Can money buy happiness?

Our research report suggests that some of us are putting job satisfaction and relationships before high salaries

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Carried out with YouGov in August and September 2020, our research report considers the views of over 8,000 UK adults to provide an insight into how we define worth. It gives a snapshot of the attitudes of British consumers, and what they value in their lives when it comes to finances and work. 

And as we started to delve into society’s views on finances, worth, and work, it led us to wonder: does money make you happy?

Money can’t buy you love?

From our research, it’s safe to say that there are things worth more to some of us in life than money. When we asked what is most important in terms of our sense of self-worth, for example, most participants chose factors relating to their close personal relationships over material things, suggesting that wealth is not a high priority for many of us.

For example, when asked how much money matters, only 1% of respondents chose being rich as the top factor that influences their sense of self-worth. And just under half of those we surveyed (48%) say that being able to afford luxury items is not important.

But what about when it comes to the financial security of a partner? Well, that’s not important for many of us either. 

Just 17% of those surveyed said that they would never marry or partner with someone who isn’t financially secure.

And only one in 10 people (13%) said it’s acceptable to be with someone because they are wealthy or financially secure.

All this suggests we may be more likely to put our hearts before our bank balances.

Job satisfaction comes first

Where do we place happiness when it comes to work? The findings in our research report suggest that job satisfaction is a top priority for many UK workers. Given the choice, almost two thirds (63%) of those surveyed said that having a job that’s enjoyable is worth more to them than how much money they earn, suggesting that for some, happiness at work is more important than a high paid job.

When asked what they would deem the most important when looking for a new job or career, a work-life balance was the most popular answer (28%), whereas only 21% answered how much money is on offer, showing that there are aspects of our working lives that can be more important than money.

Does money make you happy?

Our research supports the idea that money alone can’t buy you happiness, but that doesn’t go to say that your finances don’t matter at all. Although money isn’t everything, it still plays a significant role in our lives. According to 43% of those surveyed, the amount they earn positively influences their overall sense of wellbeing. 

And the more money we earn, the more positive an influence it has: 68% of those with a household income of more than £70,000 agreed that what they earn positively impacts their wellbeing, compared with 25% of those whose household income is less than £15,000.

Having a certain amount put by in case of an emergency was a top financial priority for those we asked too, and 68% of respondents agreed that getting a bargain or saving money is ‘one of the best feelings’ – suggesting that even if money can’t buy you happiness, saving it feels good.


Want to know more? Our research report, An Exploration of Worth, goes deeper into the things UK consumers consider most worthwhile.


Download the full report


The content in this article is for information only and is not advice. All content in this article was accurate on the date of publication shown above.