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Money can’t buy happiness—but giving it away might

giving away moneyMoney can’t buy you love, but giving it away may make you feel better about it. According to a new study, giving it away may actually help you feel happier.

Giving away your money increases your “subjective wealth,” or how well off you feel, experts say. If you have enough money to give some away, then you’re probably comfortable, and an increased sense of power may also contribute to increased happiness.

The study surveyed more than 2,000 people. Of them, 559 received a windfall in the past year, including three who received more than $1 million and were excluded from further study. The remaining respondents received an average windfall of $1,500, with 99 saying they donated about 3 percent to charity. Researchers then asked questions to assess subjective wealth and found that, after compensating for income, donations predicted better feelings of subjective wealth.

Have a favorite charity or cause that’s close to your heart? Consider giving back this year. If donating money isn’t possible, volunteering your time may also be a way to increase your happiness. Research shows volunteering has a positive effect on your perception of how much time you have, helping you feel like you have more free time and are in a better place in life.