A new study in the journal Psychology and Aging finds that money does affect happiness for adults between 30-50 years of age. The authors concluded that while most previous studies on the subject showed a small correlation between income and life satisfaction, teasing out the age groups may be the key to a more nuanced understanding.
The study, which surveyed the "life satisfaction" of more than 40,000 people in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, found similar results across different countries. People who were younger or older had a weaker correlation between income and happiness.
The authors of the study say that the increased importance that people in mid-life place on money is likely due to their financial needs. People in the 30-50 year range are more likely to be supporting a family or saving for retirement, and are therefore more reliant on a steady income. Older adults are more likely to rely on other financial means other than earned income, such as retirement savings.
Also consistent with past research on the subject, this study found that those who earn more on average and over time reported "higher levels of life satisfaction." This finding was also most true for the same midlife age group.
Did we really need a research study to tell us that people who don’t have to constantly worry about making ends meet are more satisfied with their lives? Probably not. But maybe it can serve as a little boost to try and increase our own earning power this year!