Money may not buy you happiness, but happiness can improve your financial bottom line.
A study by researchers from University College London finds that young people who report a higher level of happiness and satisfaction with their lives earn higher levels of income later in life. The impact is significant: using a 5-point scale, a 1-point jump at age 22 made a $2,000 difference in yearly salary at age 29, or $8,000 between the happiest and gloomiest brackets.
While the study did not find a direct cause and effect, it did show that happier teens were more likely to get a college degree, find a job and be promoted more quickly than their more dour peers. Even when comparing brothers and sisters, the happier siblings fared better financially.
The data came from a long-term survey of more than 10,000 American teens at ages 16, 18 and 22, and compared their annual incomes at age 29. The researchers say their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that creating emotionally healthy home environments is important not only because happiness is a universally shared goal, but also because it has economic benefits for individuals and society as a whole.