hi believes that anything can be done with money and is undoubtedly ready to do anything for money. (H. Beauchesne)
If only I had an extra hundred euros a month, if only I would earn enough to afford that house or that car, if I won the lottery … then I would be happy! How many times have we found ourselves brooding with these thoughts? How many times have we felt “relatively poor” compared to friends, colleagues, relatives and have we felt unhappy about it?
euro-447214_1920 It is useless to deny that money is a necessary tool to guarantee an acceptable quality of life and that its scarcity entails the social emergencies that we know more or less directly. However, the money-happiness issue is much more complex than a direct proportional relationship that the more money you have, the happier you are. Studies have long shown that above an annual income of $ 70,000 there is no relevant relationship between earnings and happiness: an increase in income corresponds to an increase in happiness, in fact, only in the poorest segments of the population. Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate in Economics, also says that having more money does not increase so-called moment-to-moment happiness, that is, experiencing individual moments of happiness. At this point it would seem confirmed the Easterlin paradox or the Happiness Paradox, from the name of the professor of Economics at the University of California who made it in 1974, according to whom, as income increases, the happiness of the individual first increases and then decreases, returning at the starting levels.
Money has never made a man happy yet, and neither will it ever. There is nothing in its nature that can produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he desires. Instead of filling a void, he creates one. (Benjamin Franklin)
Does this console us? Perhaps not enough to counteract the seductive appeal of money.
The cognitive blindness of thinking about money
The purpose of this article is to allow us to reflect on the quality of our thoughts, with a view to greater psychological well-being even with respect to a very concrete issue, down to earth, such as money.
So let’s try to deepen what types of reasoning lead us to compose the thought of money.
Thinking about money generates momentary gratification “money, just like a good meal or sex, activates the reward center in the brain,” says J. Zeyringer, conducting a series of experiments on the motivational force of the money stimulus. This is why fantasizing about the possibility of having more money comforts us or when we receive a monetary reward we are immediately satisfied. This feeling of fulfillment, however, cannot be called happiness as much as a momentary and empty gratification.
Earning more than others causes an illusory satisfaction: money has above all a social function of comparison. In a curious experiment by L. Tach and G. Firebaugh, the researchers asked participants to choose between two options: an annual salary of $ 60,000 compared with a salary of $ 50,000 for a colleague with the same duties, and a salary of $ 80,000. compared to a colleague’s constant salary of $ 90,000. The interviewees chose the first option: even if rationally the second hypothesis is more advantageous on an emotional level, the first causes a sort of enjoyment that exceeds the concrete absolute gain.