The Therapeutic Power of Moderate Lottery Winnings

Whenever anyone says that money can’t buy happiness, I immediately assume they secretly gamble and hypocritically buy up stacks of lottery tickets, hoping for that big score. They regularly use lingo like “quick pick” and “trifecta wheel.”

It turns out that (gasp!) money does indeed buy happiness. But not too much money. New research, to be published in the Journal of Health Economics, suggests that there is a sweet spot: “Medium-sized lottery wins ranging from about $2,000 to $225,000 had a long-term sustained impact in the overall happiness of the winners.”

That’s a rather wide range to consider “medium.” I guess my credit card bill qualifies as Chase’s moderate windfall.

But getting the ginormous checks apparently don’t boost happiness. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t mind giving it a spin.

How big a lottery prize returns happiness? [UPI]

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  1. RandomHookup says:

    I take great personal satisfaction in reading stories that start with:

    William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on his Social Security.

    Seven years ago, Gerald Muswagon was all smiles as his troubled life took a fairy-tale turn when he won a $10-million lottery jackpot. On Sunday, Mr. Muswagon hanged himself in his parent’s garage.

    Okay, maybe not the second one, but it is fun to gloat sometimes. Since my inheritance fell in the happiness range, I guess I’m doing ducky.

  2. DeeJayQueue says:

    money buys porsches, porsches make me happy, ergo, money buys happiness.

  3. bambino says:

    it may not buy happiness, but it sure as hell makes life easier.

  4. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    I guessing the long term happiness come from them not winning enough money to quite their day jobs and blow all their winnings on vacations and expensive cars. When you only win a few hundred grand you probalby buy something nice and put the rest in the bank.

  5. Triteon says:

    I’m guessing that many (if not most) lottery winners aren’t financial geniuses, so the concept of saving– forget investing– is lost on them.

  6. AcilletaM says:

    A lot of the big lottery winners aren’t unhappy because they lost their money, many still have all of it or more and are miserable because their lives changed so much. Suddenly you’re an instant celebrity. Friends and “family” come out of the wood work. People you’ve never met are asking you for money, constantly. It changes your friendships. Now people start thinking that you’ve changed, that you’re too good for them because you’re buying or doing things you or they have never dreamed of as possible before. It affects all of your relationships. There are now different pressures on your life than before and many of these winners are not prepared for that. I tried to find the article I read about this but I wasn’t able to. I did find this which talks about one of the men profiled by the article I read.

  7. trixare4kids says:

    Hellooooo? Money does not buy happiness — it buys comfort. Duh! No one particular economic strata is happier than the other – some just get to have their angst with a view, a maid, and a more expensive car.

  8. masd says:

    I knew a girl in high school whose father won a sum of money similar to what the article labeled as a “medium” amount. She discribed to me a very similar course of events that AcilletaM spoke about. Seems that changing your income bracket involves a lot more than just accumulating/loosing money.