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Researchers Say Happiness Costs $75K

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the money-fixes-everything dept.

The Almighty Buck 772

SpuriousLogic writes "Does happiness rise with income? In one of the more scientific attempts to answer that question, researchers from Princeton have put a price on happiness. It's about $75,000 in income a year. They found that not having enough money definitely causes emotional pain and unhappiness. But, after reaching an income of about $75,000 per year, money can't buy happiness. More money can, however, help people view their lives as successful or better. The study found that people's evaluations of their lives improved steadily with annual income. But the quality of their everyday experiences — their feelings — did not improve above an income of $75,000 a year. As income decreased from $75,000, people reported decreasing happiness and increasing sadness, as well as stress. The study found that being divorced, being sick and other painful experiences have worse effects on a poor person than on a wealthier one."

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Money does not buy happiness, but ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498966)

Money does not buy happiness, but lack of money makes a huge down payment on unhappiness.

Mathmatics of dissatisfaction (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499138)

Income Before gaining masters degree $90K+
Student loans taken on gaining masters $57K
Income after gaining master $87K

So, if you add in the cost of paying off my students loans, I am about $10k a year in the hole
Add in that I am performing tons of sole wasting managerial tasks and moving further away from what I really enjoy doing (database driven web development), then...

Not making me happy, not happy at all

Re:Mathmatics of dissatisfaction (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499228)

So just out of curiosity: If you really enjoy doing web-based development, why did you go for a masters degree?

Re:Mathmatics of dissatisfaction (5, Funny)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499272)

Have you ever tried to get an advanced stylesheet to work in IE? Some sort of advanced training, and a kindly god, is needed.

Re:Mathmatics of dissatisfaction (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499248)

I worked my ass off to put myself through school without a loan. Doing support on the university's helpdesk in the evenings (getting some homework done during slow times), doing coding jobs on the side through a business I started, doing various other odd jobs (and to all the smartasses who are going to say it... no, none were sexual jobs)... my week days were generally 7 am to 2 am. I'm not saying it was fun, it was 5 years of a lot of hard work and pure hell, and I could definitely have had a higher GPA than 3.06 at graduation had it not been for all the work.

But the last 10 years since I graduated have sure felt pretty damn good without that debt.

This is painfully obvious. (5, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498968)

1. Money cannot buy happiness, it can buy security.
2. When your loved ones are secure you are less stressed.
3. When you are less stressed you can focus more on being happy.

How much money you need is actually determined by how many people you have to care for. If you don't have any children, or a spouse, $75,000 is about right. If you have children, a wife, and a big family, $75,000 is a drop in the bucket and you'd probably need twice that much to provide for children and take care of parents or grand parents into old age.

I don't know about you but thats my formula. The amount is determined by the amount of people I have to provide security for and the overall security expense, along with whatever the expense is for my personal wellbeing. It's ultimately about people, unless you're a greedy anti-social.

Re:This is painfully obvious. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499060)

I am a slashdotter and don't have any loved ones you insensitive clod!

Re:This is painfully obvious. (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499106)

I would add the number of people you accept to care for can go up with increased income. When I passed an amount I felt secure with I accepted increased responsibility for helping parents and siblings. That extra load seems to be a wash emotionally: there is some extra worry balanced by increased happiness at being able to help.

Re:This is painfully obvious. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499166)

Agree and that's basically what Maslow taught us.

I would add that money you set aside not only buys security, it also buys some freedom - the freedom to say "go to hell" to employers you don't like for example, or the freedom to travel, buy books, go on vacation where and when you want etc.

Security AND Freedom. Weren't these enshrined in the US Constitution ?

Re:This is painfully obvious. (2, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499372)

Security AND Freedom. Weren't these enshrined in the US Constitution ?

Yes, but only for white land-owners. The sad reality is that we don't have and hopefully don't want our literal forefathers' vision today. Makes for effective rhetoric though, with so many ignorant of history...

Re:This is painfully obvious. (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499176)

Superking has no need for loved ones!

Re:This is painfully obvious. (2, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499178)

All I need is a roof, a vehicle, a food supply, and the opportunity to surf every weekend.

Happiness is far more inexpensive than $75K.

Except #3 is not always true. (1)

melted (227442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499206)

Except #3 is not always true. A lot of us have to take enormous stress to earn our six figure salaries (to pay for security of the loved ones).

