How Much Money Do You Need to be Happy?


We all wonder at some point what life would be like with a lot more money. However, you might never have considered exactly how much cash you would need to be happy. Would a million bucks be enough? million? Maybe you would be perfectly happy with just a few thousand in your account? How can you work out how much you need?

What Do You Want It For?

The first point to take into account is around what you want the money for. Do you want to buy an island in the Caribbean, to buy the latest sports car or to build a fabulous mansion? We all have different ideas for what would make us happy and it is important to be honest with ourselves about them. If you aim for a huge fortune without having any real reason to have so much then you could end up feeling unhappy and unfulfilled for no reason. On the other hand, if you aim too low then you might end up regretting it. It is often said that people don’t fail because they aim too high and fall short; they usually aim too low and hit the target. Be honest with yourself and then go for what your heart tells you. There is no need to feel embarrassed about wanting to make a fortune. Plenty of people have had this same aim in the past and if you want a huge amount of money then you should go for it.

Living Life the Way You Want

Money is only really useful for helping you live life the way you want to live it. Do you want to retire early, travel the world or hire a team of employees for your house? As well as understanding why you want the money in the first place you also need to consider how it could help you live the perfect life. Would you give up your job tomorrow if you had enough money? If some wealthy benefactor handed you, say, $100,000 tomorrow would your bags be packed before the money was even in your account? There is absolutely no use in having lots of cash if you don’t live the way you want to. I always wonder about those people who win millions on the lottery and say that they intend to stay in the same job and keep the same old car. Why do you even play the lottery if you don’t intend using the money to live a different kind of life? If you are going to aim for more money then it makes sense to think about how you will use it once you get it.

The Perfect Income

When I first started working I just wanted to earn as big a salary as possible, which is probably how everyone thinks at the beginning of their career. However, over the years since then I have come to think that it is better to have an income you are comfortable with than one which is extravagantly big. A study from 2012 showed that $75,000 was the level at which people reached the highest level of salary satisfaction. People who earned more than this didn’t get any bigger benefit due to the extra money, while workers who earned less were generally unhappier. I have come to the conclusion that it is better to earn a decent wage and have a good life than sacrifice other things in order to earn an astronomical amount. Maybe you have a different idea of the perfect income but $75,000 sounds more than enough for me to be happy with.

How much money would you need to keep you happy?

14 Responses to How Much Money Do You Need to be Happy?

  1. I think the world is constantly changing that $75,000 would not be enough. If you ask me, I would like to have more than that and get a salary that grows every year, so I would be able to sustain my lifestyle even if the prices of things I need and want will also increase.

  2. I need very little money to keep me happy. However, about $1 mil would be nice to make me feel secure.

  3. I would be totally happy with making enough money to let me travel without it being too much of a burden on me.

  4. I’m already happy. I worked half my career so far (4 out of 8 years), traveled the 4 years, and banked $200K.

    Can’t ask for more… well, except that I get a contract for next year after having my new baby so that I can keep doing this part-time sort of freelancing lifestyle forever.

  5. It’s hard to say at this point in my life as I don’t have any major spending commitments like a mortgage or children. I’d just like to have enough money to not have to think about and analyze every single purchase.

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s a fair point Stefanie. It is a great feeling to buy something without worrying about tbe money involved in it

  6. “There is absolutely no use in having lots of cash if you don’t live the way you want to.”. LOVE that statement, Robert! I know people who are just hoarding for the purpose of hoarding, and they’re miserable. I often think to myself “What’s the point of that?”

    • Robert Bell says:

      Thanks Laurie. Yeah, I never understand those stories about people living in poverty but having millions under their mattress. You have to live a little as well

  7. jim says:

    Ok – I’ll be the greedy one here. I disagree that $75K is the “happiest” income to have. I’ve had that and I’ve had more and (at least for me) I was/am much happier with more. It makes all my goals easier to reach, especially charitable donations and I like the security more money provides. Sorry to sound like Scrouge, but I really am happier with more than $75K.

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