Think landing a new high-paying job will solve all your woes? Or that winning the lottery is the literal ticket to bliss? Think again — You have a roof over your head, a decent car, the ability to eat what you want, when you want it, enough money to take a vacation every so often and some left to save for the future … Researchers agree you’re unlikely to see a mood boost as you add to that pot. Money only buys happiness to a point: As long as you can meet all of your basic needs and some of your wants, a higher income won’t raise your level of satisfaction.

What will make you happier? Skydiving, perhaps. Or taking in a great concert. In other words … doing something. Research shows that spending on experiences — rather than things — can make us happier, as does buying things for others, or giving to charity. The lesson: If you do come into some extra income — and all of your basic needs and savings goals are met — take yourself on a vacation, and bring a friend. And that’s Money Rule No. 7: More money won’t always make you more happy.

Go ahead, share this Money Rule with your friends. I’m Jean Chatzky.

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