Re:Except #3 is not always true. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499208)

Except #3 is not always true. A lot of us have to take enormous stress to earn our six figure salaries (to pay for security of the loved ones).

Then you can reduce your stress by not paying for your loved ones. Once you give yourself the responsibility you have to accept the stress.

I take it you don't have a wife and kids (1)

melted (227442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499296)

I'm afraid my wife wouldn't understand if I told her that we're to split our bills (including mortgage) from here on out. :-)

And I don't want it either. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499350)

Life is hard enough. I don't need increased responsibility (stress) to weigh me down and prematurely age me.

Re:This is painfully obvious. (2, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499230)

I get only $8088 a year in income from SSI.

Of course, I also get food stamps, and make use of Section 8 rent subsidies, so my effective income is probably a little higher.

I'm still well below the 75k mark, but then again I'm not paying in sweat to get it either.

I even have $1400 in credit available, thanks to a couple of credit cards.

I'm fairly happy.

Re:This is painfully obvious. (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499322)

I get only $8088 a year in income from SSI.

Of course, I also get food stamps, and make use of Section 8 rent subsidies, so my effective income is probably a little higher.

I'm still well below the 75k mark, but then again I'm not paying in sweat to get it either.

I even have $1400 in credit available, thanks to a couple of credit cards.

I'm fairly happy.

Some people are happy living in prison, most aren't. What you don't mention is how old you are. If you are 80 years old and can't do anything then living like that is not going to make you miserable but if you are in the prime of your life and you can't do anything, living on SSI is a virtual prison.

Unless of course you don't want to do anything?

Anyway I assume your post in a joke but if it's not then please describe what in your life is making you happy? Do you have kids? a spouse? a family? How on earth do you pay rent with only $8000?

Re:This is painfully obvious. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499278)

I believe the study found $75,000 was a cutoff for families, not specifically for single people. My guess is that the cutoff for single people, especially young single people without large university debts, and especially if they don't live in SF or NYC, is rather lower.

Re:This is painfully obvious. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499288)

So if (1) can buy (2) and (2) gives you (3), then simplifying: (1) buys (3), or money buys happiness.

And I would disagree you can take care of a family on almost any income, far less the $75K.
Most money spent by North Americans is just wasted, and $75K seems like a good number to give a persona security.

At least for Canada, where I live. not sure how that would work for the US with health care how it is.

Re:This is painfully obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499312)

It's all a matter of how you grew up, some aren't happy unless they make said $75,000 per year, others need only a place in the country with minimal costs.

cheap shot (4, Funny)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498982)

Tomorrow's headline: "Democrats call for a new $75,000 living wage. Supported by research."

Re:cheap shot (2, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499032)

Impossible. Happiness is something you should have the liberty to pursue. It's not something which should be given to people by the government. The government should provide ample opportunity and resources for people to have the option to fight or compete for happiness.

The reality we have today is that for a majority of people unless you are born to make $75k no amount of hard work or effort will allow you to reach that goal unless you break the law. It should not be so difficult for ordinary people to make $75k. The fact that so few make this much should show us not that more people need to make it, but that more people should have the ability to try to make it and be given the opportunity to do so if they have skills, talent, ambition.

Re:cheap shot (5, Funny)

Plastic Pencil (1258364) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499050)

Republicans respond and after a year and a half worth of debate and Glenn Beck's tears, Obama and Democrats settle for $7,500, despite miraculously retaining a majority in the House and Senate.

Re:cheap shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499088)

hahaha...that's actually pretty spot on. the next 10 years for america will be worse than the last, it frightens me to think.

Re:cheap shot (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499160)

The problem is that while the President has a majority in Congress on paper, reality is much different. It would be a lot more obvious that he hasn't got a majority were we under a Parliamentary system. A lot of the Democrats under their system, and Republicans for that matter, would be in a completely different party. Beyond that Americans are cowards. Yes, I said it, and nobody more so than the brainless mush that listens to the likes of Fox commentary, Limbaugh and such. The Republicans have a really easy strategy, all they have to do is scare people enough that the Democrats can't get anything done, then sit back and watch the votes roll in. Since they weren't in the majority they aren't held accountable for anything. The only thing that could realistically screw it up for them is if the Tea party steals too many votes or the American people collectively grow a spine.

More Likely... (4, Funny)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499212)

More likely that all sorts of white upper-middle class trustifarian college students start demanding $75,000 for everyone, to the chant of "Happiness is a human right!"

