As a student of philanthropy, I often find myself engaged class-room discussion about why people give to charities since it’s not a rational act in the economic sense. My contention has always been that giving is a rational act as donors gain quite a bit of satisfaction by giving to a worthy person, cause or organization; that kind of satisfaction is often greater than what they would have gotten by keeping all of their money.
It’s nice to see my theory backed up:
New research reveals that when individuals dole out money for gifts for friends or charitable donations, they get a boost in happiness while those who spend on themselves get no such cheery lift.
Scientists have found evidence that income is linked with a person’s satisfaction with their life and other measures of happiness, but less is known about the link between how a person spends their money and happiness.
“We wanted to test our theory that how people spend their money is at least as important as how much money they earn,” said Elizabeth Dunn, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia.
Later in the article it’s noted that income is not a determining factor in this equation since poor people who give tend to be as happy than more affluent philanthropists, which is an important point as some of the least happy people I know have quite a bit of money and are misers while some of the happiest people I know don’t earn much, but who really like to give.