How Money Does Not Increase Happiness.

And why to be wary of the thought that more money is better.

Brooke Meredith
6 min readApr 30, 2020


image by Micheile Henderson from

Contrary to our culture’s popular belief that more is better, especially with regards to money, several studies show this actually isn’t so. And that surprisingly, it’s even the opposite.

Study after study has shown that contrary to what we assume, the more money people make, the less they actually enjoy their life outside of work.

So, why then have we all been conditioned to believe that money buys happiness?

And, if that isn’t so, why are so many of us still chasing this idea?

And, how can it be that this adage is so incorrect?

As a culture, we are continually urged to buy and consume. More, more, more. From the Super Size option at McDonald’s, to the double D breasts one can now purchase. The most monstrous SUV to the biggest and “best” juked out beach house along the ocean strip.

We want it all. More of it, bigger, swankier, pricier.

Much of this stems from a place emotionally of “keeping up with the Jones’s,” so the speak. None of these things actually increase our happiness or sense of fulfillment over the long term. Instead, we experience a short burst of satisfaction and thrill over the novel item we have acquired. And we feel (temporarily) as if we are “good enough,” like our peers and neighbors, in measuring this by our material goods, our looks, or our status (instead of, say, the content of our inner character).

However, an important thing: this soon dies down and out. Leaving us at the same relative level of happiness we were before.

Yes, you read that right. You return, emotionally, to the same spot you were before in a bit of passing time following acquiring whatever you “so” needed to be happier and feel better about yourself.

What does make people happy?

Interpersonal relationships, and experiences. These are two of the richest sources of fulfillment and joy in life.

Interpersonal relationships are what life is all about. Look at any movie, book, song, poem, you name it. One of the main topics focused on is love. And while it’s usually…



Brooke Meredith

Ravenous reader. Social scientist. Foodie. Novelist. Adventurer. Romantic and idealist.