New York, Sep 4 : Researchers have found that viewing wealth and material possessions as a sign of success yields significantly better results to life satisfaction than viewing wealth and possessions as a sign of happiness.
"People simply say 'money can't buy you happiness' and just assume that materialism has a negative influence on overall well-being," said Jenny Jiao, Assistant Professor at Binghamton University in the US.
"But it's not that simple. There is a real difference between success materialism and happiness materialism," Jiao said.
For the study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, researchers surveyed over 7,500 German adults.
They first determined if participants had either a happiness materialistic or success materialistic mindset and then asked questions regarding current satisfaction of life, expected satisfaction of life in the future and economic motivations.
They found that happiness materialism (wealth and material consumption is a sign of a happy life) can negatively influence life satisfaction in two different ways.
It can lead a person to be dissatisfied with their current standard of living, which in turn negatively influences overall life satisfaction.
This can lead a person to not find satisfaction from other important areas of life such as family life, social life, and health, which negatively influences overall life satisfaction.
Success materialism (wealth and material possessions are a sign of success in life) positively influences life satisfaction by boosting a person's economic motivation.
This can lead to a rise in their future satisfaction with their standard of living, which positively influences overall life satisfaction.
"Your happiness should never rely on money alone, but money can be a tool to motivate you to achieve major milestones in your life, which can make you feel happier in the long run," Jiao said.