Have any of you seen this Huffington Post article? It shows the income happiness benchmark by state. In other words, how much money do you need to make annually before it won’t make you any happier? Johnny and I were pretty fascinated by the results.
The average income happiness benchmark throughout the US is around $75k. Take our current home state, Utah, for example. The income-happiness threshold is $69,750. If one spouse were making $40k/year and the other were making $30k, they’d already be above that number. But what are the chances that they’d feel like they had enough? I mean, does anyone ever feel like they have enough?
Johnny and I are doing much, much better than the combined $10k we were making our first year of marriage as college students. But we’re always working to make more. And I don’t think it’s for selfish reasons.
In the here and now, we have enough. And our day-to-day happiness probably wouldn’t change if we were making more money. But we’re not just living for the day-to-day. We’re trying to save for a second car, a home, future children, our children’s college, and retirement. And I don’t feel like those are particularly selfish things to want. Could we save enough money for all of those things if we made $69k for the rest of our lives? I don’t know… but it would definitely feel tight.
Maybe our daily happiness wouldn’t change if we were making more than $69k living in Utah, but our future happiness could be affected if we could or couldn’t save up for the things I just mentioned.
Do these numbers surprise you? I think it’s kind of awesome how clearly this graph enforces that money doesn’t buy happiness. But, once again, what if I’m not looking for it to buy happiness? What if I just want it to buy me a house, financial security, and a stress-free retirement?
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? We’re interested to hear your thoughts!