Money Won't Buy Happiness, But Will Your Profession?

Money won't necessarily make you happier -- but a new study suggests your chosen profession might. The British Cabinet Office’s 2014 Wellbeing and Policy report asked workers between the ages of 35 and 50 to rank their life satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. Results showed a handful a lower-paying professions can boast happiness rankings.

Fitness instructors, for example, proved to be happier than lawyers, despite the fact that they earn so much less. Other professions with happiness rankings that exceeded expectations included dental assistants, school secretaries, company secretaries and farm workers. Who topped the happiness scale? Clergy members, whose salaries are six times smaller than those of CEOs. 

Management consultant Steve Denning lists the ten happiest jobs as:

  • Clergy
  • Firefighters
  • Physical therapists
  • Authors
  • Special education teachers
  • Teachers
  • Artists
  • Psychologists
  • Financial services sales agents
  • Operating engineers

Denning compares those “helping” jobs with the ten most hated jobs, which include:

  • Director of information technology
  • Director of sales and marketing
  • Product manager
  • Senior web developer
  • Technical specialist
  • Electronics technician
  • Law Clerk
  • Technical support analyst
  • CNC machinist
  • Marketing manager

Why were these jobs, which offer better pay and higher social status less likely to produce happiness? Todd May writes in the New York Times that the difference is that the first set of jobs feel worthwhile, “while in the other jobs, people can’t see the point of all the dull tasks and corporate hierarchy.”

Research analyst Doug Short, writing in the Huffington Post, looks at earnings from one’s job in a different light. “Earning more money will increase your day-to-day emotional well-meaning, but only up to a point,” he says. In different locations, Americans reach a “happiness plateau” at different levels.  After that level, regardless of how much more they earn, people are no happier. In Indiana, the chart shows, the plateau begins at $68, 025. (Short relied on a study conducted at the Council for Community & Economic Research.)

Here at Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors, we agree that happiness and finances are related. Of course, as both we and our clients understand, money isn’t going to be anybody’s guaranteed ticket to happiness. What can be a key to satisfaction, however, is knowing you’re taking control of your own financial destiny, no matter your chosen profession.

Content was prepared by a freelance journalist on behalf of Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors