Money can’t buy happiness, but, a certain amount will definitely get you closer to it says a new study …


The findings as recorded at Purdue University, was a huge undertaking, spanning 164 countries and including data from 1.7 million people.  The result? Researchers say they have arrived at a salary sweet spot they say can make an person happy.

How Much is Optimal for Happiness?

The work found that the ideal income point in Canadian funds was $120,307  and $76,000 to $95,000 was not perfect but enough for emotional well-being.

The global estimates per individual, averaged to account for relative purchasing power and then cross referenced with questionnaires exploring two main facets of each earner’s experience: their sense of emotional well-being (which, for the purposes of this study, was defined as the range of positive feeling states like happiness and negative ones like sadness that are felt daily) and overall life satisfaction (which, for most, hinges on attaining set goals but also on one’s success relative to others).


Researchers also discovered that there was a clear tipping point just beyond the numbers: once the salary in question was attained, life satisfaction and well-being began to drop off.  The theory here speculated that after basic needs are met and modern conveniences are acquired, the cycle of want simply begins again — and the study’s findings back up their hypothesis. They found that as soon as an ideal income was surpassed, people began looking for meaning in more material pursuits, or by comparisons to newly and nearly attainable — but still out of reach — social classes. At this point they are asking themselves, ‘Overall, how am I doing?’ and ‘How do I compare to other people?’ said the researchers.

Other Related Studies

A study from 2008 found that one’s level of income isn’t the sole benchmark worth going for though, because it doesn’t factor in an important factor which is relative success. Relative success is simply how successful are you overall in comparison to the peers around you, or your “ranking”.

Happiness as it Relates to Where You Live

The Purdue Study also concluded that that the price point at which a pleased state was attainable changed drastically depending on where one resided in the world.  In essence, the wealthier the region you live in, the more you need to perceive yourself as happy. For example, life satisfaction for Latin America and the Caribbean, was attained at $35,000 whereas a salary of $125,000 was needed to generate the same satiety in Australia and New Zealand.

How much do you need for happiness?

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