It’s true, the amount of money you make directly corresponds to your amount of happiness! Finally the debate has been settled by a study conducted and published in the Nature Human Behaviour Journal.¹
Lucky for us, the amount of money needed to be optimally happy may be just within our reach. Studies show, the more money you make a year increases your emotional happiness – but only up to about $75,000 a year. The study also showed that from making $20,000 a year to $50,000 a year, you are twice as likely to be satisfied and content with life but that happiness increase starts to plateau around $75K.
So you’re telling me if I made $200,000 a year, I wouldn’t be that much more happy than when I made $75,000 a year? Yes, yes I am. The reason for the dramatic increase in happiness from $20K to $50K is due to basic human needs being met at $50K (i.e. clothing, food, shelter). After the $50K mark, you start to fill your life with more “toys” which equate to “wants” rather than needs.
I know I may not be making a believer out of some of you because on the surface, I also feel I would be much more happy if I made $200K a year. However, to further illustrate the point, right now in your life, are you truly happy and satisfied? Are you beaming with happiness everyday and fully content with every aspect of your life? If so, I congratulate you – because you are a unicorn. The unfortunate reality is, Americans are the #1 consumer of antidepressants in the world yet we are some of the most wealthy individuals on the planet.²
Human beings are very adaptive in nature which is a primary cause for our discontentment. Remember when you switched from a flip phone to a smart phone? Those blackberries were out of this world! I remember using the side scroller and texting on a keypad and felt I had reached the pinnacle of my cell phone days. That is until Apple produced the iPhone. The iPhone and others blew blackberries out of the water. The same can be said for how “cool” pagers were in high school. That was the thing to have and you were nobody if you didn’t have one. Fast forward just a couple of years and you know how the pager story played out. Each year we get bigger and better, then smaller and better, and then bigger and better again.
The more money you make, the more toys you can and will buy. That flat screen keeps getting bigger because your old 50″ screen looks so small compared to the new 80″ ones. Sure, you can go on big expensive vacations more often, but remember when going to the beach in California as a kid was the best thing ever? Now you have to go to Europe to get that same high. The truth is, we will never have enough money if we don’t focus on being content with what we have. Our newest purchases rarely satisfy us for long so let’s slow down and be thankful for what we have. For goodness sake, much of the world doesn’t even have clean water to drink yet we have it plumbed straight into our homes!
Businesses and marketers take full advantage of our discontentment. There are monthly subscription services where a company will send you new clothes automatically each and every month. Every month! They are betting that you are bored with your clothes from a month ago and will be enticed, yet again, to buy something new. This is a multi million dollar industry! With the whole world looking to capitalize on our discontentment, how will we ever find happiness and become debt free?
As stated before, to become debt free and to start building wealth, we need a complete change in our mindset. I will tell you that being debt free certainly increases your happiness, but from there – stop looking at what the neighbors have and build the life that suits you so you can help others. This life is about living and giving – the more you give, the happier you will be. If you die with the most toys, you do not win. It’s about how much good you can do in this world. By eliminating your debt and building your future in both wealth and health, you will be able to help even more people as you traverse through this life. You can do it my friends and I will be here with you!
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