Cash and Contentment

Physician's Money Digest, September30 2004, Volume 11, Issue 18

Psychological Science in the Public

Interest

How satisfied are you with life—and can more money make itbetter? On a scale of 1 to 7, where thetop score equals complete satisfaction,the 400 richest Americans score 5.8.But if that makes it seem as thoughmoney does buy contentment, howcome the Inuit living in the frozenArctic and the Masai tribe of Kenya,who live in huts with no electricity orrunning water, rack up the same score?The connection between wealth andcontentment is not clear-cut, some psychologistssay. An analysis published inlooked at more than 150 studieson affluence and life satisfaction andconcluded that despite tremendous economicgains over the past few decades,overall life satisfaction hasn't risen atall. Social relationships and enjoyablework, researchers say, are often betterpredictors of a satisfactory life.