While an ideal annual income can provide for basic needs, it may not necessarily result in greater happiness. A study by Nobel laureates Kahneman and Deaton found that happiness does not increase with income after Americans earn more than $75,000 a year.
New York, NY (ADH News) – Many may be weighing the decision of changing jobs for more money in the new year, but does it equate to a happier life? Nobel laureates Kahneman and Deaton discovered that earning more than $75,000 a year does not necessarily lead to increased happiness among Americans. This is mainly due to the fact that as income rises, various challenging factors, such as health, stress, marital problems, etc., also tend to increase or worsen. Subsequent scientific studies have supported this perspective.
People with high monthly salaries are not necessarily happier
- Reference base point increases with monthly salaryWhen the salary increases, our living standard, living environment, or material life will also improve, and the monthly salary of the groups around us may be equal to or higher than ours. From a psychological point of view, people usually overestimate other people’s income and underestimate their own income, so they will envy others and feel unhappy at the same time. So naturally, our salary expectations will increase and we will start to feel dissatisfied.
- The brain is accustomed to happy statesIn the early stages of a monthly salary increase, you usually feel very excited, just like you are very excited when you have just entered your ideal school or just bought a new car. But after a month or half a year, this feeling of happiness will gradually decrease or disappear. This is because our brain cannot be in a high arousal state all the time, so the level of happiness and satisfaction will decrease day by day. The excitement wears off as we get used to it.
- The discrepancy between expected happiness and realityWe often set different goals for life events. Before the goal is achieved, we will have the enthusiasm to do things. Every time we take a step towards the goal, we will feel the satisfaction of being recognized. You will definitely feel very happy, even when you are moving towards a certain target salary. But in fact, the brain’s ability to predict future happiness is not very good, so the happiness intensity when achieved will be lower than we expected.
Does having more money make you happier?
We cannot deny that enough money allows us to live in a more comfortable environment that we like and can meet our daily needs such as food, clothing, housing, and transportation. Having money also makes us less worried about getting sick or other unforeseen circumstances, and we can pay for help when we need it. Money can help us meet the lowest physiological needs and safety needs in Abraham H Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and it can make our lives more comfortable and safer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will be happier. Money also does not necessarily satisfy other levels that money cannot buy, such as love and belonging needs, esteem needs, or need for self-actualization. The time and emotions spent with family and friends, the beauty of nature, and the creation of music and art are invaluable.
When you focus on the “monthly salary”, then you will use the salary to measure the quality of the job. This is the “focusing illusion” effect. When you focus strongly on a particular aspect, you make it more important and think it is the most important factor, so whether a job is good or bad depends on how much it pays. But from a wider perspective, are the highest paying jobs necessarily the best? Has the high-paying job made you more stressed? Has the time with family and friends decreased because of the job? Does this busy life affect your health? After getting rid of the “focus illusion”, the field of vision can become wider. Is the highest monthly salary still your best choice?
Sometimes we get caught up in the myth that “I have to make more money” or “I’ll be happy when I get a better job.” Making a little more money seems to allow me to buy more stuff and enjoy a better life. A better job should make me happier! Then you get caught up in the battle of money and fame, never having enough days, never reaching the end of happiness, forgetting to live in the moment and embrace the people around you. Only when you find yourself and understand what you need and you will be at peace and calm. You will find that sometimes you don’t need a reason, you don’t need to wait, and you don’t need more money to be happy, no matter when or where you are you’ll be happy. You’ll know what kind of work will satisfy you while also allowing you to enjoy your life.
About job satisfaction
“Job satisfaction” is the level determined by a worker’s job expectations and actual feedback, which can be divided into internal and external factors. Internal factors are non-quantitative factors such as a sense of identity at work, independence, degree of autonomy, interpersonal relationships, and work atmosphere; external factors are more quantitative factors such as salary, workplace benefits, promotion opportunities, job stability, and working hours. When both internal and external factors can be satisfied, job satisfaction can be enhanced.
A job that provides a sufficient monthly salary will allow you to meet your daily needs and improve your life. It will make you happier. Because you can have more time to experience your life, master time and maintain relationships and enjoy the priceless things in life. A challenging job what you could use your expertise and have respectable colleagues to work with can enhance the sense of value and meaning of your work, you will be more enthusiastic about executing your work, you will be able to find goals for continuous growth, and keep you in the right state of mind and happy to work.
According to psychological research, employees’ job satisfaction will directly affect work efficiency and work performance. Job satisfaction also affects their loyalty to the company, intention to leave, and workers’ mental health and quality of life. Therefore, the “monthly salary” must not be the main consideration when choosing a job, and a “high monthly salary” cannot guarantee that it will bring you the most job satisfaction.
Knowing about selective consumption can bring greater happiness
If your salary doesn’t meet your daily needs, move toward your goal of financial security first and find a job that you love and that allows you to feel “secure.” If your salary has made you feel at ease, and you have found a job that you could enjoy and grow together, start spending happiness! Making good use of your money can give you satisfaction outside of work and make you happier.
- Give yourself some limited spending rights. Such as buying clothes once a month, traveling twice a year, or going to a concert. Wealth is not unlimited spending. Research shows that limited spending can make people happier and more fulfilled.
- Buy experiential goods. Such as arranging a trip, seeing an exhibition, or having a spa, these experiences leave you with lasting memories, and most of them are happy experiences.
- Buy yourself time! Leave the work of cleaning or washing the car to the dedicated staff, and free up time to do things you want to do and are interested in.
- When you have time to spare, help others! Donating to charity is about to be listed as one of the top six factors in life satisfaction in the World Happiness Report of UN in 2019. And when you donate, it stimulates a sense of well-being in your brain, research has found that your face will appear a most beautiful smile.
Finding a job you like, getting the pay you need, and managing the life and relationships you want is far more attractive than a “high salary”. Enjoying the happiness of the moment is far more real than constantly pursuing the goal of “happier”. I hope you can find a real sense of satisfaction and achievement in your work, and be happy and enjoy every working moment.