”.) And since most of our joys are mundane – we can’t sleep at the Ritz every night – our ability to splurge actually backfires. We try to treat ourselves, but we end up spoiling ourselves.

Link - via Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish

The solution, of course, is simple: get rid of your money by shopping in the NeatoShop ;)

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Or maybe it is because now I can't even afford the mundane things. I have never considered myself to be one to enjoy luxuries, but I do prefer a salami sandwich with swiss cheese over half a package of instant ramen.
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I think this works on an exponential or log scale.
Doubling your income from ex: $25k to $50k is a noticeable change.

Subsequent changes would probably have to be ~more-than-doubles, especially considering the increasing overhead costs of a more and more outlandish lifestyle. Higher insurance, etc.

And keeping pace with Inflation and Price-Shocks. ex: The Concorde doesn't exist anymore, so high-end air travel is all in private jets now, which can be much more expensive. Or, $200k/year is the new $100k/year, due to Inflation.

That being said, mental illness doesn't discriminate. Ex: Doris Duke was one of the richest and most screwed-up people to ever live.
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Money relates to happiness like to intelligence. They have NOTHING in common...
I remember when I was 15 I longed to buy a record (yep, no CDs then...) and had to save for it several weeks. When I finally got out of the record-shop, LP under my arm I felt so absolutely happy, that feeling stayed for over a week.
Nowadays I buy CDs almost as naturally as candy. I still enjoy music a lot but THAT feeling from back then never came back.
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