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Good Question: Does Money Equal Happiness?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The odds of winning the Powerball are about 171 million to 1. But a $2 ticket does buy you a chance to dream.

And probably a whole new group of friends you never knew you had.

Trouble is, happiness and money don’t always go hand in hand.

Does that money buy you happiness?

“The answer to that question has been studied emphatically — no,” said Dr. Alan Steed. “It does not buy you happiness.”

Steed is a psychologist with Allina Health Systems. He’s familiar with a study conducted by Princeton University that shows most people believe just $75,000 would take care of their financial worries.

“I’ve heard that figure go down as low as $12,000,” he said.

Steed says that winning the lottery can actually create a burden. More people want something from you, and financial success still isn’t guaranteed. Ninety percent of people who win the lottery lose nearly all of it in five years or less.

“There is a study that says wealthier people have more negative emotions,” Steed said. “Maybe that’s because they are worried about what they have, or maintaining the lifestyle they now have.”

Steed said what really makes people happy is knowing they make just a little more money than others in their age range. He says a smart Powerball winner will take care of their financial obligations. What happens with the rest, can make all the difference.

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