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What Makes People Happy?

AARP study shows that friends, family and good health are key

Fido beats out Facebook.

A relationship with a pet was found to be a strong indicator of happiness, particularly among older women and singles. At the bottom of the list: our virtual relationships. Connecting with friends or family on a social media site like Facebook came in 37th out of 38 activities important to happiness.

Money is no guarantee of happiness.

Feeling happy increases with income, and conversely, lack of resources is tied to unhappiness. Still, overall, less than a third of people said that money made them happy.

Happiness is in your own hands.

Most people feel they have control over their own personal happiness — and that sense of control increases with age. What’s more, people who feel in control are clearly happier — reporting that they are more than twice as happy as those who think that happiness is out of their control.

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Money maven Jean Chatzky has some advice about decision-making. One of her "money rules" is that the more time you spend agonizing over a money decision, the less happy you'll be. Often, "good enough" is best.

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