Savings makes you happier than a fun job, eating right or exercising

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In order to achieve maximum happiness, this is all you should eat from now on.To achieve maximum happiness, as soon as you finish reading this, you should start eating only spam, quit your gym, and get a horrible but high paying job (patent lawyer or international accountant come to mind). Then, funnel all the extra money into a savings account.

Ok that might be a little extreme, but a national poll released today by Ally Bank suggests that having a lot of money saved up is more important to people’s overall sense of well-being than eating healthy foods, having a job they like, or exercising regularly.

In the survey, 84 percent of respondents said that having money in the bank was important to their overall sense of well-being, more than the 73 percent who said eating healthy foods, the 68 percent who said having a job they like, or the 59 percent who said exercising regularly were important.

Still, as important as savings is, it still trailed having good relationships with friends and family and having time to relax and unwind, which is what you’d expect. Money in the bank doesn’t mean much if you don’t have any time to enjoy it or anyone nice to enjoy it with.

A larger proportion of people with savings also reported being happy compared to those without. Overall, 29 percent of those with no savings said they were “extremely or very happy,” compared to 42 percent of those with between $20,000 and $100,000 in the bank and a whopping 57 percent with more than $100,000 in savings.

One thing I do wonder though, is how much of their happiness can be attributed to their fat savings accounts and how much of it can be chalked up to having the kind of income that lets you feasibly put away 100 stacks in savings in the first place. In another section of the poll, the biggest reasons people cited for not saving was “The amount of money I make,” “Paying off my debts and/or loans,” and “My basic living expenses.” And those are pretty valid reasons! It’s hard to get anything going savings-wise when you have to strain to cover food, shelter and utilities.

Also, the poll was conducted online, and those polls don’t tend to be as accurate as the old-fashioned phone kind.

What do you think? Are you a happier person when you have savings in the bank? Or are other factors more important to you?

{ 14 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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14 Responses to “Savings makes you happier than a fun job, eating right or exercising”

  1. dojo says:

    We only eat healthy stuff, manage our own business and have enough time to work out (I don’t now since I’m pregnant and was advised to keep it low). I really doubt that people who save money work in crappy jobs, are unfit and eat junkfood all day. A good way to actually save money is to cook at home, and this means fresh produce and healthy meals. 🙂

  2. Claes Bell says:

    Hey Dojo, yeah that was a little tongue-in-cheek, but I was surprised by how important savings were for people, even over and above stuff I consider really key like eating healthy, etc. But yeah definitely agree you can do all of the above.

  3. David S says:

    Simple, by having money in the bank you are less stressed. By having less stress not only are you healthier but you can focus on making good meals, working out and enjoying time with your family. By making meals, working out and enjoying time with your family (by spending time together doing low/no cost activities) you reduce your expenses and can save more which of course results in less stress and so on and so forth.
    All you have to do is spend an intense month to get started. 🙂

  4. Stephanie says:

    It’s a must to always have some money put away in case you need to meet unusual expenses. If you don’t you will be stressed that you can’t meet taking care of someone you care about. We wish we had more money to fritter away cause it’s fun! You must have a balance of each. Eat well, get exercise, get a little fun in there too. Now that we’re retired we watch our expenses all the time & live within our means not touching that “what if” account. That isn’t stressful to live that way, it’s far more relaxing. Saving is imperative no matter how little for peace of mind or something you really want to buy. Put away the plastic!

  5. Diana says:

    What makes me happier is knowing my debts are paid and that I am not wasting money in things. I focus on having a good quality of life over $$$.

  6. adam carolla fan says:

    great article. i totally agree with it, personally. exercising sucks – it’s hard, you get all sweaty, have to take a shower. my job has it’s ups and downs, but for the most part, i sit at my desk everyday and say gawd i hate my life.

    but saving money….that’s something i can win at! and winning is fun!

  7. adam carolla fan says:


    25 stacks of high society. that’s what makes me happy. 18 months left till the first quarter is done. 27.5 stacks is what the goal is in those 18 months. doable? we’ll find out in 18 months!

  8. ann says:

    I’m struggling to save because of family obligation. Or my incompetent of handling money. I think people with more money are happier, not just they can buy they want. They can readily help people on need. Giving create an atmosphere of happiness. It really gives you an all time high if It really comes from your desire.As they sayings goes, you can’t give when you have nothing especially on the personal level.

  9. bloodbath says:

    I came from very meager beginnings and I promised myself as a young child that I will never be poor again. I started saving $2-$5 dollars a week at age 18 with my first job. I saved until I accumulated enough to pay 1/2 my fare to NYC, I borrowed the other 1/2. I continued saving with every menial job I had until I graduate college and began making real money. I contributed to 401k at its inception, I kept on saving, I traded stock, bought real estate and never stopped saving. Today, I’m retired with above average savings, enough to last the rest of my life but whenever I get extra money, guess what? I save some of it!! Saving makes me feel safe. I am more content now that no longer. I’m happy puttering around the house and land that I own. I bought it with the money I saved!

  10. AnAn says:

    I enjoyed the article but must point out that eating healthy and especially exercising IS like money in the bank–the bank of good health! One important way to “save” is simply to avoid health problems that occur from lack of exercise and from poor health benefits.

    Our strategy to create a healthy savings account has been to live on my husband’s income and save mine. We worked hard to get to this place in life and I really feel for those still working to free themselves from debt.

  11. Shirley says:

    We started saving a bit here and there wherever we could as soon as we could. Having been raised quite frugally, it was almost a matter of habit. We lived simply, both worked mid-paying jobs that we enjoyed, raised five children who never went without anything they needed (wanted was sometimes a different story), kept the bills manageable, and had everything paid in full before we retired at 65.

    We still save and, yes, saving makes us happy. Just knowing that if something unexpected happens we can handle it gives us peace of mind. To us that is probably the most important aspect.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I believe “Health & Wealth” are almost equally important. I feel queezy if I don’t have a certain amount of money in savings. That insecurity weighs me down psychologically and affects my health.

    When I say “Health”, I mean overall health-emotional, physical, spiritual and that always involves your relationships especially your relationship to yourself.

  13. freeby50 says:

    Yes having money makes you happier than being broke.

    Honestly I’m not so much a fan of healthy food. I find the unhealthy stuff usually tastes a lot better.

  14. IndianMoney says:

    Most of the things one does is to bring happiness and a feeling of contentment.One might start over eating as a method to drown sorrows which might lead to obesity.Savings bring peace of mind and one is secure in the knowledge that there is a backup plan if things were to go wrong.This kind of security cannot come by over eating and the need for one to manage his finances is a must.

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