“Money leads to autonomy but it does not add to well-being or happiness.”

— PSYCHOLOGISTS RONALD FISCHER & DIANIA BOER [via the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology]

Fischer and Boer, who are based in New Zealand, have authored a new study called “What Is More Important for National Well-Being: Money or Autonomy? A Meta-Analysis of Well-Being, Burnout and Anxiety Across 63 Societies.” Their research indicates that it’s freedom—not necessarily money—that leads to happier, more satisfied lives. They write:

“Providing individuals with more autonomy appears to be important for reducing negative psychological symptoms, relatively independent of wealth.”

Of course, as stated in the first quote above, money often leads to autonomy.

The study also confirms the theory frequently spread throughout the recession: that being rich doesn’t make you happy. The release announcing the new study states:

The effect of money on happiness has been shown to plateau – that is, once people reach the point of being able to meet their basic needs, more money leads to marginal gains at best or even less well-being as people worry about “keeping up with the Joneses.” These patterns were mostly confirmed in their findings.

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