Enjoy Wellness

Does More Money = More Happiness?

Haley Paskalides  |  May 29, 2024

Stephanie Harrison argues that our hyper-individualist culture and the constant pursuit of more money is making us miserable.

According to the 2024 World Happiness Survey, we’re pretty unhappy as a country. For the first time since the survey started, the United States has dropped out of the top 20 happiest countries. Instead, we came in at number 23 this year, sandwiched between the United Arab Emirates on one side and Germany on the other. But how do we find more happiness? Stephanie Harrison, author of: “New Happy: Getting Happiness Right In a World That’s Got It Wrong,” has a few ideas. 

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Stephanie Harrison spent 10 years diving into the world of happiness research and found that “the Old Happy” is making us miserable. “The Old Happy is my term for the societal definitions of happiness that we have been taught ever since we were little,” Harrison says. “These messages that tell us we’re not good enough as we are, that we have to achieve more and more, and that we have to do everything by ourselves.”

Although there are plenty of external reasons for us to be unhappy — sky-high costs at the grocery store, mortgage rates hovering around 7%, and credit card debt soaring – we’re all about controlling what we can control, and that includes prioritizing our well-being over all else (no summertime sadness here!). 

LISTEN: Your 2024 Happiness Reset 

Harrison says that while we all need money to experience the world around us, to show up for our families, and to pursue our hobbies and interests, she has an issue with the constant pursuit of more. ​​”It feels like there’s never a ceiling of what’s enough for so many people. While we think more money epitomizes success, achievement, and self-actualization, but it doesn’t lead to a proportionate increase in happiness. Of course, we all have to have our needs met and to be able to create these experiences of well-being, but I want to challenge the idea that more and more is the answer for us and that that should be what we’re striving for,” Harrison says.

So if you’re feeling more bummed out than usual this year (or if the world’s simply got you down), Stephanie Harrison says it’s time to rethink the definition of happiness. She argues that the real path to happiness or “The New Happy” is all about discovering who you are and then using those gifts to help other people. “Because when you do that, not only do you get to grow as a person and fulfill all of your potential, but you also get to offer it up to others in order to make the world a better place,” she says. 

In Mailbag, we hear from a listener who’s about to receive a sizable inheritance and is wondering how to invest it. We also hear from a young listener who’s looking for the best financial influencers to follow on TikTok.


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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