We’ve all heard that old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.”
According to a recent Gallup poll, money, at least to a certain level, apparently does buy happiness.
Several years ago, Gallup surveyed 450,000 Americans and suggested that two forms of happiness were measured: day-to-day contentment and overall satisfaction with one’s place in the world.
As people earn more money, their day-to-day happiness rises, but only to a point. The point was $75,000. After that, it wasn’t important. It just bought you more stuff.
This is not to say that more money does not increase overall happiness. Apparently, it does.
Someone earning $150,000 seems to feel better about their overall well-being than someone earning $90,000, but not in day-to-day happiness.
According to Princeton economist Angus Deaton, one of the team who conducted the survey, “Giving people more income beyond $75,000 is not going to do much for their daily mood…but it is going to make them feel they have a better life.
“As an economist,” he added, “I tend to think that money is good for you, and am pleased to find some evidence for that.”
According to Robert Frank and Phil Izzo of the Wall Street Journal, $75,000 doesn’t buy as much as in New York City as it does in South Dakota.
Using the Kiplinger.com cost of living index, the happiness salary would vary widely across the nation.
For example, New Yorkers would have to earn about $163,000 to achieve the $75,000 level; in Chicago, $84,750.
It took the least amount of money to achieve happiness in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Pueblo, Colorado, where a $62,000 salary buys $75,000 worth of happiness.
Based on a 2,080-hour work year, it would take about $36 per hour to make it to the $75,000 level.
Although the details of the survey are not clear, I am assuming this is a “take home” number. You need to raise the gross number to allow for taxes and other withholdings.
So what do you think?
Do you think money buys happiness?
Are you in a better mood around payday?
My guess is that it is not that simple.
Debt has a huge impact on happiness—especially large amounts of debt. There are many factors besides money that impact our moods.
Consider health, emotional issues like family relationships, and job status.
I know lots of folks who would trade all they have for better health or improved family harmony.
How about you?