Money can buy happiness after all.
A study done a few years ago appears to indicate that, contrary to the popular saying “Money can’t buy happiness”, spending money can actually make people happier.
The First Experiment
Elizabeth Dunn, an assistant professor with the University of British Columbia’s department of psychology, and Michael Norton, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, analyzed results from three reports of happiness and spending.
In one experiment, the researchers asked people to report their annual income, then give a detailed description of how they spent their money each month, and, finally, rank their general happiness.
“Regardless of how much income each person made”, Dunn said, “those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not.”
The Second Experiment
In another experiment, researchers tracked how employees of a firm who had received bonuses spent the money and how they felt afterwards. They reported, “Employees who devoted more of their bonus to spending on others experienced greater happiness. The manner in which they spent that bonus was a more important predictor of their happiness than the size of the bonus itself.”
The Third Experiment
A third rather artificial experiment also supported this concept. The researchers gave a group of university students varying amounts of money. Half were instructed to spend the money on themselves, the other half to spend it on others. Then they were rated on their happiness. As in the other experiments, those who spent the money on others reported being happier.
After reading about this study on the CBC On Line news, I logged in to the comment section and wrote,
“For two-thousand years Jesus’ followers have been proving the truth of what He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Jesus also said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” Luke 6:38 (NIV).
Generous People Are Happy People
Both the statements from Jesus and this research report excite me since there are so many Kingdom building projects and ministries Christians can give to. Having first given ourselves to God, our gifts of time, energy and money flow naturally. When we give to God’s work of meeting people’s needs, we make deposits in our heavenly investment accounts while His Kingdom grows.
Money, when given away, brings happiness. Jesus said so, and, for what it is worth, so do the researchers. Givers just can’t lose. It’s a win-win situation.