There’s the popular old proverb that says money can’t buy happiness. But is there actually a link between the two? People have debated this notion for years, and now it’s even the subject of research studies. One recent study, for instance, suggests money can buy happiness but only to a certain point. Once a person’s annual income reaches $70,000, the study says, their happiness begins to plateau. There are, of course, many other approaches to this issue. Here are four ways that research has shown ties between money and happiness.

Sharing the Wealth

“It’s better to give than to receive” is the common idiom. Research shows there is truth behind this sentiment when it comes to spending money. If you have received a monetary bonus, for example, your impulse might be to buy something nice for yourself, but people report greater happiness when they spend extra cash on others. This can be a charitable donation or a gift for a friend or family member. Spending money on someone else can make you feel good about yourself, which can contribute to your happiness.

Experience: The Best Teacher

Going on a nice vacation to Europe. Seeing your favorite band or artist during their world tour. Taking a Salsa dancing class. Whichever new experiences you pursue, when you spend money on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, you’re introducing yourself to a whole new world. Research suggests that spending money on traveling, learning about other cultures, and exploring your passions leads to greater satisfaction in life.

Striking the Right Balance

Finding the right work-life balance can be a struggle for many. Some might feel there is never enough time in the day to do everything they want to do, like spending time with family or just getting chores done and running errands. That’s why many find it worthwhile to spend money instead of time on chores, and science agrees. From grocery shopping to cooking to laundry services and other household chores, the time saved by outsourcing these services translates to an increase in quality of life that you can’t put a price on. The research shows that spending the money to save you important minutes improves your life satisfaction.

Take Steps to Help Reduce Stress

Of course, while there are many ways that people can use their financial resources to make themselves healthier, happier, and more financially secure, money itself can also be a major stressor: A report from the American Psychological Association found that financial worries were the biggest source of stress among American adults. There are steps that you can take, however, to take control of your finances, reduce stress, and make it easier to use your money towards things that can make you happier. From creating a budget to utilizing a balance transfer to simplify your credit card payments, Discover has the resources to help you make the most of your finances, no matter your situation.

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