Research Suggests You Need To Earn This Much Money To Be Happy

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Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness has never felt the crippling fear that poverty puts into you. It’s a statement that is generally said by people who have not wondered if they are going to be able to eat that night.

Money doesn’t buy happiness in the traditional sense of the word. It does, however, buy safety, the ability to explore other options in life, security and creature comforts that make life easier to live.

A 2011 study claimed that people would need to earn at least $75,000 to maximize the happiness that money has brought them. Most people have heard that stat, but inflation’s there too. So, what’s the latest scoop on income?

GoBankingRates had a study that gave us a clue as to what people need to be happy. No cap, it kind of shocked me.

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So, the study broke down money-based happiness into two different ranks: "life evaluation" and "emotional well-being."

So, anyone who’s ever had bills stacked up knows that not having enough money for basic needs will make you go a little crazy. As in, you will have panic attacks and your mental health will start to decline.

There’s also a certain point where money stops being able to make you happy. This is a point where you are generally comfortable with your life and you won’t get much more impressed by bells and whistles. You’re good at this point. That’s the "life evaluation" rank, and it’s what most people need to feel happy with where they are.

From what I could glean, the income levels they mentioned were for a single person — not a household!

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Nationally, you need a personal income of at least $60,000 to $70,000 to fulfill your emotional well-being need.

There were a handful of exceptions, such as Alabama, where you only needed around $50,0000 to feel safe and emotionally well. In Hawaii, you would need to earn $111,600 to feel emotionally well.

However, most places in America would require a single person to earn between $60,000 to $70,000 to feel safe at their income level. This is a problem, considering that the median individual income in America rests around $46,000.

Statistically speaking, that means that more than half of the country does not earn enough money to be able to take care of their emotional well-being. (Or at least, that means that more than half the country can’t reach the minimum for emotional well-being according to the study.)

If you want to be able to be fully content with your life, the national average benchmark rests around $105,000.

For most of us, a salary of six figures is kind of a life goal. Only 13 percent of individuals in the United States make an income of $100,000 or more on their own. However, 34 percent of households now make six-figure incomes.

In Hawaii, which currently tops the highest cost of living statewide, you would need to earn $195,000 to reach "happiness." In New York, it’s not that far off, with a required income of around $143,000. One would imagine that living in the city would boost that number way higher.

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Think about what this study tells us about the state of the country right now.

So, if we take this information from the study and statistics I found seriously, this is what it means:

  • Most people cannot earn enough money on a salary to remain emotionally well. In fact, that kind of income is a far cry from a minimum wage as well as the typical salary we offer teachers in most parts of the country.
  • If you think more money could make you happier, you’re probably right. I live close enough to New York to know that I’d have an uphill battle getting to the "happiness number" in my particular area.
  • If you find yourself panicky and sick over growing bills, you’re definitely not alone. You and around 60 percent of the country are likely in the same boat.
  • 27 states require you to have an income of at least $100,000 to be happy with your life. This is troubling, don’t you think? It’s literally saying that most Americans are not going to be happy with their lives.
  • It also means that the majority of jobs do not pay a salary high enough for people to feel emotionally well. As you can guess, this means your best chance at making it rich is to work for yourself.

Obviously, how much money you need to be happy will depend on more than location. It also depends on you and how many people you’re supporting on your salary.

There were a lot of holes in the survey when it came to figuring out how much you need to be happy with dependents, but even so, there’s something to be said about this survey. It paints a pretty grim picture of the American financial experience.

I can personally attest that a person who lives in my area would need at least $60,000 to be financially stable enough to stop worrying. If they have a dependent, that number could easily shoot up to $80,000 or more.

So what do you guys think? Is this survey accurate? Do we really need six figures to be happy? Tell me your thoughts, because I’m feeling fairly split about this survey.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.