Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Money can't buy plain ol' happiness, either.

A British investment banker has authored a report, based on worldwide research, indicating that wealth above ordinary comfort levels doesn't make people any happier.
Mrs Beckham bought her husband a £200,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom last Christmas. Will it have made him any happier than the fleet of vintage and sports cars that he already owns? Will the £1.2 million diamond and ruby necklace he bought to add to her collection have raised her spirits more than temporarily? The answer is almost certainly no. Will two diamond necklaces make you any happier than one? Will three holiday homes raise your quality of life more than two? You can only be in one place at one time; drive one car at a time. As Dr. Clive Wood, director of the Happiness, Personality and Health course at Cardiff University, says: “Nowadays acquisition is very important. People believe that if they win the lottery they will become hugely happier, and for a while they do, but human beings have a surprising capacity to return to where they started. The problem is that once you’re wealthy you become habituated to being wealthy and you want to know what the next thing is. We’re constantly striving, which stops us being happy.”
This seems like common sense, yet so many people fall into the trap. I'd still love it if someone backed a dumptruck of money up to my door, though. I bet I could get happier. No frivolous Rolls Royce for me. I've got places to go and things to see. Try me!