A long time ago, someone really stupid said, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” It made people feel good about their financial woes, the phrase spreading far and wide (amongst poor people). Still today, it’s downloaded into the minds of American children through Judeo-Christian morality and Disney movies.

But as it turns out, this phrase is steaming shit of bull. 

According to a recent study of over 4,000 millionaires published by the "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin," high levels of wealth make people happier. Likely also agreeing that water is wet, some 4,000 millionaires from 17 countries were given two surveys. One questioned them about their “happiness,” while the other questioned their “life satisfaction”.

In his response, study author Grant E. Donnelly said, “Even when basic needs have been met, acquiring more wealth does increase happiness.”

Donnelly, a PhD student at Harvard, says previous studies have skewed data, saying past samples surveyed too few wealthy people.

In what’s been called a “surprising finding,” the study further reveals the source of one’s wealth matters: those who earned their wealth are happier than those who inherited it. It’s like how Jim Carrey was once poor and envisioning becoming a movie star, and he did, and he got loaded, and now he appears to be some sort of mystical Guru; and beneath Kim Kardashian’s Ferraris and $33,000 diamond rings, a deep sense of dissatisfaction lurks in eternal torment.

But here’s what the study really shows: People with many millions of dollars are happier than people with a few million dollars — and there’s no way of proving that the wealth came first. Maybe happy people tend to accumulate wealth. Abundance in spirit manifests abundance in world!

But what about the billionaires? What’s the deal with the insatiable accumulation and heartless disdain for working-class human beings? Ought we limit to our money-desire, or will we get happier with more and more and more? 

Didn’t work well for Daniel Plainview (of "There Will Be Blood" fame). Or the rosebud-yearning C.F. Kane. Could those movies just be instances of Hollywood billionaires trying to keep us poor through subliminal brainwashing? Who knows. But at least this study shows it’s “not so black and white," as that old cliché says. Though perhaps it is, in the sense of a yin yang, where white exists in black, black balanced inside white: basically, money can definitely help, but there’s other factors at play. 

So for those who drive with Money-Doesn’t-Buy-Happiness bumper stickers to feel better about a shitty situation: just pencil in “Inherited” before money, and you’ll be good to go. If you still feel deeply dissatisfied, might be time to admit that Schlitz bombers and Ramen aren’t satisfying your soul’s vast yearnings, and some green comfort is probably good to pursue.

[cover photo by Moses Vega on Unsplash]