43% of Americans Have Gone Into Debt Trying to Buy Happiness 33% Say Money Makes Them Happier Than Love
Friday, January 28th, 2022
LendingTree, the nation's leading online loan marketplace, released its study exploring whether money can buy happiness. The study found that nearly 9 in 10 Americans (88%) have spent money on something to make them happier, and 43% have gone into debt in the pursuit of happiness. Additionally, the study found that while 33% of people say money makes them happier than love, the majority of those who spent money to make themselves happier say it worked only temporarily (54%).
- Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (88%) have spent money on something to make them happier. Travel and food are the top items consumers purchase to find happiness (both 45%), followed by shopping sprees for clothes, shoes, or accessories (42%).
- 43% of Americans have gone into debt in the pursuit of happiness.
- 33% of Americans say money makes them happier than love. Men, millennials, and six-figure earners are most likely to agree (all 38%).
- The majority of those who spent money to make themselves happier say it worked only temporarily (54%). Higher earners are more likely to say it worked completely, while lower earners say it only provided temporary relief.
- Consumers with high incomes are more than twice as likely to believe money buys happiness than those who earn less, and many cite the pandemic. Overall, 19% of Americans think money can buy happiness, while 70% agree it can reduce stress.
To view the full report, visit
LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 2,102 U.S. consumers from Dec. 14-20, 2021. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.
We defined generations as the following ages in 2021:
- Generation Z: 18 to 24
- Millennial: 25 to 40
- Generation X: 41 to 55
- Baby boomer: 56 to 75
While the survey also included consumers from the silent generation (those 76 and older), the sample size was too small to include findings related to that group in the generational breakdowns.