The death this week of Britain’s youngest lottery winner Stuart Donnelly has reignited the perennial debate about the link between money and happiness.
It didn’t make Donnelly happy who, according to reports, had experienced nothing but trouble since winning about £2 million in 1997 when aged only 17.
Over a decade since the big win, Donnelly admitted on his Bebo page that he didn’t like socialising much, listing his hobbies as: ‘Sleeping, watching TV, listening to music, surfing the net. Basically, anything that involves not leaving the house.’
“He claimed to hate Christmas and weddings, adding: ‘At least funerals have a point to them’,” the Daily Mail reported.
Donnelly sounds like a typical troubled teen to me and perhaps the instant wealth received at a young age enabled him to continue to play that role well beyond the time we would tolerate it in other, less financially endowed, individuals.
The story appears to validate the cliche that money can’t buy happiness but if cash can’t do it, what will?
There is a growing body of academic research attempting to get to the bottom of that question, inspiring a Dutch researcher to create the ‘World Database of Happiness‘.
According to this ‘Freakonomics‘ piece, however, money really can make us happy.
“The facts about income and happiness turn out to be much simpler than first realised,” the article says.
1) Rich people are happier than poor people.
2) Richer countries are happier than poorer countries.
3) As countries get richer, they tend to get happier.
“Moreover, each of these facts seems to suggest a roughly similar relationship between income and happiness.”
Donnelly may have simply been an anomaly. Rest in peace.