How much is enough? On average, about $75,000 per year

How much is enough? On average, about $75,000 per year

A few weeks ago I wrote about how money really can buy happiness, but how much money is enough?

A big-screen TV isn't a ticket to happiness, but a vacation might be. Giving your money away can boost your well-being, and so can investing it in time with your family.

A new study from Princeton hangs a price tag on that happiness: $75,000 [PDF summary]. That's the annual household income that gives you the most joy for your buck. People with incomes below that magic number report less happiness, overall, than those at or above it.

The effect levels off after $75,000, though. As your income increases, your cheerfulness also increases, but the good cheer plateaus around $75,000. Another $25,000 a year — or even another $100,000 a year — will make you richer, but it won't make you much happier.

Related >> Money CAN buy you happiness

The Magic Number?

It's not that $75,000 is enough money to let you buy anything you want. Anyone supporting a family on that salary knows you still have plenty of careful budgeting to do. Rather, it's that Stuff doesn't make you happy. A bigger income buys you more Stuff, but the emotional satisfaction of having it wears off quickly.

Why $75,000? Because that's the magic number at which most Americans can pay their basic living expenses and have a little something left over for the good things they want in life. Or, as the Nobel-prize winning research team who ran the study put it:

More money does not necessarily buy more happiness, but less money is associated with emotional pain. Perhaps 75,000 dollars is a threshold beyond which further increase in income no longer improve individuals' ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure.

They're talking about the sense of day to day joy that comes into your life when you have Enough. If you've read Your Money or Your Life, you surely recall their graph of how money affects our moods. From poverty up through plenty, they chart a curve. At the peak, you have Enough: your living expenses are covered, your future is secure, and you have some fun money to spend on the things you enjoy.

Beyond Enough, the curve dives downward into clutter, stress, competition and an array of other sorry outcomes.

Fulfillment curve
Note: This is J.D.'s representation of the Fulfillment Curve from Your Money or Your Life.
This new study's findings would seem to contradict this curve.

Sadly for us frugal types, the researchers didn't find that to be true. Accruing more money won't make you happier on a day-to-day basis, but the super-rich do score higher than the middle class on another axis of happiness.

Life Assessment

The technical term for this one is “life assessment”, and it simply means how satisfied with your life you are overall. The wealthy see themselves as more successful than the middle class do even though their wealth doesn't bring them joy.

Partly that's because wealth allows them to achieve more of their dreams. I'd bet that part of it, too, is simply the high value our culture places on being rich. If everyone around you is striving to die with the biggest bank account, and you have it, you feel like a winner.

You don't have to be super-rich to achieve your dreams and be satisfied with your life, though. Many people do that even on a fraction of the $75,000 it takes to get most of us to the Enough place.

They do it by knowing what they want, being disciplined with what they have, and celebrating their achievements. They've stepped far enough out of the cycle of consumption to stop wanting More More More all the time. They have Enough, at whatever salary they're earning.

How do you find your own personal money Enough?

How Much Money is Enough?

Knowing where you are is, as Your Money Or Your Life makes clear, essential. You need to know how much you earn, how much you have in assets and liabilities, and how much you're likely to make during your career. You need to know this because without it, you can't get clarity about what you want.

Knowing your net worth doesn't automatically get you that clarity, though. You need to set an intention. For me, that process started with a brainstorming session with my partner. We laid out three categories of financial priorities:

  • Laying a foundation. These are the essentials of good financial hygiene: being out of debt, providing for our future, covering all our basic living expenses.
  • Quality of life. This category included things we value but don't need to survive, like a good education for our children. We'd be unhappy if we couldn't pay for our Quality of Life priorities, but not in danger of homelessness.
  • Beyond the basics. This was the daydream category. It includes things like travel and giving to charity. All the things I love to do, but often can't because I'm putting my dollars into those first two layers of financial life.

Once we'd created this blueprint for managing our money, we got real specific. We want to fund our retirement. Great. How much do we need to retire on? What resources do we have to create that nest egg? We want our kids to have a great education. Great. What kind of education? How much will that cost?

