Some people said money can’t buy happiness, but a new study from Purdue University proved otherwise.
Debt, however, should also be part of the money-happiness equation.
“There has been a lot of research looking at whether and how income makes people happy in life, but few studies have examined whether debt can detract from happiness,” Louis Tay, psychological sciences’ assistant professor, said in a statement.
“We found that carrying student loan debt is almost as important as income in predicting financial worry and life satisfaction,” said Tay, who looked into the effects of money and income on happiness.
The study collected data from 2,781 college alumni from the U.S. who graduated in 2008.
The graduates had been finishing off student loans for at least seven years.
Aside from these factors, Tay and his fellow researchers likewise examined the relationships between student loan amount, average household income, financial worry, and life satisfaction.
Results of the survey were based on the Gallup-Purdue Index that supplies a measure of the performance of college graduates on the five key scopes of wellbeing namely, community, financial, physical, social, and purpose.
He said that people always think of the amount of income they can earn, but the truth remains that there’s no guarantee of such post-college.
“There is a lot in the news about reducing, balancing or managing college student debt, and this study shows the burden it can take on one’s life for the long term,” he further said.
Future studies also need to assess other debt sources and the role of good vs. bad debt, among other things, said Tay.
Household and personal debts have been a major concern for many Americans, with household debt increasing from $8.29 trillion in 2004 to $12.29 trillion this year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The Journal of Happiness Studies published the study’s findings on the money-happiness equation.