Then come the 'experts' at House and Senate hearings:

"Over 240 million Americans go to bed every night without Happiness. Americans are unhappy right here on our own shores! We must end Sadness! When I was in college, I was unhappy. After my accident, I got a $75,000 settlement from the university, and from then on I was happy. I come here to tell you that if every American had the same $75K opportunity I did, we could end Sadness forever."

Re:cheap shot (3, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499258)

Well, according to this research, taking money away from those making quite a bit more than $75k per year and giving it to those making quite a bit less would raise total happiness. Let's reverse the policies of upwards wealth transfer put into place by the wealthy. Let's go back to the 90% marginal tax rate on the highest earners we had in the 50s. The system worked better for them, they should pay more because they got more from society. Let's stop letting the rich set policy that benefits them at our expense. We need to re-transfer the wealth they have spent the last fifty years "transferring" to themselves. Remember, taking back what was stolen from you is not stealing.

Re:cheap shot (1)

MoriT (1747802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499342)

And why would that be a bad thing? I'd love to know that everyone in the country I lived in wasn't made extra unhappy in easily-preventable ways.

Re:cheap shot (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499360)

And a maximum $150k living wage until the minimum is raised.

Sounds like a good idea.

Tag article cocaine, prostitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498986)

$75k can essentially fuel my coke habit for a few years. I'm not habitual, but that gets you a lot of coke spread out over a reasonable amount of time.
 
But that doesn't really get me happiness. I "need" to feel comforted by others, so that's where prostitution comes into play. And some of the better prostitutes which I have tried out *START* around 75.

Re:Tag article cocaine, prostitution (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499346)

Glen;
I thought we wern't going to talk about this any more.

Cheers,
Rush

Too much money also means no trust. (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498988)

I would say that $75,000 is a good estimate because the more money you have the less trust you usually have along with it. At $75,000 you have just enough money to maintain your friends, and family relations, and to be able to trust your spouse. When you start to get over this amount your friendships may begin to change as some friends will start to envy you or get jealous, you may not be able to trust your family members anymore or your spouse, as it gets into the $100,000+ and $200,000+ and $500,000+ eventually you do reach a point where you simply can't trust anybody anymore. Your spouse might have a life insurance policy on you and be waiting patiently for you to die. Your brothers and sisters might be fighting each other to win favor with you. Your friendships might be completely non-existent as none of these new friends might be real.

And if you aren't married and you don't have a strong family structure you may not even have that. What you'd have then is people dating you and you never knowing what their intentions are, who they are, or if they are trying to set you up, extort you, or marry you and try to take your money. You also wont be able to trust your friends either unless those friends make the same kind of money you are making because your poor friends could easily be bribed or payed off by your rich friends to spy on you.

Ultimately there is no increase to happiness with money beyond a certain amount because as money increases trust decreases. As trust decreases for most people stress increases. As stress increases for most people happiness decreases, unless they've had the kind of life experiences to allow them to have the emotional and psychological toolkit to manage stress of this sort.

This is why more money = more problems after a certain level. This is why getting to the top is usually more fun than being at the top.Trust is not a commodity, you cannot buy it or sell it. Love is not a commodity, you cannot buy and sell it.

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (3, Insightful)

jgr123 (1730206) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499068)

Have you ever even earned that amount or are you just pulling things out of your ass?

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (1, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499136)

Have you ever talked to people who have money? They don't seem to surround themselves with people they can trust. And even if you don't know anyone like that personally just look at the typical celebrities like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, or anybody who has hundreds of millions of dollars.

Or look at some of the elites who go to Ivy League schools and who have elite friends and all of them have money and none of them can trust each other. How are you going to have people you can trust when all of your people are rich elites like you? And if you have people who aren't rich elites around you then you can't trust them because they could be bribed.

You think I'm wrong? Show the flaw in my logic. Show me where trust and money correlate because I believe the correlation is increased money equals decreased trust.

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499078)

Why did you posts two semi long threads in a matter of 2 minutes?

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499082)

Very good post. People who suddenly come to have a lot of money (e.g. winning the lottery) are often surprised when their life takes a turn for the worse after the initial glow has worn off.

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (1)

Plastic Pencil (1258364) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499086)

Or just don't tell people how much you make...

I'd take these problems over my current circumstances, and I'm not even in debt!

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499164)

Or just don't tell people how much you make...

I'd take these problems over my current circumstances, and I'm not even in debt!

