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Getting more money often leads to immediate satisfaction. The good feelings might not last.

Wed, Jan 24, 2024 1:05pmGrey Clock 4 min

Up and down the income ladder, people say more money would make them happier. When they actually get it, that isn’t always the case.

Some people who have gotten big raises recently say the money hasn’t changed their day-to-day life or hasn’t provided them as much joy as the things in their life that have nothing to do with money. Others were hoping for a bigger raise or felt conflicted about making more money.

Jess Tapia, a 28-year-old accountant in Hoffman Estates, Ill., thought for years that $90,000 was a salary that would make her happy. When a raise of about $20,000 pushed her pay to that level last February, it did—at first.

To celebrate, Tapia booked a vacation to Germany the next month. The good vibes soon wore off.

“By the time I came back from that trip, it kind of fell flat for me because it was just back to normal, back to the routine,” she said.

The past few years have been good ones for workers seeking higher pay. Median year-over-year wage growth hit a recent peak of 6.7% in summer 2022, after mostly staying below 4% for more than a decade before 2021, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Many of those who switched jobs, or threatened to, made substantial salary gains.

And people with higher incomes do tend to be happier, many studies show. Research looking at lotteries and random cash giveaways indicates that additional money can make people happier for months or even years.

But moving up the income scale, it takes more money to generate the same good feelings, said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, an economics professor at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford who studies well-being. The proportion of the increase matters.

“If an employer moves somebody from $15,000 to $30,000, that will have an impact on people’s life satisfaction that is the equivalent of them moving somebody from, say, $60,000 to $120,000,” De Neve said.

More is more

A pay increase that takes someone from financially stressed to financially stable often leads to more happiness. At the low end of the earnings spectrum, a higher income is associated more with squashing negative feelings than producing positive ones, according to a 2021 paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Randeep Chauhan, a 30-year-old nurse in Ferndale, Wash., went from making about $45,000 in 2021 to $90,000 in 2022 after completing a one-year nursing program.

“Doubling my income didn’t double my happiness, but it came close,” he said.

For Chauhan, much of the happiness boost came from being able to stop worrying about being able to cover his family’s monthly bills. He said his blood pressure dropped to a healthy level after his change in pay, which he attributes largely to the drop-off in financial stress.

If you get a raise, don’t just spend it, said Neela Hummel, a financial planner and the co-CEO of Abacus Wealth Partners.

“The worst thing that can happen with a raise is that that money gets immediately folded into cash flow and a client doesn’t even notice it,” she said.

Many people also jump ahead to how nice a car or how big a house they could afford with a new paycheck. Instead, Hummel advises, take the raise as an opportunity to up your savings or pay down debt.

Chauhan said he has avoided lifestyle creep, putting money toward retirement savings and student loans instead of buying a new computer or phone. “There’s a weird rush in making money and not spending it,” he said.

Austin Benacquisto’s pay has rocketed upward over the past few years. The 29-year-old commercial debt broker in Atlanta made roughly $60,000 in 2019, $110,000 in 2020, $180,000 in 2021 and $325,000 in 2022, including bonuses.

His steps up to $110,000 and $180,000 felt better than the one up to $325,000, he said.

“The last 50,000 I made in 2022 just was for stuff in my house that I wanted,” he said.

Benacquisto’s pay fell to about $200,000 last year as his industry slowed down. The drop felt worse than the recent increases felt good, he said.

“This being the first decrease, it definitely stings,” he said.

The paycheck next door

People’s happiness with their pay is strongly tied to how it compares with the pay of others around them, say researchers who study compensation. Sometimes, those comparisons rankle.

A 30% raise made Ryan Powell less happy at work.

Powell, a 38-year-old finance director for a manufacturer in western North Carolina, received that pay bump in 2022. He had been hoping for more based on the salary information he had heard from recruiters, peers in the industry and his M.B.A. cohort.

The initial thrill of the raise lasted about three months, he said.

“The further I got into it, the more I was realizing that I was anchored to the higher number,” he said.

Executives are more likely to leave their companies if their pay is low compared with other top bosses, according to a 2017 study in the journal Human Resource Management.

