Name Your Number: How Much Money Would Make You Happy?

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won-lotteryTravie McCoy may wanna be a billionaire (so freaking bad), but as for the rest of us? We don’t even need six figures.

That’s according to a new survey by CNNMoney, where more than half of people polled said they’d need less than $100,000 to be happy. Perhaps surprisingly, only 23% thought they’d require between $100,000 and $199,999.

Of the more than 1,000 Americans surveyed, some were more easily satisfied. About a quarter reported they’d be pleased with between $50,000 and $74,999, while 10% said less than $30,000 would suffice (and 6% said no amount of money could buy them happiness).

It’s unclear whether these findings are supported by other scientific research. One 2013 study suggests well-being increases with income, while a well-known study published at Princeton found that people stop getting happier once they start earning around $75,000.

The CNNMoney survey also asked people to imagine how much money it would take for them to feel “rich.” Most respondents said it would take between $100,000 and $199,999, while only 11% said it would take more than $1 million.

Not making anywhere near $100K? Not a problem. When it comes to feeling rich—or just feeling happy—there’s reason to believe the number on your paycheck matters less than what you do with that money.

In general, we’re happier when we spend money on experiences instead of material goods and when we buy things for others instead of ourselves. And someone who invests a good chunk of their salary in a retirement fund, for example, might ultimately feel wealthier than someone who doesn’t save anything.

So start a 401(k) or buy a gift for your BFF—it might be just as fulfilling as seeing a higher number in your bank account.

  • Gars

    HAR!

    ” And someone who invests a good chunk of their salary in a retirement fund, for example, might ultimately feel wealthier than someone who doesn’t save anything.”

    Ya think?! Such wisdom!

    They should for the simple reason they are!

    A smart man once told me my ultimate goal in life was happiness. I would achieve that with a balance among work, family, and religion.

    I pass that on.

  • Lisa

    These studies should really be separated by geography. I live in Manhattan and a dollar here will not go as far as it will in Amarillo, TX. So my answer would vary depending on where I lived/worked.