By being specific about what we wanted, we were able to put a price tag on each of our goals. An overall picture emerged of what Enough would mean for us. In the parlance of this research I've been discussing, we were able to see what it would cost to buy our vision of happiness.

About $80,000 a year. Since we live in a fairly high cost-of-living city, so this number is well within range of the $75,000 Princeton's scientists came up with when looking at the whole country.

The number is beside the point, though. What matters is the exercise of understanding your priorities, and knowing what your dreams cost. Whether you do this and discover that your personal Enough is $30,000 or $300,000, you'll be better off for having a clear sense of what you're striving for, financially.

I distilled all that complex brainstorming and math into a single index card. I keep it on my desk. It says, “My money Enough” at the top, and then lists the goals I'm working towards. It's an inspiration when I'm tempted to slack off on my saving or my career.

More about...Psychology

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Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

As Grace from Graceful retirement pointed out, it is ironic that the Princeton professors who wrote the study are making a heck of a lot more than 75K/year. Maybe they’re just making 75K per person in their household.

Or maybe they just feel more successful. Or they’re above average in their enough.

uncertain algorithm
uncertain algorithm
9 years ago

I found the study fascinating, but lacking. Although an increase in income is nice, accruing money in the bank deflects a ton of stress. I would love to see a study compare wealth amounts (millions of dollars in assets and so on) and fulfillment.

As far as happiness is concerned, provided that happiness is not the goal, one will be happy.

Bananen
Bananen
9 years ago

That number probably changes according to the general wealth in society. In 1990 10,000 inflation-controlled dollars would have been more than enough.

Besides, the 75,000 is an average and most possibly varies between people. Some are satisfied with much less, while others need millions to be happy.

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  Bananen

I survive on le$s than 800.00 a month. You do not absolutely have to have every single thing that you see hear of or read about that’s just an illusion that commercials want you to believe

leslie
leslie
9 years ago

I am pretty sure someone making $75,000 raising a family of 4 in a high cost of living local like San Francisco if far less “happy” with that number than a single person making the same amount in Iowa.

There are so very many variables in the discussion of money/happiness that I tend to disregard these sorts of studies as only marginally valuable. They bring up interesting points for discussion but the numbers they come up with really mean very little when applied across the board to a large, diverse population.

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  leslie

The richest 1% of the world have 99% of the money in America, that leaves only one single percent to spread across the board of all the rest of us the 99% of us one of these days 99 people out of a hundred are going to end up doing something that could have been prevented it is very sad that these movie stars and what politicians take their millions and hundreds of Millions and more for granted completely and misuse the money to commit crimes to steal more money it’s this entire government is based on keeping the poor… Read more »

Laura
Laura
9 years ago

“It’s not that $75,000 is enough money to let you buy anything you want. Anyone supporting a family on that salary knows you still have plenty of careful budgeting to do.” Do you really? I find it incredible that you’re even discussing whether $75,000 is really that much. Heck, my annual white-collar salary (without taxes) is around $30,000, I support a husband and kids on that amount and that, I’d say, requires ‘careful budgeting’. I simply cannot imagine the careful budgeting supposedly required of a similar family on $75,000. Unless you buy a limo and a polo pony for all… Read more »

April
April
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

I thought the same when we made $25,000 9 years ago. I thought if we could only make $30,000 a year that would be perfect. But frankly we now make $80,000 and we are only a little less tight on regular day to day things than we always were. If you are RESPONSIBLE with a larger income– things are NOT luxurious, but they are comfortable. I tend to look at a high income like $80,000 NOT as a luxury anymore but as means to be comfortably frugal, generous with the church and poor, and life long sustaining (save a lot… Read more »

john
john
6 years ago
Reply to  April

Interesting break down of your expenses. That’s why only one child was conceivable for us. Not because we’d rather have good cars or a bigger home, but because there’s a lot more that most Americans pay not mentioned. If those are your only expenses, you’re doing well. There are student loans I have to pay, health insurance at 43 for me is hardly $150..you are lucky there. Mine is $420 and that’s not for my son. And most people my age also have usually above a $300 monthly premiums do, more with dependents. I’ve actually decided to do without cable… Read more »

