Does money buy happiness? No! Ah, but would a little more money make us a little happier? Many of us smirk and nod. There is, we believe, some connection between fiscal fitness and feeling fantastic. Most of us would say that, yes, we would like to be rich. Three in four American collegians now consider it “very important” or “essential” that they become “very well off financially”. Money matters.


Well, are rich people happier? Researchers have found that in poor countries, being relatively well off does make for greater well-being. We need food, rest, shelter and social contact. But a surprising fact of life is that in countries where nearly everyone can afford life’s necessities, increasing affluence matters surprisingly little. The correlation between income and happiness is “surprisingly weak”. Once comfortable, more money provides diminishing returns. The second piece of pie, or the second $100,000, never tastes as good as the first. Even lottery winners and the Forbes’ 100 wealthiest Americans have expressed only slightly greater happiness than the average American. Making it big brings temporary joy. But in the long run, wealth is like health: its utter absence can breed misery, but having it doesn’t guarantee happiness.

但是,富人就一定更快乐吗?研究人员发现,在一些贫穷的国家,相对而言比较富裕确实会使人过得更幸福一些。我们需要食物、住所、休息和社会关系。然而,人们惊讶地发现,在那些几乎所有人都衣食无忧的国家里,财富的增加所产生的效果微乎其微。收入与幸福之间的关联“惊人得微弱”。一旦生活舒适,钱所带来的收益 便呈现递减趋势。得到的第二笔十万美元就像吃到的第二只派,尝起来永远都不如第一只那么美味。即使那些彩票得主和福布斯排名前一百的富人们也并没有比一般 的美国人更开心多少。飞黄腾达只能带来暂时的喜悦。从长远来说,财富就像健康一样,失去它的人定会感到不幸,而拥有它的人却未必一定幸福。


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