Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Price Point of Happiness

When I get irritated at my so-called lack of material success, I remind myself that I am making more than my parents ever made, even accounting for inflation. In fact, I am solidly middle-class, which is nice considering that my roots are solidly working class.

Now, a new study out of Princeton tells me that I am the point of maximum happiness related to the amount of money I make.

The crucial amount is $75,000 per year. Up to that point, according to the study, more money would make me happier. After that point, having a greater income doesn't significantly impact my general day-to-day happiness.

What the Princeton economists measured was daily satisfaction. For all the whining I do, and for all the debt I have accrued, I find myself in agreement with their findings--I am generally financially happy on a day-to-day basis.

My income easily covers my mortgage, utilities, food and vehicle. If it doesn't so easily cover my credit cards, dining out, gifts to my kids, etc., well, those aren't expenses that are crucial to my well-being.

Do I want more money? You bet. Do I want more stuff? Uh-huh! Do I want the financial freedom that comes with being debt-free? Sure, I do.

But in terms of happiness, I already have it. At least according to the folks at Princeton.

Hmmm--I wonder how much they make per year?


Nicole said...

Probably more than 200K each. How much more I don't know.

Anonymous said...

The dollar figure used to $50,000 per year. Now, today, apparently we need $75,000 to get the same level of happiness.


Janette said...

This finding is bogus. Are they talking about NYC or Milford KS. Are they talking a single person, married, with children....?
AGGG I dislike studies like this one!

Sharon said...

Janette has a great point...I wouldn't be very happy on $75,000 in downtown NYC, but I would be thrilled with that amount in Idaho.

I would be thrilled with my husband's income if it didn't disappear from taxes, etc.

But, I guess I'm finally happy with the day to day...

MasterPo said...

Saw the same article.

100% BS!!!

There is a move in the country now to define-down success, owing to the fact the economy will be in the tank for years and years to come.

IOW, manage down expectations for success while at the same time helping to redefine "rich" to something perversely less and less each round.

Get use to it.

Road traveled said...

Princeton is an expensive place to live. Median income is $95,710 It does have a nice quality of life though. Grace I like your sense of humor. I currently make more then my mom ever did. And I am close to my dad's salary. If I include my Husbands salary we make more then them easy. Yet we still have not been able to purchase a home. I cant wait to be debt free.

Jerry said...

If $75,000 were insurance for happiness there would be a lot more happy people on the planet. Those studies drive me crazy and they lead people to feel less than or inadequate for where they currently are.

Joan said...

My parents made a lot more money in their working lives (my dad retired at 55 after being a contractor for 20 years) than I'll ever be able to make. Regulations and taxes now make it much more difficult to make the kind of money my parents did.

They built a mobile home park as their retirement income but due to state and federal regulations, they wouldn't even be able to build it today.

I pretty much agree that earning over $75,000 doesn't necessarily make you happier. You might have more stuff, a bigger house and more expensive car but we all tend to grow into and exceed the income we do make.