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  john

The richest 1% of the world have 99% of the money in America, that leaves only one single percent to spread across the board of all the rest of us the 99% of us one of these days 99 people out of a hundred are going to end up doing something that could have been prevented it is very sad that these movie stars and what politicians take their millions and hundreds of Millions and more for granted completely and misuse the money to commit crimes to steal more money it’s this entire government is based on keeping the poor… Read more »

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  April

If you make $80,000 a year and you can’t afford a flat screen TV, I live on 8 252 a year so I have a flat screen TV it was real cheap ghosted me like $100 I think bought it from a friend you can find them anywhere for a hundred just about I think people like to pretend like they don’t have as much money as they really do so that they could don’t have to feel guilty about not giving any of it to anybody thank you for your time Rich 1%

Mike
Mike
8 months ago
Reply to  David Lolley

@David Lolley: Drop the media rhetoric about the 1%. $80,000 per year is no where near the 1%. He average 1%er earns over $1,300,000 per year, so April is also part of the 99%. Just closer to the top of the 99% Han the bottom.

Janette
Janette
9 years ago

Does the $75,000 include a mortgage? Is it in a coastal city or middle America? How many children and what ages? Cars paid off? Homebody? Public schools good? Family in the area?
I don’t like “studies” like this. They are pretty bogus.
On the other hand YOUR financial priorities and the idea of a card to remind you are the wealth of this posting. Nice job!

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  Janette

Excuse me but I think if you were part of the 99% you would realize that all of everything that you talked about is included it’s always included it’s about how much you have to pay those things with see even us poor people we have lots of bills to we might end up with the end of the week with no money or owing $200 just to survive and I bet you’ve never even heard of that much less experienced it

Beth
Beth
9 years ago

I wonder if the fact that these are two-income households also slants the research? Right now, some extra income would make my life easier, but perhaps not happier. Finding a partner and having a family would make me happier than money.

Jennifer
Jennifer
9 years ago

Back when I was married, our joint annual income was right around $75k. We lived in a nice little Cape Cod in a good town with our daughter, and yes, we had “breathing room” so to speak, financially, which allowed us to pursue hobbies and leisure that gave us happiness. The fact is, we were pretty miserable, though, because it was not a good marriage. Now it’s just me and my daughter, living on my $30k salary, and we are much, MUCH happier than we ever were before. Yes, it would be nice to be able to afford some of… Read more »

Danny
Danny
5 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

My w2’s came in , I made 51k.. My husband is automation tech making 90k. Yet we seem poor. I guess because we live in California?? Time to move I say. =)

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  Danny

Lady I don’t care where you live you do not appreciate the blessings that you take for granted every single day that’s my opinion anyway

Brian
Brian
9 years ago

I was making over $200K a year (wife, 1 child, 2 dogs, nice house, not “keeping up with the Jonses”). I thought that an easier job( less money…$115K) would be less stressful, making me happier. Wrong. I enjoy my extra “freedom”, but $75K/yr (or $115K) is NOT enough for my small family to live comfortably and fully fund retirement. Too many variables in these types of studies.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Brian

What kind of job do you have that you make 200k a year? I’m a 20 year old student and would like to aim my goals to land a job like that.

Mike
Mike
9 years ago

Very interesting post/article. The number of 75k does make sense from the standpoint of being able to pay the bills, “Live a Little” etc. I think it’s different for single vs. married with kids, but the point is well made. I think there is also a level of happiness or what I’d call peace of mind once a certain amount of living expenses are put aside. This can be referred to as an emergency fund, or simply savings. This is because you know you’re okay no matter what the economy brings. It’s important to know what makes you content and… Read more »

Everyday Tips
Everyday Tips
9 years ago

I think it is all relative to who you are. For me, 75000 would be harder because of my saving hang-ups, not because of my spending patterns. I feel content and happy when I am able to max out my retirement savings, contribute to the 529 plans for my kids, and pay extra on my mortgage. I don’t care about having an iphone or whatever. I just want my mortgage gone. I think most could live on 75,000. However, many people are used to a certain lifestyle, so it could be a huge adjustment for some. For others, it probably… Read more »

Sharon
Sharon
9 years ago

Single, make under $25,000. Divorced for about 8 years. Extremely happy!

