It is natural to assume that accumulating more possessions will lead to a better, happier life; but the results of studies done by economists prove otherwise. Robert Frank, a professor of economics at
Materialism among the youth is especially alarming and deserving of public attention because attitude toward wealth affects decisions regarding education, career, and family life. The American Freshman National Norms for Fall 2006 how that students attending their second choice institutions listed “being offered financial aid” and “the cost of the college” as two of the top five important reasons influencing their college choice (8). Even before entering the work force, many students are already concerned about or even burdened by the cost of their education. The importance of financial concern in the process of decision-making is also likely to be reflected in the students’ choice of jobs after college. Since earning high income and buying luxury goods do not guarantee long-term high life satisfaction, selecting a job solely based on the amount written on the paycheck would be unwise. Instead one should consider the intrinsic elements of the job, such as the freedom to use creativity and to work independently. While the media are presenting wealth as the key to happiness, educators have the responsibility to inform young people of the limited effects of income on life satisfaction. Happiness and its sources should be introduced in high school or even in middle school, before students start making decisions about higher education or work. Like civics and economics, subjective wellbeing deserves to be a required course. Outside the classroom the spread of information can be promoted through providing welfare study data and results in school career planning centers and academic advisors’ offices. Even basic understanding of the topic can shape our youth into more responsible consumers and better policy makers in the future.