Philanthropists are happier!

Written on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 at 11:35 am by Christiane

While I’m researching and working on my planned e-book, this story made recently headlines: The secret to happiness is giving away your money.

It was already known, based on earlier studies, that getting more money is not doing much for most people’s happiness, provided they are not extremely poor. Just consider how much money we have today and how much money our parents or grandparents had. Earlier generations often struggled just to get enough food on the dinner table so that nobody would have to go to bed hungry. Today, most of us take food for guaranteed, also cell-phones, cable TV and computers. Well, are we happier than our parents and grandparents? We aren’t, and now we may have an answer why:

According to the new study, recently published in the journal Science, how people spend their money is at least as important as how much money they make.

A survey of 632 Americans showed that those, who gave more money to charities or spent it on friends and relatives reported higher levels of happiness. In another survey 16 employees of a Boston company were polled about their happiness before and after they received fat bonuses and also here, the researchers found a correlation between happiness and the amount of money people spent on others.

In an experiment, 46 students at the University of British Columbia received envelopes with $5 or $20. The students were told to either spend the money on themselves or on other people. The group that were told to spend it on others, either by donating it or to buy someone a gift, felt happier when they were polled again than those, who could spend it for themselves, regardless whether they could spent $ 5 or $20.

The researchers suggest now that governments may consider promoting philanthropy just to increase their citizens’ happiness. My personal suggestion is of course different: Get a life coach and discover the purpose of your life. Take it from there to discover what would make YOU happy.

One Response to “Philanthropists are happier!”

  1. Foirx says:

    But we are ayalws told by our Govt that we have to be ayalws on Marathon race gear, can’t even slacken a wee bit in our tracks.Always have to run to chase after GDP growth, else we would all sink into the sea.When Bhutan’s Gross Happiness Product was brought up as a possible complement to our relentless rat race, it was shot down immediately by Minister Khaw as being too unrealistic and idealistic for Singapore.Better follow the Chinese saying -Contentment is the key to Happiness. Why work so hard to put more money into the pockets of our Ministers, and then we drop dead from exhaustion.

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