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Lead Your Team Personal Growth

Are Happy Kids More Likely to Be Rich?

Are Happy Kids More Likely to Be Rich? Credit: Dreamstime.com

Teens wanting to increase their chances of being rich when they get older should cheer up, new research shows.

A University College London study discovered that happy adolescents are likely to earn more money as adults.

Based on data from 15,000 teenagers and young adults in the United States, researchers found that those who report higher positive affect, a technical measure of happiness, or higher life satisfaction, grow up to earn significantly higher levels of income later in life.

Specifically, the research shows that that a one-point increase in life satisfaction (on a scale of 5) at the age of 22 is associated with almost $2,000 higher earnings per year at the age of 29.

The study found that happy individuals' greater wealth is due, in part, to the fact that happy people are more likely to get a degree, find work and get promoted more quickly than their gloomier counterparts.

"These findings show that the emotional well-being of children and adolescents is key to their future success," said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, one of the study's authors. "Yet another reason to ensure we create emotionally healthy home environments."

As part of the study, the researchers paid careful attention to instances of siblings in the data. The research revealed that even in children growing up in the same family, happier youngsters tend to go on to earn higher levels of income.

De Neve said the results have important implications for academics and policymakers.

"For academics, they reveal the strong possibility for reverse causality between income and happiness —  a relationship that most have assumed unidirectional and causal," De Neve said. "For policymakers, they highlight the importance of promoting general well-being, not just because happiness is what the general population aspires to, but also for its economic impact."

The study, which was co-authored by University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald, was published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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