Money Happiness Across America: A State-By-State Guide

Money Happiness Across America: A State-By-State Guide

How much money do you think you’d need to be happy in Hawaii? I know what you're thinking: with the beach, the sun and the palm trees, probably not that much!

Well, you'd actually need about $122,175, according to one recent analysis by Doug Short, vice president of research at Advisor Perspectives, a company that provides investment insights.


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Short's research is based partially on a well-known Princeton study from behavioral economists Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton that found a person's emotional well-being rose along with their salary, but only up to a certain threshold—namely, a household income of $75,000. Beyond that, and money did not have much further impact on a person's day-to-day happiness.

Short adjusted the national $75,000 "happiness benchmark" to reflect the cost of living for each state and compiled individual figures for all 50, which can be found at the Huffington Post. Hawaii was, by far, the state that required the highest level of income for happiness, followed by Washington D.C. at $104,700 and New York at $99,150.

Places like Colorado, North Dakota, Nevada and Florida came closest to the $75,000 national average, and rounding out the bottom were Kentucky at $67,500, Tennessee at $67,265 and Mississippi at $65,850.

And if the happiness benchmark is to be believed, most of the country is probably none-too-satisfied; the median U.S. household income as of the last census was $51,371, well short of $75,000.

Of course, whether or not money can truly buy happiness is an unending debate. Research may say yes, but personal experiences could be telling you no; in fact this professor is adamant that it doesn't. But that doesn't mean you still can't find ways to manage your money wisely and put yourself in a better mood. Check out this infographic for ways that money could help bring a smile to your face.


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