Rich does not equal happy! Somewhere deep down, I knew this, but that doesn't stop me from imagining myself winning the lottery, paying off my student loans, and moving to Paris.
However, a new research study, scheduled to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Research in Personality, found that of the 147 newly-graduated adults they studied, the ones who were most happy and healthy (physically and emotionally) were those who valued "personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health".
This is pretty much what the authors of my favorite book, Your Money or Your Life, espouse. I think Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez (were he still alive) would agree wholeheartedly with this particular paragraph:
"For this young adult group, the authors suggest that time devoted to extrinsic pursuits, like working long hours, often crowds out opportunities for psychologically nourishing experiences, such as relaxing with friends and family or pursuing a personal passion. Craving money and adoration also can lead to a preoccupation with "keeping up with the Joneses" ― upward social comparisons that breed feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. And unlike the lasting benefits of caring relationships and hard-earned skills, the thrill of extrinsic accomplishments fade quickly; all too soon, the salary raise is a distant memory and the rave review forgotten."This notion of values and their relationship to happiness hits particularly close to home for me, as my friends often lament my workaholic schedule. And it's true: I work A LOT, between the two jobs and the full time graduate program. My goal in this (temporary) period of overwork is to pay off debt, enhance my education, and improve my employability in a higher-paying job that offers the benefit of more time off. I'll keep this research study in mind as my program ends a year from now and I'm faced with a choice: to keep striving for more pay and a higher salary, or to strive for a slower-paced life in which I can devote some time to relaxing, investing in my relationships, and volunteering my time to a good cause.