When you are making $75k and you still live in your old neighborhood you might be able to hide how much you make or maybe people wont care. When you start making millions you wont be able to hide that. There is no way to hide how much you make when people can dig in your trash and find out. So even if you shred up all your bills if you have a spouse or anybody who knows they'll probably tell people.

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (1)

Plastic Pencil (1258364) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499224)

I guess it depends what your old neighborhood is like. If it's that bad and you're making $$$, you'd probably be pretty motivated to move anyway.

And just because you have millions doesn't mean you have to be flashy and obvious. Regarding spouses, well, they can be a loose cannon I suppose, but let's hope you're married to someone as wise (or wiser) than you.

Don't get me wrong, I understand and think you make a valid point. But I also think it's not the end all/be all of having a bountiful income. Just gotta use your head.

Rebuttal (anon for obvious reasons) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499124)

I earn about $200k p.a., and have none of the problems you mention. I've kept in contact with friends right back from school and have no problems with them. I keep in touch with my relatives and my wife's family relatives and have no problem. I work with people who earn much less and also much more than I do and have no problem. I do not see this constant lack of trust problem that you allude to.

Maybe the reason is that my own personality has changed fairly little from the times I earned about $14.5k. It has changed, but most of that is getting older not just changes of income. It's perfectly possible to have more cash p.a. and not be looking your shoulder all the time - personally I'm having a great life at the moment, mostly due to enjoying family life rather than bathing in champagne every night (which, by the way, I don't...).

Re:Rebuttal (anon for obvious reasons) (2, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499298)

Posted AC so people won't hit him up for $$$ on /.

Re:Too much money also means no trust. (3, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499292)

This got rated up to 4? People, please apply for jobs at the CIA, you pass the paranoia qualification.

Here's a helpful tip when talking to friends who maybe don't have the same number of digits in their bank account balances: shut the fuck up and do not discuss your income. Holy shit, how hard is it. I've talked with friends about their favorite sexual positions with their wives, but talking about income? Absolutely fucking off limits.

By the way, life gets better once you finally graduate high school. Just thought I'd throw out some advice which is relevant to you.

Loser talk.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498994)

Everyone knows thats just loser talk...

Where do you live? (3, Insightful)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498996)

The amount of money that you require to be "happy" depends on where you live and what the lifestyles of the people around you are.
 
Where you live sets the baseline cost of living, and visible lifestyles determine your expectations.

Re:Where do you live? (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499282)

How much does a tech addiction add to my bottom line?

Re:Where do you live? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499354)

Sort of; it seems GDP per capita of 15k per year (which is quite high, on average) might be enough. [wikipedia.org] Certainly some of the countires with high places on this list [wikipedia.org] might be a surprise for large part of /. audience?

Then there's also "gross national happiness" [wikipedia.org] ... (sort of used by one country quite high on the above list, but which many of us would consider to be impoverished)

Dimensional analysis, please (2)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499000)

75 000 USD/year != 75 000 USD

Also, what is that uninformative picture of coins in a hand doing there? It does not add anything! This is just as bad as a newspaper article!

Re:Dimensional analysis, please (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499110)

You should really make more money.

Re:Dimensional analysis, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499128)

Yea and all of this coming from Researchers who probably get paid 25k go figure.

They have a master plan and it includes Marketing it seems.
 
Proffit

Idle (1)

SpeedyGonz (771424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499348)

75k / 12 = 6250 $ per month, I guess that's the figure they're pointing at. Sure, the story title says 75k flat, but the summary clearly says 75k as an annual sum.

As for the picture of the coins with smileys, as i get it, suggests money + happiness, a good match for the story title. I can't see what is wrong with that.

A case of tabloid-like effectism at most, but which media outlet, big or small, isn't guilty of that these days?

Besides, the story is under the idle category. IMHO, it shouldn't be taken that seriously.

To put it another way... (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499016)

The lack of money is the root of all evil?

Re:To put it another way... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499236)

Well... would you steal the rims off a car if you could just buy a set yourself?

It makes sense, but I don't think any answer is just setting the minimum wage to $75k. Money not earned is soon to be money wasted on things you probably don't need.

Double what you are earning (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499024)

What I have observed is that a happy income is double your present income. I have seen this with people earning less than 20k and more than a million.
75K would be about double the national average.
Also this 75k number would completely depend on where you are. 75K is poverty in NYC while in most Podunks 75K would make you near royalty.