Like some of the others, I think the important thing is not how much you have coming in, it’s how much you have tucked away for unseen things.

AhmedSerag
AhmedSerag
9 years ago

That’s really interesting… I’ll settle for higher… but it’s still interesting to know.

Maybe 75000 just keeps you interested in terms of being able to pay the bills and “live” once in a while. Less frequent but more enjoyable.

Whereas at a salary of 150,000 I might “live” more often. More frequent less enjoyable.

Dlyn
Dlyn
9 years ago

I agree with many of the posters so far: It all depends. Our dual-gross income is slightly above that but we don’t have much more than when we made less because we had to move to a higher cost of living area just to have jobs after my husband was out of work for about a year. BUT, if we had ALL of our debt gone and still making the same now we would be in heaven 🙂

Vanessa
Vanessa
9 years ago

What kind of job do I need to earn $75,000? I’d like to be happy.

Bluffguy
Bluffguy
7 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Lots of commissioned sales jobs where you can earn $75000+, but remember, you have to produce. No sales = no income, that means if you take a vacation or weekends off, you earn 0 for that time, if you goof off and waste time at work, you earn 0. The money can be good but you have to produce every day or you get 0, puts a lot of pressure on each day. No paid vacation, holidays, sick days, personal days off, etc. There can be times when you go weeks with a blank pay check every week, so you… Read more »

Kasey
Kasey
6 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

UPS Drivers make that much. Full-time, top pay UPS drivers can make $100,000 a year.

Dajolt
Dajolt
9 years ago

Hey, enough with the (quote) “bigs-creen TV” bashing.

You claim “the emotional satisfaction of having [stuff] wears off quickly.” and recommend spending on holidays and such.

For some people the emotional satisfaction of a holiday might wear out the day after they return to work. Whereas well researched stuff-purchases can continue to spread happiness over the years. It just depends on the person.

Sixtoe
Sixtoe
9 years ago

Having trouble wrapping my head around this one. “$75,000” is a variable figure that means two very different things depending on the zip code where you live. Would be interesting if the researchers included an “average” income city so people could use a cost-of-living calculator to see where they fall.

Sean
Sean
9 years ago

The article states “$75,000…the annual household income that gives you the most joy for your buck” – but this is incorrect, according to the summary PDF. It’s actually $75k PER PERSON. – – – Reports of studies like this should be accompanied by a box labeled ASSUMPTIONS to give the core stat some context. As some of the previous comments prove, people don’t automatically understand that almost all such core findings come with similar assumptions which allow people to calibrate the findings for their own lives. The big flaw in the study, for me, is that it relies on self-reported… Read more »

Trina
Trina
9 years ago

Vanessa — go into information technology and pick the right specialties. If demand for your specialty starts to wane, learn a new specialty. Just my 2 cents!!
😉

ajc @ 7million7years
ajc @ 7million7years
9 years ago

It certainly depends on your baseline: if you want to send your kids to private school; if you want to travel; etc. $70k won’t touch the sides 🙁

Me
Me
9 years ago

As a person who budgets and lives frugally I agree with the magic “75,000” number. It is not because I have spending problems nor am I buying a limo. My family spends thousands of dollars a year on health care due to a pre-existing condition. Similarly my area is very high for grocery prices. Though we do put money toward retirement it is no where close to the recommended amount which is where I would like to be. Likewise I would love to add more to my son’s 529 plan. I would love to have more than 3 months emergency… Read more »

Moneymonk
Moneymonk
9 years ago

I’m in the “Beyond the basics” category. Just booked the family on a cruise to Dominician Republic—woot!

