There are lots of ways to correlate money and mental health/spiritual well-being/happiness whatever you want to call it, that thing you seek. Some show the correlation to be quite small or even undetectable as income goes up. There seems to be a rule of thumb in America that it’s about $70K these days, beyond which money buys no additional comfort or security, and is mostly used as a token of influence.
Which is to say it is likely that at $70K you can already afford a couple of days on a yacht, and that Bill Gates probably doesn’t spend more than two days a year on his yacht, and that the rest of the time, like you and me, he is frantically working on something…
Is this perception true?
One really good way to measure things is to average over very large numbers.
Globally, everyone agrees that the economy has grown enormously in my lifetime, and it is my impression that happiness, in North America at least, has not.
On the other hand let me emphasize on behalf of my family and everyone living the in the old Warsaw Pact Eastern Europe, that for all their absurdities and indignities of their own, these times are surely much happier times than the 1950s were. Clearly, how we organize ourselves as humans makes a great deal of difference to our well-being!
A new study comes out on the side that all of our growth is illusory in the aggregate, at least in the largest countries. From The Australian National University (ANU) led by Dr Kubiszewski it is ‘Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress’ in Ecological Economics.
(Remarkably this is a free download from Elsevier. Alas the graph legends are near-illegible in the PDF which seems quite unnecessary, as does Elsevier.)