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Happy Youngsters More Likely to Turn into Wealthy Adults

Update Date: Nov 20, 2012 08:08 AM EST

Being happy is good. Not only for one's health and life span, but also for one's wallet, apparently. A new study, the first ever in-depth investigation into happiness in youngsters and their wealth later in life, reveals that happy adolescents are likelier to be wealthy adults.

For the study, researchers Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (UCL Political Science) and professor Andrew Oswald (University of Warwick) analyzed data from 15,000 adolescents and young adults in the USA, and found that teenagers who reported being happy or had higher "life satisfaction" grew up to be significantly wealthier than others.  

According to the study, this could be due to the fact that happier people are more likely to get a degree, find a job and get promotions quickly, that would naturally make them wealthier than their gloomy counterparts.

The more the happiness, the bigger the impact on finance, says the report. According to the study, a one-point increase in life satisfaction (on a scale of 5) at the age of 22 is linked to about $2,000 higher earnings per annum at the age of 29, Medical Xpress reported.

These conclusions were drawn after taking several other factors into consideration like education, physical health, genetic variation, IQ, self-esteem and current happiness.

Also, the researchers considered instances of siblings in the data. In such instances too, it was seen that even among children born in the same family, the happier ones went on to earn more money than their siblings who were perhaps not as happy as them.

"These findings have important implications for academics, policy makers, and the general public," Dr. De Neve said.

"For academics they reveal the strong possibility for reverse causality between income and happiness - a relationship that most have assumed unidirectional and causal. For policy makers, they highlight the importance of promoting general well-being (GWB), not just because happiness is what the general population aspires to (instead of GDP) but also for its economic impact," he added.

"Perhaps most importantly, for the general public - and parents in particular - these findings show that the emotional well-being of children and adolescents is key to their future success, yet another reason to ensure we create emotionally healthy home environments."

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