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Harvard Study: Love Can Buy You Money

Triumphs of Experience
Harvard study finds love can buy you money. Men in warmest relationships earned $141,000 more annually in peak salary years.

“Happiness is love. Full stop.”


Harvard study found men with the warmest relationships earned $141,000 more than others during their peak salary years.

While money can’t buy you love, a Harvard study suggests love can buy you money.

Harvard researchers began following the lives of 268 male undergraduates in 1938. Twenty million dollars and 75 years later, the longitudinal study revealed “men who scored highest on the measurements of ‘warm relationships’ earned an average of $141,000 a year more during their peak salaries (between ages 55-60) than men who scored lowest.”

Professor George Vaillant directed the study for more than three decades, and published the findings in Triumphs of Experience.

The Atlantic highlighted Vaillant’s work as creating “a refreshing conversation about health and illness as weather patterns in a common space.”

“Much of what is labeled mental illness,” Vaillant writes, “simply reflects our ‘unwise’ deployment of defense mechanisms. If we use defenses well, we are deemed mentally healthy, conscientious, funny, creative, and altruistic. If we use them badly, the psychiatrist diagnoses us ill, our neighbors label us unpleasant, and society brands us immoral.”

Seth Eisenberg, CEO of PAIRS Foundation, a longtime industry leader in marriage and relationship education, agrees. With more than 90,000 fans on Facebook, Eisenberg said the group’s skills training approach has become widely accepted for its impact teaching distressed couples to replace negative cycles of crisis and distance with positive experiences of love and intimacy.

“As a society, we’re increasingly recognizing the value of evidence-based skills training as most likely to help people become happier in their relationships,” Eisenberg said.

While many researchers have considered the cost of marriage problems, the Harvard study makes the case for men, especially, to invest in creating greater marital harmony and happiness, he added.

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