Good karma is now officially a statistical fact. And you can thank a study conducted by the finance giant MassMutual for that.
We can now say with confidence (perhaps even a 95 percent confidence interval) that, yes, being a good person does have a financial benefit.
Start by crunching the numbers.
The MassMutual 2018 Financial Wellness and Community Involvement Study took a nationally representative sample of 10,000 US adults and asked them questions about their relationships with others, the benefits of those relationships, and their financial confidence.
These questions were asked to challenge the company’s “Live Mutual” philosophy. This revolves around the idea that depending on each other leads to happier, more secure, and fulfilling lives—whether that means trusting someone with a loan or helping your neighbor take in their groceries.
But when you’re a leader in a statistics and data-driven industry you don’t just scream your philosophy from the rooftops. You prove it. This meant putting the full force of one of the country’s leading financial institutions—and its statistics experts—behind a simple question: Does being a good person make you more successful?
And what did the American people have to say? MassMutual—which is the number one writer of whole life policies in the country—found that people involved in their communities, especially their own neighborhoods, were rewarded not only personally but also financially.
Good people make great neighbors.
Do you volunteer? Do you host events? Is your community limited to your group of friends? Or does it include your whole neighborhood? How confident are you in your financial well-being? These types of questions informed the results of a survey that ultimately found there is a strong association between people doing good deeds in their communities and their feeling of financial well-being.
Examples of these good deeds include anything from volunteering at a local food bank to helping a neighbor carry groceries.
Among other findings, MassMutual’s researchers identified differences among age groups in terms of not only the type of involvement they were more likely to perform but also the definitions they have of community.
Older people (73+) are more likely to donate money or time, according to the study. Gen Z and Millennials (anyone 36 or younger), on the other hand, were more likely to host and attend social events.
Why the differences? There’s still more work for MassMutual employees to do in order to better understand these disparate views. However, it may have to do with the different definitions of community, most of which listed geography and many of which included culture, values, and lifestyle.
They make even better employees (probably).
So, what gives?
Well, people who do good deeds and care about the well-being of others are more likely to: 1) Be positive about the future. 2) Have more faith in those around them to help them out in a tough situation.
This positivity affects everything from believing in their own ability to accomplish long-term goals to having more confidence about the stability of their job (both of which are major factors in someone’s financial outlook). Essentially, wholesome, trusting people can inspire similar traits in those around them—so they’re not as worried about their future.
The best news is, there’s plenty of goodness to go around. About half of all people who responded said that they were involved with their neighborhoods. The MassMutual team summarized it this way:
“Those who place a premium on community involvement have unexpected benefits, with approximately six in 10 being either comfortable or confident in their current and future financial well-being.”
How’s that for living mutual?
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