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Money & happiness

Clark Behind The Headlines

From HLN's Money Expert Clark Howard

It’s a funny thing when I ask, “Does money buy happiness?” My whole show is about money!

But a survey was done of 136,000 people in 132 countries. And people were asked, if they make more money, are they happier with their lives? The answer was yes, and it doesn't matter if people are young or old, male or female, living in cities or rural areas.

But something I found quite fascinating about this: although people considered money to be the source of happiness, as the surveyors dug in, they found that the positive feelings in people's lives are “less affected by money and more affected by the things people are doing day to day.”  Being in control of your life, having friends and family, feeling respected.  Overall satisfaction in life doesn’t come from how fat your wallet is.

This dovetails with the work of a psychologist named Abraham Maslow. I remember studying his stuff in graduate school in 1976 or '77. He came up with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It says that once you have the basics taken care of, money doesn't make a big difference in someone being happy or unhappy.

You’ve got to have enough so you know that you can put food on the table, to know that you have shelter and clothing. But once you get past those basics and it's not about money anymore, it’s the other factors that matter. And it's so interesting that this new study speaks to that.  

Money is something that we think makes people happy. But it's actually people and experiences that make you happy.  I want you to remember that what really matters are the people around you that you care about, and who care about you, and the experiences you have.

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