Re:Double what you are earning (2, Insightful)

Thinine (869482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499328)

Anyone who isn't happy making more than a million dollars is fucked in the head.

Re:Double what you are earning (2, Interesting)

OffaMyLawn (1885682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499378)

Have to agree with you completely. I do not quite make the $75k mark, but not far off, and the area I live in is pretty cheap as far as cost of living. I have a wife and two kids, and I'm not hurting for money, and I can say I'm happy.

Fucking great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499034)

It's bad enough that obama already installed a glass ceiling at 200k (or so) a year -- above which you are a bourgouise pig who deserves to be punished. Now we know exactly how much wealth we need to 'spread around'.

Now we can cap income across the board at something much less than 100k, anything past that is taxed 100% -- you know, to make sure everyone gets to be happy, and that we get to fund more bullshit studies like this one.

The left leaning goons become downright dangerous when they mix their conception of 'social justice' with bullshit pop-psychology like this..

(Yeah, worrying about being evicted/fired/going hungry 24 hours a day is stressful... Imagine that! Your grant money at work, folks)

Re:Fucking great (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499290)

Obama pegged the tax rate at 39 percent or so.

Under Nixon, Bush 1, Eisenhower and Reagan, the number was much higher.

We also ran lower deficits too

Shut up.

Old news is old... (1)

PrototypeNM1 (1609901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499036)

This is a well known psychological fact, sans the exact dollar value. In reality, the dollar amount correlates as a percentage greater than the dollar value an individual needs in order to cover basic living expenses. Not a link to the "exact" relation, but proof that this article in general is nothing new or profound. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-good-life/200806/money-and-happiness [psychologytoday.com]

Unfortunate for society as a whole (1)

u17 (1730558) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499038)

Since the median income in the States is $32,000 (according to Wikipedia), it follows that it is impossible for everyone to be happy, in fact most will be unhappy.

Re:Unfortunate for society as a whole (2, Funny)

SebaSOFT (859957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499184)

I think that most are unhappy because the other one are happy. That's why the first Matrix failed.

Re:Unfortunate for society as a whole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499232)

Some things that make people happy are cheap services - gardening, house cleaning, low prices in restaurants etc. Of course, these being cheap does tend to influence how happy the ones providing said services can be.

even rich people hate life (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499046)

few months ago the NY Times did a breakdown of a $250,000 salary in NYC. after the insane "progressive" taxes, the mortgage and HOA fees of living on the upper east side or UWS, the nanny or the crazy elite day care there is very little left.

Re:even rich people hate life (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499072)

Especially rich people. Which explains some of the attitudes rich people have toward life in general.

Re:even rich people hate life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499190)

wah. maybe they could take the train in every morning like everyone else who has very little from the start, full stop. No one made them live on the UES or UWS. You wanna live like a multi-millionaire, prepare to be in debt or, actually be a multi-millionaire, not just a well to do wannabe.

Re:even rich people hate life (1)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499218)

Oh waaah. I guarantee they don't hate their lives as I much as hate them whining about them.

At least they have $250k(minus taxes, sure but still more than most) to choose to spend! And expenses like mortgages and tuition are actually investments that will more likely than not come out way ahead in time. Look I'm sorry your townhouse is taking a bite out of your salary but it's also paying for retirement perhaps. No such luck for those with an equivalent bite of their income going to rent, credit debt or any number of traps the poor can't help falling into. A large salary buys a lot of choices, so don't expect sympathy from me when you whine about the ones you made.

And if the rich hate the system that much, who is in a better position to change it than them?

Re:even rich people hate life (5, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499226)

Which is mostly their fault. I dislike taxes as much as anyone else, and I'm not usre our current system is exactly fair ... but the HOA fees "of living on the upper east side or UWS," the nanny, and the elite day care (and the elite private elementary schools that are $15k/yr or whatever, etc) are their choice.

Also, the five $60k+ cars eat into their income, too.

I'm glad we have a free country where people can make their own decisions, but being rich does not mean you necessarily make good money decisions. Seems like a lot of rich people have ended up poor because they didn't know how to manage their own riches and they spent it all, gambled it, invested it stupidly, or whatever.

