Considering the current state of the economy, this research on money and happiness from the University of Rochester should come as good news. Scientists there tracked the goals and satisfaction levels of nearly 150 college graduates two years after they donned their caps and gowns. The grads who earned professional fame and a big paycheck reported lower happiness levels than those who had achieved less lucrative, more personal goals like meaningful relationships or community contributions.
Intrinsic goals like those, say researchers, help satisfy the basic needs of independence and effectiveness that tend to lead to happiness. Extrinsic goals like making money, on the other hand, don't foster the same feelings of autonomy, and that leads to more negative feelings.