Winning the lottery is an obvious boost for your bank balance, but for overall well-being and happiness? Not so much.
Lottery winners find improved life satisfaction after a $100,000 cash prize, but that doesn’t mean that they are happier or have better mental health, researchers from the Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm University and New York University found in a study the National Bureau of Economic Research circulated Monday.
Large prizes were linked to high levels of life satisfaction that persisted for more than a decade, whereas effects on happiness and mental health were significantly smaller.
The researchers asked more than 3,000 study participants who had collectively won $277 million in various lotteries five to 22 years earlier to answer questions including, “All things considered, how happy would you say you are?” and, “Taking all things together in your life, how satisfied would you say that you are with your life these days?” Researchers also asked participants how often they had experienced a negative or positive emotion in the last two weeks.
Their answers revealed that newfound wealth had a greater impact on overall life satisfaction and financial satisfaction than it did on happiness and mental health.
Other studies suggest people are happier when they’re spending their money on others, instead of themselves, or when they spend money caring for a pet or investing in experiences and memories, rather than material possessions.