Re:even rich people hate life (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499250)

Serves them right. They choose to blow most of their disposable income in that way, they are not obligated to do so. As opposed to us nearer the bottom who don't have those options available to blow our money on. Progressive taxes are basically ones which tax based upon the amount of benefit that an individual gets from the system remaining in place. People don't make $250k a year based purely upon being really, really productive. They just don't. The CEO of the company is not a thousand or more times efficient than the people at the bottom, and suggesting that is mind blowing.

The people who actually produce the goods and services which drive the economy have been making less and less with increased work even as those at the to get more and more. What's worse is that they're the ones that by and large drove the economy off the cliff and insist that it was those damned poor folks demanding a fair slice of the pie that are to blame.

Re:even rich people hate life (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499382)

My dad used to live in NYC. He estimated if you weren't making $500k/year, you weren't "comfortable" there. And this was the late '80s.

Enough already (2, Interesting)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499076)

These stupid stories based on lame research and over simplification of the human condition are really pissing me off.

$75,000 per year may buy a lot of happiness, if that is possible, in a place where the cost of living is really low, but in LA , NYC or Frisco? Forget about it - $75,000 is chicken feed - you can barely pay your rent on that salary. Guess most people living in LA, NYC and San Fran are really unhappy if this is the case.

Oh wait, I make more than that, but my wife does not work, so for the two of us we make less and we live in one of the aforementioned expensive cities. Guess we should be unhappy - dang it I hate it when I am not deemed normal!

Re:Enough already (0, Troll)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499126)

You don't sound very happy. So this appears to be pretty accurate.

Re:Enough already (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499172)

Do you live in Manhattan? Because I live in Queens in a decent apartment with a 46k salary and I do well on my own.

For the tourists, Queens is part of NYC within a 30 minute train ride of the city.

Entitled douchebags. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499310)

My wife and I were considering a move to NYC at one point, and found we could get a decent place in the Bronx on a similar income. 30-45 minute commute on public transportation, and we wouldn't need to pay for cars or parking.

The problem is that a lot of upper-middle-class people who move to big cities think they can have the same suburban lifestyle, with a big house, two cars, and a driving commute, that they're used to. Studies have shown that when you factor in an urban lifestyle, places in NYC - even Manhattan - are just as affordable as many suburbs.

I mean, duh... if they weren't, the seven million or so NYC residents that don't make six figures wouldn't have a place to live.

Re:Enough already (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499234)

It is indeed an oversimplification but there is also *some* truth in it, if you look at it from the perspective of age.

The chances are that someone who is earning that kind of salary is not going to be a graduate in their 20s with a few years work experience but an experienced professional in their 30s and 40s. (Yes, I know there are exceptions but hear me out.)

And as someone in his 40s, I can tell you that I'm far less materialistic than I was in my 20s or 30s, far more discerning in my tastes and don't suffer from peer pressure. Consequently, far fewer (if any) trivial things that used to bug me no longer do so, the net result is I'm far more calm & contented.

The net result is I'm happy whilst earning a reasonable good salary & being middle-aged.

Re:Enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499286)

These stupid stories based on lame research and over simplification of the human condition are really pissing me off.

$75,000 per year may buy a lot of happiness, if that is possible, in a place where the cost of living is really low, but in LA , NYC or Frisco? Forget about it - $75,000 is chicken feed - you can barely pay your rent on that salary. Guess most people living in LA, NYC and San Fran are really unhappy if this is the case.

Oh wait, I make more than that, but my wife does not work, so for the two of us we make less and we live in one of the aforementioned expensive cities. Guess we should be unhappy - dang it I hate it when I am not deemed normal!

Allow me to introduce to you the concept of central tendency, most commonly represented in the concept of the "average."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_tendency [wikipedia.org]

happiness isn't everything in life (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499084)

From the sounds of TFA:
  • Happiness: $75K
  • Lust: $2.5K (stereotypically for men that is... in plastic surgery on a certain part)
  • Love: $ 3K (stereotypically for women that is... in a diamond ring)
  • Humbleness: $125K (kids or pets)
  • Power: $150K+ (money == access)
  • Freedom: $500K (that's real freedom from the system folks)
  • A voice: $15K (if you pay taxes).

Re:happiness isn't everything in life (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499242)

  • Being linked from a Slashdot story: Priceless.

SCNR

Hmmm.. (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499092)

That's well above the average income round these parts.

Against reduction to numbers (1)

omidaladini (940882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499098)

Depending on the country you live in this correlation could simply collapse.

Happy? (2, Insightful)

dandart (1274360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499122)

I suppose the researchers were happy, then. I suppose they were government funded? Who else would pay for that kind of research?

