The Exact Income You Need To Be Happy Is...

$75K, assuming you've also got friends
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2011 1:40 PM CST
Updated Nov 20, 2011 8:00 PM CST
The Exact Income You Need To Be Happy Is...
It turns out, you can have enough money.   (Shutterstock)

How much money is enough money? Exactly $75,000, according to a new study. Economist Angus Deaton and Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman looked at data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and found that people reported becoming happier as their household income increased—until it hit $75,000. After that, their daily emotional well-being flat-lined. “Your emotional well-being is as good as it's going to get at $75,000,” Deaton tells Gallup's Management Journal. “It’s like you hit some sort of ceiling.”

And believe it or not, that number holds up even in big, expensive cities like New York. But money alone won’t make you happy: Kahneman and Deaton measured happiness along two axes—day-to-day emotional well-being and long-term "life evaluation." The key to the latter is setting realistic goals, but the key to the former is mostly having friends. “Emotional happiness is primarily social,” Kahneman says. “The very best thing that can happen to people is to spend time with other people they like.” (The "life evaluation" measure did continue to rise as income rose above $75,000, researchers note.)

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