Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 467–515

Financial aspirations, financial success, and overall life satisfaction: who? and how?

  • Carol Nickerson
  • Norbert Schwarz
  • Ed Diener
  • The Gallup Organization

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-006-9026-1

Cite this article as:
Nickerson, C., Schwarz, N., Diener, E. et al. J Happiness Stud (2007) 8: 467. doi:10.1007/s10902-006-9026-1


Nickerson et al. (2003, Psychological Science 14, pp. 531–536) demonstrated in a longitudinal study that the negative relation between aspirations for financial success and subjective well-being found by other researchers was mitigated by high household income. The present study first refined the analysis in Nickerson et al. (2003) and then explored two additional issues: (a) who aspires to financial success? and (b) how is financial success achieved? Analysis indicated that individuals with strong financial aspirations are socially inclined, confident, ambitious, politically conservative, traditional, conventional, and relatively less able academically, but not psychologically distressed. Financial success is achieved via the job and, for women only, via marriage. Financial aspirations influence job income both by influencing choice of occupation and by influencing job income within occupation; however, achieving financial success depends on having the personal resources to do so. Women with strong financial aspirations tend to marry for money (or money-making potential) regardless of their work status; men with strong financial aspirations do not.


financial aspirationsfinancial successgoal achievementgoalsincomelife satisfactionmate preferencesmaterialismmoderatorsmoneysubjective well-beingvalues

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Nickerson
    • 1
  • Norbert Schwarz
    • 2
  • Ed Diener
    • 3
  • The Gallup Organization
  1. 1.ChampaignUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganInstitute of Social ResearchAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA