One key to happiness might be whether you make more than your peers, regardless of whether that income is six figures or just a mediocre take-home, a new study finds.
This concept of "doing better than the Joneses" is well established among children: A toy gets ditched as soon as a shinier toy in the hands of another child is spotted. But some researchers have often thought that when it comes to adults and money, things works differently, in that the more money one has, regardless of how it stacks up, the more resources can be acquired to generate happiness.
However, the new study suggests income and happiness are indeed like child's play.
We tend to be happy "as long as we've got more than the people around us," said study researcher Christopher Boyce in the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick in England. "You might buy a new car. But if your neighbor has just bought the very same car, that new car doesn't seem as good as it once was if you were the only one to have that car."