Leading article: Money, money, money...

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The Independent Online

It is giving away money that really makes us happy, say researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Those who spend money on others are generally happy people, a study of 632 American men and women indicated.

Participants in an experiment were given money and told to either spend it on themselves or give it away. When the day was done, those who gave it away felt much happier than those who indulged themselves. "How people spend their money is at least as important as how much money they earn," concluded the team leader, Professor Elizabeth Dunn.

That explains why Heather Mills looked so angry and unhappy as she left court this week after securing a £24m divorce settlement from her ex-husband Sir Paul McCartney. Sir Paul, you may have noticed, looked as happy as Larry. No doubt Ms Mills will cheer up as she disperses her millions to charity.

And now we can understand the glum look on Gordon Brown's face since he achieved his ambition to become Prime Minister. Once, when the economy was booming, he was pouring millions into the NHS and other services. Now he must preside over a miserable period of economic retrenchment and caution. He should hasten to close all those tax loopholes used by the rich so that they can experience the joy that the rest of us feel every time we settle up with HM Revenue and Customs.

So when you are out and about today, buy a copy of The Big Issue, put some money in the collection box, make out a banker's order to the charity of your choice, and let your children have the computer game they have been pestering you about for weeks. You know you really want to. It will make you happy.