Comparisons matter closer to home, too. Living in an area where people tend to make more money than you is linked to being less happy, according to a 2005 paper in The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

One reason that Tapia, the accountant in Illinois, isn’t happier after her raises is that she feels guilt about making more money than her parents ever did. Her dad works in construction and landscaping.

“I work from home mostly, I’m comfortable and I’m always indoors. During summertime, he’s sometimes outside working 10 hours in 100-degree weather,” she said.

Tapia recently got another raise of roughly $10,000. She again booked a vacation to Europe but is hoping to extend her joy further this time.

“I’m starting to feel like this is going to plateau, so let me try and make the feeling last a little longer with this trip,” she said.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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Preparatory Work for UAE to Oman Hafeet Rail Project Commences at Full Speed

Preparations have begun on the transformative UAE to Oman Hafeet Rail network, revealing significant construction details during a site visit.

Thu, May 16, 2024 3 min

The $3bn Hafeet Rail project between the UAE and Oman will feature 60 bridges and a 2.5km tunnel, making it an “architectural and engineering marvel,” according to CEO Ahmed Al Musawa Al Hashemi.

Hafeet Rail has announced that preparatory work is moving full speed ahead for constructing the transformative railway link between the UAE and Oman. This announcement was made during a site visit attended by key officials, members of the Asyad and Hafeet Rail executive management teams, project contractors, and consultants.

Key Highlights

During the visit, attendees were introduced to the main components of the project, including passenger, repair, and shipping stations, as well as major bridges and tunnel sites.

The Hafeet Rail project is set to play a very important role in enhancing local and regional trade, unlocking new opportunities in the infrastructure, transportation, and logistics sectors, and fostering economic diversification. It will also strengthen bilateral relations between the UAE and Oman.

The project will involve constructing 60 bridges, some reaching heights of up to 34 meters, and tunnels extending 2.5 kilometres. The Hafeet Rail team showcased the latest rail technologies and innovative engineering and architectural solutions designed to navigate the challenging geographical terrain and weather conditions while maintaining high standards of efficiency and safety.

The rail network will boost various industrial sectors and economic activities and significantly impact the tourism industry by facilitating easier and faster travel between the two countries.

Ahmed Al Bulushi, Asyad Group Chief Executive Asset, noted that the project’s rapid progress reflects the commitment of the UAE and Oman to developing and realizing the project’s multifaceted benefits.

Investment and Future Impact

Al Bulushi added that investments in developing local capabilities and expertise in rail-related disciplines over recent years have enabled the project to reach the implementation phase successfully under the leadership of highly efficient and professional national talent.

Hafeet Rail’s CEO Ahmed Al Musawa Al Hashemi emphasized, “The commencement of preparatory works for construction is a testament to the robust synergy between all parties involved in both nations, achieving this milestone in record time. We are confidently laying down the right tracks thanks to the shareholders of Hafeet Rail and the expertise of local companies in Oman and the UAE, alongside international partners.”

During the site visit, the visitors explored some of the key preparatory sites, including Wadi Al Jizi, where a 700-meter-long bridge towering 34 meters will be constructed. This ambitious project is envisioned as an architectural and engineering marvel in a complex geographical landscape.

Future phases will require more collaboration, with a continued focus on quality, safety, and environmental considerations in line with the international industry best practices.

The Hafeet Rail project represents the first-of-its-kind railway network linking two Gulf nations, marking a significant shift in regional goods transportation. This efficient and reliable transportation option will reduce dependence on slower and less sustainable road transport.

Hafeet Rail promises a 40% reduction in shipping costs and a 50% in transit times compared to traditional land transportation methods, as it will be connecting five major ports and several industrial and free zones in both countries.

This shift will reduce reliance on road transport by cars and trucks and promote more sustainable shipping practices. The establishment of the railway network will also create significant opportunities for SMEs in construction, engineering, and logistics support, acting as a catalyst for economic growth and innovation within the domestic economy.

By linking major ports, the Hafeet Rail project will enable local SMEs to import, export, and distribute their products more effectively, enhancing their market reach and global competitiveness.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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