Can’t wait

prufock
prufock
9 years ago

The commenters should try to keep in mind that $75000 is an average – that means average family size, average cost of living, etc. If you live in a higher- or lower- cost of living area, your number will be different. If you’re single or have 10 kids, your number will be different.

Nitpick: The graph you display doesn’t appear to be a normal distribution (“bell curve”). It’s lacking the characteristic “tails” that normal distributions display.

Chickybeth
Chickybeth
9 years ago

The interesting part to me is that in 2004, $40,000/year was all we needed to cover the basics (http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2004/08/01/you-only-need-40000-to-be-happy/) according to research done at Harvard by Daniel Gilbert. I’m wondering what has increased so dramatically in the last 6 years to bring us to $75k? Housing, health care, childcare, food, transportation? Seems like an exponential increase which could mean soon no one will be happy!

Jackie
Jackie
9 years ago

What I find most interesting about studies like this is that they attempt to quantify happiness. I prefer to aim at “enough” as well. I think Ben Franklin points out the two ways of doing that best: “There are two ways of being happy: We must either diminish our wants or augment our means – either may do – the result is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and to do that which happens to be easier.”

Alexandra
Alexandra
9 years ago

Nope, that would not be enough to make me happy. Especially since I know that others doing the same job as me would be making much more.

Garbage study.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

Argh! That “bigs-creen TV” thing was my fault, and it was awful. Sierra had it as “bigscreen TV”. Yesterday, just as I was finishing my edits, I put the hyphen in there, but I just clicked save and didn’t bother to verify I’d done it correctly. I mean, why would I? It’s a simple edit, right?

sigh

How embarrassing.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

@Chickybeth (#24) Oh. Interesting. That’s a good find. Like many of you, I tend to furrow my brow at studies like this. What good is knowing the “average” number for happiness? It’s so subjective. As many commenters have noted, the individual variation is huge, and is dependent on cost-of-living, the income of your peers, and your own financial blueprint. I just had dinner the other night with a woman whose income is much smaller than $75,000 a year, but she’s very happy. In fact, she and her husband are striving for early retirement, and they think they can do it… Read more »

MikeTheRed
MikeTheRed
9 years ago

My wife and I make $78,000 combined before taxes, healthcare, retirement funding etc. After all the deductions take place, we take ho0me a shade under $55,000. At this number, our needs are met, we have a reasonable amount of luxuries (we eat out once a week or so, go to fun events when they come up etc), have the money to do a major splurge every few years, and still put away roughly $20,000 a year into savings. Do we still stress about money? You bet we do. We still try to budget, buy bargains and manage our funds carefully.… Read more »

Rob A
Rob A
9 years ago

I think it makes a big difference where you live. $75-80K in NYC/NY wont get even a frugal type very far if you have a family/children and own or aspire to own a home.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

@24 Ha!

Or Princeton economists just use different methodology than Harvard psychologists… there’s probably a range of numbers that people come up with. No doubt a cottage industry of papers estimating “the number” will rise up.

jeffeb3
jeffeb3
9 years ago

@23 You are right, it’s a parabola, not a bell curve. (maybe y = enough_fullfillment – (x – enough_money_spent)^2) 🙂

It’s really interesting to me that someone making $30K thinks that $75Kers don’t have to budget, or are buying ponies, and someone making $150K thinks they would be unhappy if they made $75K. That is definitely interesting information.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

Why is there a giant graph in the middle of the article that’s just plain wrong? The article even says it’s wrong. 1) The article claims the graph shows a bell curve. It doesn’t. It’s a parabola. Yes, these are different. 2) The article describes a logarithmic curve as the actual model for mapping income to happiness. Here’s what a logarithmic growth curve looks like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logarithmic_growth Note that it looks *a lot different* from what the picture shows. I know that the article mentions that the giant graph in the middle is wrong, but just having it there is a… Read more »

