The purpose of purpose and income

Research Briefing

Keywords: purpose, meaning, life satisfaction, purpose in life, religiosity, income satisfaction

Whilst money isn’t everything, a number of previous studies from 2012, 2014 and 2018 found that income is still an important predictor of individual sense of well-being and life satisfaction. This finding has been replicated around the world and appears to span all cultures. Additionally, the study published earlier this year found that how we spend our money also has an impact on subjective well-being and life satisfaction. Spending money on important needs-based items such as better food and housing was shown to increase life satisfaction significantly more than paying for luxuries that are seen as prestige conferring items.

One study previously, in 2008, found that the impact of income on subjective well- being and life satisfaction is largely comparative and, in part at least, depends on how the individual thinks that their income compares to peers’ income.

A new large-scale study used a sample of 97,739 participants from 94 countries has looked at this question of how income satisfaction leads to life satisfaction and a sense of well-being and how it relates to having a sense of purpose.

This research briefing will be useful to anyone interested in well-being, job satisfaction, and purpose.

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Sofronio Jadulco

Sophie is a core member of the Oxford Review. She started working with us in 2017 and hands a diverse range of really important jobs from social media to marketing and customer support. Sophie is the efficient member of the team, making sure all those background tasks get done just right. Without her, almost none of what happens in the background would get done.