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Money Can Buy Happiness If You Earn At Least $75,000 A Month, Scientists Say

money can buy happiness
This is a representation photo showing 100 US dollar banknote. Most Americans believe that money can buy happiness. (Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash)

Philosophers, economists, and social scientists have debated for decades about money and happiness. A new study showed that most Americans said money can buy happiness!

Two eminent researchers, Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Killingsworth, challenged the conventional wisdom that people are generally happier as their income increases, with their happiness leveling out when their income reaches $75,000 and coming to this conclusion.

money can buy happiness

This is a representation photo showing a person holding several US dollar banknotes. Scientists say money can buy happiness if you earn at least $75,000 a month. (Photo by 金 运 on Unsplash)

In 2010, Nobel Prize-winning economist and psychologist Daniel Kahneman first proposed this threshold in research that found that “emotional well-being [also] improves with log income, but there is no further growth beyond a yearly income of $75,000.” 

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Money Can Buy Happiness, Researchers Say

According to GoBankingRates, Killingsworth of the University of Pennsylvania found in 2021 that the $75,000 plateau was almost nonexistent. He discovered that happiness increased when salaries reached (and above) those $75,000 level. So he concluded that money can buy happiness!

In a statement acquired by IFL Science, Killingsworth said that for most individuals, higher wages are linked to happier lives. 

Yet that conclusion comes with a crucial qualification: it sort of relies on whether you’re pleased initially. 

The exception, according to Killingsworth, is those who are content despite being financially successful. For instance, more money won’t make you happier if you’re wealthy and unhappy. Having more money was slightly inversely correlated with more pleasure for everyone else. 

The findings of a third study, which builds on the work of Kahneman, Deaton, and Killingsworth, contradict the previous researchers’ theory of an income/happiness limit, although under certain conditions. 

Is there a link between money and happiness, then? The answer seems to be yes – money can buy happiness – but if you are already emotionally sound, you have a significant edge. Killingsworth emphasized that it is still very possible to be wealthy and unhappy. 

The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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