Do it for the money–you’ll be happier

By Jessica Jenks

Money does not buy experiential happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery,” said Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who is considered the founder of behavioral economics, at a Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference this year.

Kahneman surveyed over 600,000 Americans and his research found that people earning less than $60,000 per year were unhappy. The less money people earn the more unhappy they are; however, no matter how much more than $60,000 people earned, they were equally happy.

When choosing a major, students should figure out which majors have the highest earning potential. Then they should narrow those down to the three that will give them the best chance of getting a job right after graduation. After that the student should decide which of those three majors he or she enjoys the most. I am basing my argument in the assumption that everyone wants to live a happy existence. This country was founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Definitely choose your major based on the potential paycheck, because you don’t get the luxury to do what you love unless you establish yourself first,” said Martha Misch, senior organizational corporate communications major. She changed from a business major to a communications major after participating in the Disney College Program. Misch realized she could major in communication and go back to work for Disney after she graduates.

The reason I do not say to pick the major you enjoy most that has the potential of earning $60,000 per year is because things change. Maybe this year the magic happiness number is $60,000, but students cannot be sure that will be true in five or 10 years. Plus, student loans do not just pay themselves.

Somewhere down the road, the student will most likely want to start a family. Perhaps the chosen spouse decided on a major, and could not find a job in that field of study after graduation. Maybe the spouse does not earn the magic happiness number of dollars per year. Then the students want to have children. Babies are expensive, and incredibly stressful. As the children grow up they will need money for food, school, clothes and entertainment. The more money the family has, the easier the parents can provide for the children without having to stress about how they are going to come up with the money. Logically thinking, more money equals less stress, and less stress equals a happier person.

Money might be the root of all evil, but it takes money to survive in the world. Students should pick a major that provides jobs that allow the kind of lifestyle the student wants to live.

A person who wants to drive a Porsche, be able to go on multiple vacations to exotic locations every year and have six children probably should not be a kindergarten teacher.

Obviously that is an exaggerated example, but one has to figure out what he or she wants first then do what it takes to get it.

Once a student graduates and has a job that allows for the lifestyle of choice, free time can be spent on the activities he or she loves.

Because when one has enough money, he or she can buy a big house that has so much room for activities.