The Beatles said Can’t Buy Me Love, and that All You Need is Love but a recent study done by Princeton University found that while you can’t buy love, you can buy happiness. In the study, 450,000 Americans were surveyed and analyzed. Between 2008 and 2009, the study found that there are two forms of happiness. There is the happiness that comes from being content day-to-day and there is the happiness that comes from being satisfied with who you are and where you are in the world. The study was done by economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman.
The study discovered that having more money will not increase the contentment you feel on a day-to-day basis, but it will increase the overall satisfaction that you feel in your life.
Not only did the study find that, but it also found that there is a specific dollar amount that gives you the most happiness. Once you go over this dollar amount, the amount of happiness and satisfaction you feel does not increase anymore. Once you hit the plateau of $75,000, your day-to-day happiness no longer increases. So, if you have $1 million, you will have the same amount of happiness that you have at $75,000. Your overall satisfaction can still increase though.
One interesting fact is that the happiness you feel will be based on your income and where you are in a specific country. For example, in the United States, you would need to earn $163,000 in New York City to have the $75,000 level of happiness. In Chicago and Pueblo, Colorado, you would need to earn $84,750 and $62,000 respectively.
This doesn’t mean you are going to buy your happiness with things but money will help you feel better in your life. When you are living paycheque-to-paycheque in your life and you are wondering how you are going to pay your bills, you are often not very happy. However, as time goes on and you make more money, you will begin to feel better and happier. Waking up in the morning knowing you won’t lose your house will make you happier and more content. When you know you have enough money to go out for food, to buy some of the things you want and to go on vacations, you will be happier.
Now, that all being said, if you are going to be happy with your $75,000, then you cannot decide to just go and live a $100,000 lifestyle. You need to live within your limits because if you don’t you are going to suffer financial stress that is going to lower your contentment and happiness. Remember, live within your limits and that way you will be happy. In American right now, millions of people are living outside of their means and that puts immense financial stress on their lives and their families. You do not want that, so make sure you have your happiness at a price you can afford.
If you don’t make $75,000 you can still be happy, but that $75,000 limit is something you should shoot for to be financially happy and emotionally content within your life.
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A Dawn Journal December 2008 Archive