As the saying goes, money can't buy you happiness. But it looks like the reverse is true: Researchers have found that those who are happiest as teens end up out-earning their peers by the time they are 30, making about 10% more than the average. But those who were unhappiest at the ages of 16 and 18 earned 30% less, reports the Guardian. If you weren't so chipper at 16, all is not immediately lost. The analysis of 10,000 people showed that at age 22, a one-point increase on a life-satisfaction scale translated into a bump of about $2,000 in yearly earnings by age 29.
Among the reasons why this is so: The researchers speculate that happiness could lead to optimism, which they posit boosts one's persistence and one's chances of going to college; happy teens may also develop a broader network and find more opportunities presented to them. Says one of the researchers, "If I were to find a person who was very dissatisfied with their life at 20 or 21 and compared them to a person who was very satisfied with their life at that age, the statistical prediction would then be that there's a $10,000 difference between their later earnings." (Read more money stories.)