Posted by: Philip Rushton | November 22, 2010

A “Get Rich Quick” Scheme That Works

“Peace in a thatched hut – that is happiness.” – Chinese Proverb

Most of us probably believe that if we had more money we would be happier with life. The statistics show that the majority of people think that a 10-20% increase in salary would radically improve their well being (Myers, The Pursuit of Happiness, 31-2). However, the research on the relationship between money and well-being tells a different story.

David Myers, in the book cited above, points out that the correlation between money and happiness drops off once we are above the poverty level. An increase in money obviously improves our life if it means that we can attend to our basic needs. Poverty is not to be romanticized. Those living below the poverty level live with a considerable amount of stress and anxiety. However, once people are above the poverty level, more money does not equal more happiness. Myers summarizes the research on this topic saying, “the second fifty thousand dollars of income means much less than the first. The correlation between income and happiness is modest, and in both the United States and Canada has now dropped to near zero (38).”

Myers points to a national study done at the University of Michigan, which shows that what matters more than how much we make, is how content we are with what we make. He writes, “actual income doesn’t much influence happiness; how satisfied we are with our income does (39).” It appears that the key to happiness, when it comes to money, is contentment. So if you want a get rich quick scheme that works, try learning to appreciate what you already have! If four out of five people who already make more than 75,000 dollars a year wish that they were “rich,” then it appears an increase in money is not going to do a lot to make us feel better about life (32). An increase in gratitude for what we already have, however, will lead to a rich life indeed!

Jesus warns us in Luke 12:15, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Instead, Jesus goes on to describe for us another way of living – a less stressful way of living that consists in being content with the provisions he has given us. We have an opportunity to take a step towards contentment this week as we celebrate thanksgiving. One of the keys to being content is learning to be grateful for the things we have been given.

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Responses

  1. Godliness with contentment is great gain… the Bible

  2. Good word Gil! I was trying to find that verse when writing this post. That sums it up well.

  3. Peace is a thatched hut in…….Hawaii, Modern proverb

  4. Nice one Gil

  5. Thank you for Health, God.


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