“If money can’t buy happiness, then I guess I’ll have to rent it.” – Weird Al Yancovich. The mad troubador’s words ring as true today as they did on his 1984 B-Side “Buy Me a Condo.” Which is to say, pretty true.
However, even though money can’t buy you happiness, that only happens after you make quite a bit of it. In fact, a study out of Princeton recently found that until you start making over $75,000 a year, money definitely can buy you happiness. It buys you breathing room with your bills, it buys you leisure time and things to do with that time. This is interesting especially given that the average income in this country for a guy older then 30 with this PhD is still only $78,000 and change. Money, as it turns out, can buy most of us plenty of happiness.
That’s not to say you should just shoot for raises until you hit 75K and cruise it out to the end. Getting more money, getting raises, and similar bumps in pay create a “greater sense of success.” But, not an overall better happier disposition on a day-to-day level. Huffington reports:
Happiness got better as income rose but the effect leveled out at $75,000, Deaton said. On the other hand, their overall sense of success or well-being continued to rise as their earnings grew beyond that point.
"Giving people more income beyond 75K is not going to do much for their daily mood … but it is going to make them feel they have a better life," Deaton said in an interview.