How much money do you need to be happy? Is it having enough money to buy a house, a nice car, the clothes you see in magazines, and nice dinners out?
Many of us aren’t happy with what we have right now. We tend to want more. In a previous blog post I wrote, Money and Happiness: It’s How You Spend Your Money That Matters – research shows it is the experiences we all want not things that make us happy.
What’s your number? According to two Princeton University researchers – it’s $75,000. While this number varies from people to countries, in the U.S. it is around $75,000 that seems to be the comfortable income standard.
The researchers found that not having enough money causes emotional pain and unhappiness. Among life’s misfortunes made worse by lack of money include disease, stress and feelings of loneliness.
However, those who made greater than $75,000 felt better about the success of their life overall but it didn’t create more (or less) happiness.
Why is this?
To me, what makes up my general feelings of happiness include something much more subtle. It’s the day-to-day enjoyment, relishing small pleasure, laughter, activities and being with people (and dogs) I love.
Making more than $75,000 doesn’t make us any happier.
What’s interesting is that $75,000 seems to be the tipping point where people felt they had enough money not to worry about it, but it didn’t affect their day to day enjoyment. In fact, the researchers assumed that the opposite may be true. That those who have more money may be able to buy more pleasures, but savor the pleasure and enjoyment of the pleasure less.
If you think of when you were a small child, and you saved up your allowance for months just to buy that toy you wanted. And when you got the toy, chances were that you felt extremely satisfied. You most likely got a lot of use out of the toy and it brought you great pleasure.
Whereas if you have a lot of money, material things may seem dispensable to you. Our brains have the ability to help us adapt. Once we have that new thing, it gradually loses it’s luster.
Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with striving to make a lot of money! Quite the opposite — remember money is another form of energy. That’s it.
It’s happiness and love that we’re all ultimately after.
In Smart Women Make Money, a program with video lessons and worksheets to help you transform your relationship to money, you learn how to generate more income from your business or work so that you can live in a space where you feel comfortable. And, most importantly, you learn how money is energy and how being grateful for what you have is key.
Money without love and happiness is meaningless. How many of you know someone who had lots of money but they were miserable? That is why we must manage our money well and be responsible with money.
The goal is to own our money, not allow our money to own us.
The take-home message here is that over a certain level of income, if you want to create more happiness in life focus on health, personal relationships and gratitude.
Now I’d love to hear from you. I felt relief when I read this research “Don’t Indulge, Be Happy” from a New York Times article, because I want to feel like I have enough. What are your thoughts on money and happiness? If you find this article resonates with you, please share it with your friends.