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Happier Childhoods Tied to More Wealth as Adults: Study
Date:11/19/2012

The study also examined how happiness after childhood might affect wealth. Oswald's team found that a one-point increase in life satisfaction (on a scale of 1 to 5) at age 22 was associated with a growth in annual income of about $2,000 by the age of 29, although it's not clear if the two events are directly linked.

Why might happier kids become richer adults? "Certainly, faster job promotion is part of it," Oswald said. "Maybe that is because happier people fit in better in organizations and make a useful contribution to others' happiness and productivity."

That theory makes sense to Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, who studies happiness. Happy people are more likable, make a better impression at job interviews and are more likely to get jobs, she said.

Lyubomirsky noted that society focuses on making money to become happy, but the study suggests that the relationship might work both ways.

"This says that if you're happy, you can be more successful. If you put work into becoming a happier person, you can get a lot of benefits from it -- one of them being more money," she said.

The study was published online Nov. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

Want to boost your happiness by lowering anxiety? There are tips on doing so at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Andrew Oswald, Ph.D., professor of economics, University of Warwick, United Kingdom; Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of California, Riverside; Nov. 19, 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online


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