Can money actually buy you happiness?

Turns out it can - up to a point

free and relax of businessman under blue sky

It's said that money can't buy happiness - but is that really true? Not necessarily, research has found.

Last year, a team from Case Western Reserve University found that increased earnings make you happier up until the $200,000-a-year mark - about £157,000 - but beyond that, make no difference at all.

See also: Britain's youngest lottery winner says it was a 'curse'

See also: How does a lottery win change people?

And in a study earlier this year from Cambridge University, researchers discovered that spending money does make you happier, but only if that spending lines up with your personality.

For example, people who score well for 'agreeableness' in a personality test are likely to spend more on charities and pets - and the more they spend, the more likely they are to be happy.

However, as a general rule, there are some things that money lets you do that cheer more or less everybody up - and it's not the luxury goods that you might expect.

"Instead of a bigger McMansion or a mega yacht, spend money on experiences you love," recommends banking comparison site Go Banking Rates.

"From bungee jumping off Victoria Falls to sailing on a round-the-world cruise, money lets you have once in a lifetime experiences that can bring joy or fear to your heart."

And one of the most sure-fire ways that money can make you happy is the fact that you can give it away. In fact, the UN World Happiness Report reveals that generosity is one of the biggest factors in making people happy.

"You'll get a dose of happiness every time you donate to a charity or buy flowers for a friend," says Go Banking Rates.

It's a lesson that lottery winners would do well to learn, with many reporting that their windfall hasn't made them any happier. Indeed, Jane Park, Britain's youngest lottery winner, has described her £1.9 million jackpot as a 'curse'.

However, a study in 1994 found that most lottery winners actually become less compassionate and generous after their stroke of luck, as well as noticeably more right-wing.

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