how much must you earn to be happy? that would be $75K a year for you.

Every week heralds some new study about what makes us happy. I always like the money ones. We all rather love to hear that having a lot of money doesn’t bring happiness. Thank the Lord, hey! Those poor rich suckers…barkin’ up the wrong tree, aren’t they!?


But what do you make of this new Princeton University study that shows that earning around $75,000 a year makes us most happy?

An article published on on Monday says: “The lower a person’s income falls below ($75K), the unhappier he or she feels. But no matter how much more than $75,000 people make, they don’t report any greater degree of happiness.”

This is an American study, but I reckon it would hold sway, dollar-for-dollar, here, too. No one likes talking about income. I have no idea what my closest friends earn, or my siblings. We guard this information as though to let people know what we earn would reveal too much about …what…? ….how much we squirrel away, how easy we have it, how unfair we might have life, how incapable we are (to derive more $$ from our boss). That said, I can see that $75K would make most of us feel safe, that we can tick off the basic boxes (house, food, holiday) and deal with life from a stable footing.


And I can also see that when people earn more than that figure, they face really annoying, boggy decisions about how to spend that extra money. I see it all the time. More money means more complications and let-downs. Rich people buy $150K cars that are valued at $30K two years later. That’s got to hurt. Rich people worry about their kitchen appliances matching. If you don’t have the cash, such inanity doesn’t enter your zone.
Or they find themselves spending the extra $$ on crap, which makes them feel empty. I live in an area where most people would earn well over $75K. Most people around me buy crap. It makes me sad to watch the cycle they get themselves in. There really is a lot to be said for having parameters – to have a reason to reign in, to be a little conservative. I’ve always quite liked that I haven’t been able to afford the clothes and cars my peers buy. Because it means I don’t have to go shopping for it!! And deliberate on things!!! I think I’m far more creative for it.
That said:
The study points out that there are actually two types of happiness. There’s your changeable, day-to-day mood: whether you’re stressed or blue or feeling emotionally sound. Then there’s the deeper satisfaction you feel about the way your life is going — the kind of thing Tony Robbins tries to teach you. While having an income above the magic $75,000 cutoff doesn’t seem to have an impact on the former (emotional well-being), it definitely improves people’s Robbins-like life satisfaction. In other words, the more people make above $75,000, the more they feel their life is working out on the whole. But it doesn’t make them any more jovial in the mornings.
What do you reckon? Does more $$ make you feel like your life is working out?  Or can you distance yourself from that expectation?
On other matters….I’m interviewing Sir Richard Branson in Melbourne on the weekend!!! Which is pretty gnarly…
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