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: MONEY CAN'T BUY YOU HAPPINESS. You just need someone to love.

Lack of debt makes for happiness (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499144)

I don't know how you put a $ figure on it. For me, it was lack of plastic debt. I have one CC and it it paid off weekly, yeah, weekly. My main debt is my house, followed by a car; whose sale price was less than 30% my gross. I do my best to keep monthlies to a minimum, meaning paid for cell plan, my internet, and my TV.

I set aside multiple savings accounts with automatic $50 deductions or more, after a while you lose track of them until tax time but the its nice to know you have money out there. So besides paying down debt create an automatic deposit into a savings account, preferably not at the same back your checking is at. Then just file it away in the back of your mind. Never touch it unless you lost all other means of having money for shelter and food.

You can be debt free on 20K if you live right. That is where most people get tripped up. They refuse to live within their means and the blame others (if not society). I can't count the number of people I work with who have notes or leases on cars that cost half it not more than half their gross pay. Throw in $100 a month for Smart phone plans; as in many who have one are not; and its easy to see why people aren't happy, they are too busy going broke to impress people, people who generally don't care. I certainly don't care what car you park in the lot, let alone I doubt anyone seeing your shiny 5 series/E-class/A6 really gives a flip when they likely will pass another dozen of the same that day.

Don't live to impress others with material wealth.

Re:Lack of debt makes for happiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499356)

It is indeed possible. I was making $23k/year, lived debt free, and wanted for nothing. I now make nearly triple this and haven't changed anything. The only difference is vehicle repairs aren't as bad now. How do mexicans come here, work for less than minimum wage, and still send money back home, yet according to this article we need a base of 75k/year to achieve proper happiness? It's lack of perception. Live in or under your means and stop wanting what is outside of it. None of it is important.

For those that don't read the paper (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499150)

The 75k is referring to annual HOUSEHOLD income.

However, what they don't seem to address (perhaps I missed it) is the effect of household size and/or location on happiness. Surely a family of 10 requires more money than a family of 3 to be happy? Or maybe relationships make up the extra happiness. 75k will also buy you a lot more security in small-town Wyoming than it will in downtown Manhattan.

Wealthy Social Pathologists (3, Insightful)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499162)

The study found that being divorced, being sick and other painful experiences have worse effects on a poor person than on a wealthier one. Our wealthy ruling elite can insulate from all the social pathologies they promote. They think the middle and lower classes can weather the storms as easily as they can, so those social pathologies must not be bad. But if you live in the wreckage, you shake your fist at our ruling elite, and call down a curse on them.

Isn't it all relative? (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499168)

That's what Einstein would say, wouldn't he? Someone making $75,000 in NYC would be living in a closet, while someone making the same in East Swampmuck, Mississippi would be living in the lap of luxury.

Re:Isn't it all relative? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499362)

Nah, East Swampmuck is a dump! West Swampmuck, on the other hand...

It's a spurious correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499180)

The real correlation is not with income per se. The real correlation is with how well you get along with others, in other words, your interpersonal relationships.

The Harvard Longitudinal Study of Adult Development started in the 1940s and has followed the same group of people throughout. The only predictor they could find for: happiness, income, social status, marriage status, or almost anything else that mattered, was a person's relationships with their family and their relationships as young adults.

(This, of course, sounds like bad news for geeks, me included.)

http://adultdev.bwh.harvard.edu/research-SAD.html [harvard.edu]

Amazing!!! (3, Funny)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499188)

Princeton has now been able to PROVE that getting a serious illness, or divorced is harder on poor people. WOW! Amazing! GO IVY LEAGUE

75k is okay if you don't have children (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499194)

you have to figure that raising a child costs anywhere between 500k and 1m from birth to college graduation. that doesn't even factor in missed opportunity costs for saving, investing and career mobility.

Re:75k is okay if you don't have children (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499326)

Your estimates are roughly $25-50k / year. Lots of people raise children on substantially less than that.

$75k/year * 60 years = $4.5M (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499216)

Happiness costs $4.5M. You just get paid in installments.

(Assumes you live to 75 and spend 15 years as a kid living under someone else'es $75k/year)

Also what about taxes and living expenses ? Is this rural Texas or downtown Boston ?

America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499240)

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of a $75 000/year salary

Divorce... (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499270)

The study found that being divorced, being sick and other painful experiences have worse effects on a poor person than on a wealthier one.

