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Freedom More Important to Well-Being Than Money

Source: yahoo.com Author: Laura Rowley READ FULL ARTICLE AT yahoo.com

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When Bill Douglass and his wife found out they were expecting their first child in 2009, he did something counterintuitive: He quit his job. Douglass left a secure position in corporate communications in New York City to launch his own firm in Stamford, Connecticut.

"I knew I wanted to spend a lot of time with our daughter, especially in her formative years," says Douglass, whose own father traveled frequently on business. "Knowing she was coming was an inspiration to strike out on my own and work from home. My first year in business I only had one client, but because we had been good savers, that gave me the freedom to be able to start my firm."

A new study suggests that from a happiness perspective, Douglass was smart to choose autonomy over money. Psychologists Ronald Fischer and Diana Boer of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand found that on a national level, individualism and autonomy are more important to well-being than money. The study appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"Countries scoring high in autonomy had less stress, less burnout, less mental health problems and so on," says Fischer. "We were surprised by the very strong, consistent effect of autonomy. There's lots of evidence that wealth would be a predictor of well-being in large population samples, so we were surprised to find that once we account for national indicators of autonomy and individualism, money isn't as important anymore."

In other words, wealth may influence well-being only through its effect on freedom: More money gives you more control over your life and your choices, which makes you happier.

Fischer and Boer did a meta-analysis, statistically combining the results of multiple surveys done in 63 countries across more than 420,000 people over four decades. They created a well-being index for each country...

Full article: Freedom More Important to Well-Being Than Money

More About: Career Path Health Happiness

Feb 2 2012 submitted by Alison Brown

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