Science Reveals The Exact Amount Of Money That Buys Happiness

Happiness really does come with a specific price tag.

woman holding money Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

We've all heard it before: money buys happiness. Whether you agree or disagree, it's obviously true that we do need money in order to pay for the more boring things in life like rent, student loans, and bills, (because yes, we are trying to be proper adults here). Of course, it's also fun and extremely rewarding to spend some of your hard-earned dollars on yourself sometimes.

So, yes money does buy happiness. However, a study has found that that's only true to a certain extent.


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According to a study from Purdue University, there is an ideal amount of income at which an individual will be happy with the money they're making. These amounts are based on two important factors: life evaluation and emotional well-being.

To clarify this, life evaluation is about overall satisfaction with your life and goals while emotional well-being was based on daily emotions and feelings. For life evaluation, the perfect income point is $95,000 and for emotional well-being, it's $60,000 - $75,000. It's important to note that this study is based on individuals and not families.


The study gathered this data from the Gallup World Poll, a survey taken in 164 countries by over 1.7 million people. The amounts from the survey were then averaged according to questions about satisfaction, well-being, and purchasing power.

While we've long been under the impression that there's no limit when it comes to money and how much will make us happy, this research proves that it's really the opposite. Having too much money can actually cause negative effects on our lives. 

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So when does making it rain cross over into the darker side? The study found that once this threshold amount is reached, any increases in income after that tend to reduce satisfaction and well-being in our lives.


This could be caused by the fact that after our basic monetary needs are met, money takes on a different, more materialistic meaning for people. At this point, money can become more socially driven and is used primarily as a way to show off exactly how much money one has, which decreases our well-being. In other words, you may want to think twice before making that new sports car Instagram post public.

The lead author of the study, Andrew T. Jebb, a doctoral student in the Purdue University Department of Psychological Sciences, weighed in on these findings by saying, "at this point, they are asking themselves, ‘Overall, how am I doing?’ and ‘How do I compare to other people? 

The small decline puts one’s level of well-being closer to individuals who make slightly lower incomes, perhaps due to the costs that come with the highest incomes. These findings speak to a broader issue of money and happiness across cultures. Money is only a part of what really makes us happy, and we’re learning more about the limits of money."

He also points out that the amount can vary depending on where the individual is located. “And, there was substantial variation across world regions, with satiation occurring later in wealthier regions for life satisfaction,” Jebb said. “This could be because evaluations tend to be more influenced by the standards by which individuals compare themselves to other people.”


So, instead of believing the age-old tale that money will always buy us happiness, maybe we should start looking at money in a more realistic light and realize that there is such a thing as having too much money.

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Sloane Solomon is a writer for