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How much do you need to be happy?

How much do you need to be happy?

New research from the States suggests that once we earn $75,000 a year, we’re as happy as we’ll get. Do you agree?


September 7, 2010 3:09 by

Money can’t buy you happiness, they say, but then “they” have presumably never fallen behind on the rent, or found themselves short at the checkout. Now researchers in the States have proven that happiness does indeed increase with income, up to a point.

According to the Daily Mail, feelings of joy and contentment rise along with salary. Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 volunteers about their levels of happiness and satisfaction, and found the lowest earners were the unhappiest. But people found life easier and happier the more they earned.

Once you reach and annual income of $75,000, however, you are unlikely to get happier as your earnings rise above this. So whether you make $100,000, or $250,000, or even more, you’ll experience roughly the same happiness levels as if you were taking home $75,000. The research findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.

The paper says that while a pay rise may initially bring pleasure, it doesn’t last. The Princeton University researchers said: “More money does not necessarily buy more happiness but less money is associated with emotional pain. Perhaps $75,000 is a threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve a person’s ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being – such as spending time with the people they like, avoiding pain and disease and enjoying leisure. It is likely that when income increases above this value the increased ability to purchase positive experience is balanced, on average.”

Kipp wonders if this is true. It could be that, rather than there being a threshold of comfortable earnings, once you get beyond $75,000 you’re likely to be a higher level exec, working a high stress job. So while those people may not be sweating on the mortgage, their levels of happiness could be affected by long hours and heavy responsibilities.

At any rate, the implication is that a job paying you around $75,000 will help you reach optimum levels of happiness. What do you think? How much do you need to be happy?


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