Probably has something to do with the fact that the poor man watches as divorce attorneys and his ex-wife divide up most of what he earned with his labor. The fact that a woman can divorce a man for literally no reason in particular (this is what "no fault divorce" really means) has made divorce extremely likely to happen to most men, especially lower status men. Women initiate about 70% of all divorces in the United States, which puts the average man at a 33% risk that for whatever reason, he'll end up getting raped by the divorce courts.

Of course, the moment you tell Americans that their personal happiness is secondary to their duties to their spouses, children, family, friends, etc. is the moment you're call an uber-Fascist anti-American Who Hates Freedom. The fact that you voluntarily entered the marriage and are now metaphorically laying down in the bed you made is not something most Americans will accept.

Money can't buy happiness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499276)

...But sadness can be bribed to leave you alone for brief periods of time. Money definitely helps with that.

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499302)

you can. ANo,

My experience with the $75,000 mark (5, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499314)

I recently left a job where I was making under $75,000 and took a job where I am now making over $75,000. In the first case I was slightly below, and in the latter I am slightly above. In my previous job I had a lot of slack. I took the train to work. I worked pretty much whatever hours I felt like. I did not have very many responsibilities. In my current job I have less slack, I am working longer hours and I have significantly more responsibility.

In the previous job, my debt was not shrinking as quickly as I wanted it to. None the less I wasn't scratching out a subsistance living while trying to pare it down. I was going out to eat with my girlfriend a lot and making random purchases when I wanted things (PS3, HDTV, etc.) I was driving a beater car, but since I was taking the train, it didn't matter so much. In my new job, my debt is falling quickly and I'm driving a much newer car. I am still going out to eat a lot, but having obtained most of the crap that I wanted, I have extra money to pay down debt.

All in all, I'm not sure that I am any happer >$75,000 than I was at $75,000. I do know that I have less time to practice tai chi and kung fu and that irks me. I have a lot more responsibility, but I saw that coming. I'm now the guy we all read about with his Blackberry going off at all hours of the night. In life we have the opportunity to trade our time for someone else's money. They have things that need to be done, and they get to the point where their own time is so valuable that they can pay other people to do it for them. The more money that you make, the more of yourself and your time that you have to give up for it.

Based on my experience, $75,000 seems to be a good number (in Southern California) at least. A part of me thinks it is a little high. Someone who can content themselves with a simplistic life (as I wish I could, and I do half heartedly strive for), it is more than enough. Too far below it and you start having to make some sacrifices like living in not so great neighborhoods, driving older / less unreliable cars, not being able to go out whenever the mood strikes you. Yet once you get above it, you start giving up yourself. You enter that realm of responsibility where you are the go to person when things need to get done. You lose the ability to tell others, "I will deal with it tomorrow" in all but the most extreme cases. In Southern California the $75,000 mark seems to be the bottom of the "You can really do what you say you can do" pay scale. It only goes up from there as you continue to prove yourself, but you get more money at the expense of your free time.

Personally, I think I reached a little too far. I would have rather stayed below $75,000 and enjoyed the slack.

You know what they say... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499320)

Money can't buy you love, but it can sure get you a bunch of sexy broads!

But this is America .... (2, Insightful)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499324)

Did they go by how much a person makes or how much a person spends?

Am I Supposed to Be Happy? (1)

rebmemeR (1056120) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499332)

What about regions of the world where almost nobody make $75K? Is everybody sad there? For example: India. Anyone there could be poor but could belong to a loving family with reasonable health but earn "only" $20K. Maybe all they can afford to do in the evenings is go for a walk, tell stories, or sing songs. But what's so bad about that? Many kinds of goods are cheaper now that they were historically. What % of Americans have indoor plumbing? What fraction of people had indoor plumbing 500 years ago? Don't people with indoor plumbing have a reason to be happier? Back then you couldn't buy good dental services for any price. Even poor Americans now in many ways live more comfortable lives than royalty did a thousand years ago. I suspect that 99% of humanity have no real identity of their own. They are not capable of focusing on their own lives, doing what they can do to improve, and enjoying what they have. Instead, people judge themselves by comparing to those around them, "Keeping up with the Jonses". There's no surer way to make yourself unhappy.

popular wisdom (1)

dnix (831940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499364)

My Grandfather was used to say: "money don't give happiness but for sure they help you to be happy!". He was a real savant.
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