If you ask most people whether a pay rise would make them more happy, they would I’m sure typically answer in the affirmative… Of course a pay rise would make people more happy – wouldn’t it?

Well maybe yes, and maybe no.

Think of the last pay rise you received and ask yourself this question “Did that pay rise increase my overall sense of well-being?”

In an article posted in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Diener, E., Tay, L., & Oishi, S. 2012, October 29,) titled Rising Income and the Subjective Well-Being of Nations, the researchers have come to what seems to be a fairly obvious and yet often misunderstood conclusion.

As income rises, their research suggests that subjective well-being or SWB (what I refer to as a happy, flourishing and prosperous life) also rises.

So this would appear again to refute the old adage that money can’t buy you happiness – their research suggests it can… but with a caveat (isn’t there always).

What the researchers found was that as income rises, subjective well-being also rises, but only when it leads to “greater optimism, financial satisfaction, and household material prosperity.”

Caveat One: Will the pay-rise make you more positive?

Without going into the finer detail of the research, basically it’s saying that if you get a pay rise and you don’t feel any more positive about your future (with or without the pay rise), then your overall sense of well-being probably won’t improve. In other words, it’s nice to have, and sure, you wouldn’t want to knock it back, but it really won’t make that much difference to how you feel about your potential to live a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.

Caveat Two: Will the pay-rise make you more financially satisified?

The research is also suggesting that if you get a pay rise and yet your overall sense of financial satisfaction is not increased, (in other words, you want a bigger pay rise) your overall sense of well-being is unlikely to be positively impacted.

Caveat Three: Will the pay-rise make you more materially satisfied?

And the third caveat is if you did get a pay rise, but you weren’t able to increase your household material prosperity (the stuff you really want to own), then again, your overall sense of well-being is unlikely to be positively impacted.

All that being said, I’m pretty confident that when an offer of a pay rise comes along, regardless of what the research tells us, most of us (if not all of us) would gladly accept it. The real challenge then is to make sure, not just with the increase in income, but with the existing income you’re earning, to ensure that you’re choosing to spend it on and invest it in, intentional actions and activities that you’ve mindfully considered to be those actions and activities that will most likely increase your overall sense of well-being and help you live a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.

The question then is, what intentional actions and activities should you choose to spend this well-earned pay rise and your current income on? The answer to this really comes down to the application of the Intentionomics Blueprint of 9 Inescapable Truths For A Prosperous Life. Each inescapable truth is designed to help you gain mindful clarity on the actions and activities most likely to provide you with the biggest positive impact on your sense of well-being and on living a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.