According to a study focusing on 450,000 Americans and how they evaluate their happiness, a salary of $US75,000 ($82,000) a year is the magic number after which people's day-to-day happiness no longer improves.
The special number is the result of a study conducted by psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton. From the Wall Street Journal:
It turns out there is a specific dollar number, or income plateau, after which more money has no measurable effect on day-to-day contentment.
The magic income: $US75,000 a year. As people earn more money, their day-to-day happiness rises. Until you hit $US75,000. After that, it is just more stuff, with no gain in happiness.
That doesn't mean wealthy and ultrawealthy are equally happy. More money does boost people's life assessment, all the way up the income ladder. People who earned $US160,000 a year, for instance, reported more overall satisfaction than people earning $US120,000, and so on.
So, according to their numbers, you won't be any happier on a day to day basis if you're making $US75,000 or $US750,000 — though you'll likely feel like you've got a better life overall. Knowing that, however, may help you appreciate the salary you have, especially if you're pulling in over the magic number. Photo by Nick Ares.