Jesse
Jesse
9 years ago

The chart in this article is misleading from what research shows. The research didn’t suggest that making /more/ money resulted in less happiness. It’s just that there was a point where there were only negligible gains in the indices used to measure happiness. Additionally, a lot of commenters are submitting their own contradictory anecdotes. The study is a statistical study of 450,000 people. It’s an average. There are bound to be thousands of people in the sample alone who deviate from the model. The study also controlled for a lot of known variables to affect well-being. Note that being lonely… Read more »

Teresa
Teresa
9 years ago

I dislike articles like this because I feel like it is all relative. My parents raised a family on far less than this magic number in Chicago. If you are good at making money stretch, you can do anything you want. I never felt lacking of anything because my parents raised me to not want much.

However, in Seattle, i’ve found that a similar salary as my parents had does not allow me to purchase a house.

Thus, it is all relative depending on where you live and your lifestyle.

Money Reasons
Money Reasons
9 years ago

We live on a scale, and by that I mean once we have the core needs meet and we max out our 401Ks, Roths and 529s, we tend to go spend more on vacations and things that would make our life more enjoyable and fun! We try to keep a conservative balance. By that I means we will save more as our household income increases, and at the same time increase our spending, but we will increase our spending at a lower percentage than our savings percentage increase. 🙂 So, if I earned 1 millionnnnn dollars a year, I’d be… Read more »

Zesty
Zesty
9 years ago

I think this is no different from Maslow hierarchy of needs, you can’t attain “fulfillment” or happiness until your basic needs are met. This study simply tries to quantify at what income level are your basic needs met. Got to love how these “new” studies recycle old ideas; like they say nothing new under the sun.

Jessica
Jessica
9 years ago

I remember that 2004 study, too, ChickyBeth. This new study makes me feel very poor when actually I thought I was doing all right. Right now my husband make about 43K a year combined. We live in Chicago (not the most expensive country in the U.S. but certainly not the cheapest. We do definitely have to live on a budget but we have a lovely apartment, all the things we need, are able to save and even take a modest vacation (to say Michigan) each year. We are no way deprived and though I certainly wouldn’t mind a little extra… Read more »

babysteps
babysteps
9 years ago

I thought the study was interesting, but perhaps flawed/skewed if, like me (and a lot of us reading GRS), you are already simplifying. I’d actually expect the study to come up with a “high” number (vs my outlook) since the data/survey info was based on the ‘average’ (okay, no such thing, but you get the idea) American – and the average American is not necessarily focused on financial independence, simplicity, etc. in quite the same way. I figure it’s a *good* thing that my “enough” number may be significantly less. Also, as many have noted, this IS a US-wide figure.… Read more »

Todd Dunnigan
Todd Dunnigan
9 years ago

Maybe they ought do a “happiness” study where the main parameter is Income vs. Expenses ratio. If you make a million bucks a year but have 1.5 million in expenses, that probably eguals unhappiness. If you make 25k but have 15k in expenses you’re probably pretty happy. I make about $75k and my wife took a job making about 50k. She also had to get a car + insurance, she had a soul-sucking commute, left the house early, came home late, plus didn’t get to spend time with the kids and friends like she could before. It all added up… Read more »

Elisa DiVirgilio
Elisa DiVirgilio
9 years ago

I know immigrants that buy a house on $50,000/year and I know others that make #120,000 and cannot afford a home.

DC Portland
DC Portland
9 years ago

As a positive psychology practitioner, these studies, and the media’s spin of them, drive me crazy. Kahneman is without a doubt a leading thinker/researcher in this area, having won a nobel prize. Daniel Gilbert (pointed out by Chickybeth #24) is also a very distinguished academic. But, the problem with the media’s spin on these findings is that they often fail to highlight the most critical reason for why people feel they need a certain amount of money to be happy, namely referencing (i.e. comparison with others in society). As JD has pointed out numerous times in this blog, referencing is… Read more »

Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire )
Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire )
9 years ago

