Does Student Loan Debt Buy You Unhappiness?
Money can’t buy you love, but can it buy you happiness?
Research has shown that accumulating wealth, in and of itself, does not buy happiness. Instead, happiness depends on how you spend the money. Spending money on experiences makes people happier than buying material goods. Giving money away makes people happier than spending it on themselves. The look of joy on someone else’s face is priceless. Buying time often matters more than money. Happiness seems to reach a peak after about $75,000 in annual income. Spending more than you can afford leads to unhappiness.
Seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it?
But, there’s a difference between believing something to be true and knowing it to be true.
A new report by researchers at Purdue University suggests that past research has overlooked a big part of the equation by focusing solely on income, not debt. The study, which was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies (yes, there really is such a scientific journal), found that the burden of repaying student loan debt detracts from happiness. The Purdue University researchers surveyed 2,781 college graduates to evaluate the impact of student loans on subjective well-being, finding that debt accounted for 40 percent of the predicted variance in life satisfaction and income for 60 percent.