Research shows that our wealth in comparison to others has a greater impact on life satisfaction than we may think.

Alex Cochran, Deseret News

My husband and I sweated through the summer of 2022 in a little red Honda Fit with no AC. We managed it with the help of Otter Pops — hundreds of them — as a tastier but sadly less effective method of cooling down on the go. In December, we were finally able to purchase a new car — complete with AC.

Someone might see me driving a brand-new car and make an assumption about my level of wealth compared to theirs. They don’t see the summer of sweating; they don’t see the loan payments we make every month. And they don’t see me comparing myself to someone else who is able to afford a home.

So while I may feel poor when I compare myself to the homeowners my age or that friend who seems to be on a tropical vacation every other month, that’s actually the root of the problem — comparison.

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2016, the researchers state that absolute income is not always the main driver of life satisfaction; instead, it is often relative income, or income in comparison to others. The study mentions previous research that revealed people would rather have a salary of $50,000 if others have $25,000 than a salary of $100,000 if others have $200,000. To an extent, we care about our salary amounts — but our larger concern is whether it’s more than those around us.

Another study from 2022 published in Frontiers in Psychology finds that upward wealth comparison has a stronger effect than downward wealth comparison. In other words, our feelings of jealousy at those who have more than us are stronger than our feelings of pride at what we have. The researchers state that this is because we focus more on our losses than our gains.


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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


Social comparison makes us feel poorer than we are | Opinion

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