Well, I don’t know about $75,000, but here’s how I see it: Say you buy a couch. It’s a good quality couch and you managed to buy it at about $500. Several years down the road, you have more money. You spend it on a fancier couch that’s, say, $1,500. Do you get more pleasure from this new couch that you bought? Not really. It’s as comfortable as the last couch. It even has the same features as the last couch. It’s just fancier and you had more money to spend on it. That’s why I agree that you aren’t… Read more »

Chickybeth
Chickybeth
9 years ago

@DC Portland #42: I really like your take on this. I think around 2005-6 is when the shows on MTV like “Sweet 16” and other garbage started which would definitely explain why people were happier with less before then. Instead of comparing my income to others, I try to remember what it felt like to be extremely poor. Anything is better than it was before!

Al Czervik
Al Czervik
9 years ago

Why does the ‘big-screen TV’ always come up as an example of overspending? Nowadays a big-screen TV can be purchased for less than $800. Say you get 6 years of use from it that amounts to $10/month. Not really a big deal compared to cable bills of $80-$100/month!

DCCT
DCCT
9 years ago

As everyone points out, there are too many other variables to take into account. I’m single, 25, and make just under 75K. You’d think I would be swimming in money! Well it’s quite the opposite. After taxes, paying my multiple school loans, my car loan, my rental payment, cell phone bill, city parking, groceries, insurance, etc. etc. etc. I have VERY little left over. If I had zero loans and lived in a cheaper city, well that would be a different story.

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  DCCT

everybody I mean everybody in the United States has to pay all of those things that’s just Facts of Life should be stuck in your head and you should know this all of us know this surely everybody knows this I can’t be the only one that knows that we all have light bills phone bills taxes so and so

Caitlin
Caitlin
9 years ago

Interesting. I heard a story based off the same study yesterday on NPR here in NYC:

http://beta.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2010/sep/15/will-75k-make-you-happy/

When adjusted for NYC style costs the number was closer to $160,000-ish. Its an interesting story, if you have time to listen to it.

suzy
suzy
9 years ago

My husband and I went from around $50K combined to around $220K combined in a 3-year period, and there’s no question that our happiness level has increased with the change. We still spend money the same way we did when we didn’t have as much to spend, we aren’t interested in “luxuries” beyond what we indulged in when we were younger (eating out, two cars, buying a modest home), but now we have almost complete freedom to do whatever we like with our lives. If we want to fly out to visit family, we can do so without stressing about… Read more »

Shelly
Shelly
4 years ago
Reply to  suzy

Can I ask what you and your husband did/currently do for a living to make your income increase in such a way?

David Lolley
David Lolley
1 year ago
Reply to  suzy

Thank you so much, you are the first person that is wealthy that actually admits that it makes them happy because they have more free time and more freedom they can spend more time with their family it don’t have to be rushed arguing it can be non stressful and happy around your family money changes people fur good or bad goes both ways sometimes people spend more time with their family help their family when they get money but other times people get money and pride pride sets in their head and they believe that they have to get… Read more »

KMJ
KMJ
9 years ago

I dislike this article. It appears to badly misinterpret the underlying study. Fig. 1 of the Princeton article DOES NOT look like the bell curve provided above. Instead, Fig. 1 of the Princeton article shows an approximate plateau beyond 75K. The underlying Princton abstract said “life-evaluation” rises steadily (it did not say it comes down as income rises). As such, a bell-curve is not the appropriate graphic for “life evaluation.” As for “emotional well being” (which was evaluated separately), the research indicated “there is no further progress beyond an annual income of 75K.” Thus, again, it not be a bell… Read more »

Ryan Callahan
Ryan Callahan
4 years ago
Reply to  KMJ

“Note: This is J.D.’s representation of the Fulfillment Curve from Your Money or Your Life.
This new study’s findings would seem to contradict this curve.”

L R
L R
9 years ago

It’s all in your perspective. I make a lot less that $75000. But I have the type of job I want, doing the things that I like to do. I own a house and buy the things that are important to me. I live the way I want to and often think that I have too much. So what it takes to be happy seems to be based on individual needs.

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