Research has shown that spending money on others greatly increases our sense of happiness and wellbeing. A Harvard Business School study  announced that giving to others is directly correlated with an increased sense of happiness. The Harvard researchers write: “Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop.”

Other studies have shown that people experience pleasure when they see money go to a charity—even if this money isn’t their own. So we actually love to see those in need prosper! People experience the most joy and pleasure, however, when they give to someone or some thing directly themselves.

So, we are saying that money can buy you happiness so long as you spend the money on someone else. Did you know that only giving a few dollars can get those endorphins flowing? This is the “secret” of happiness according to insight from HBS professor Michael Norton and two colleagues from the University of British Columbia, Elizabeth Dunn and Lara Aknin. Of course, those of the Christian persuasion and other religions that promote giving have known this “secret” for over 2000 years.


Their article, “Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness,” appeared in the March 21, 2008 issue of Science. Although this study is now over 8 years old it still remains relevant just as it has since the time Jesus said, “it is better to give than to receive”. Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Being intentional where we actively and with effort choose to engage with our fellow man in need will lead to a promising life with lasting happiness. This also supports our idea that how people spend their money is as important as how much money they make. So, the suggestion here is to get out there and give!

As we spoke about earlier, don’t think you can make a difference with only a few dollars? The study showed that people need not be wealthy and have to donate thousands of dollars to make a difference.  Although people still, and probably always will, believe that having more money leads to happiness the research is clear. This is only true when we give a portion of that money away!


If you are thinking about helping someone in need, you may want to find a nonprofit in the Collin County area. Click Here