More than 10 years ago, researchers suggested that money can buy happiness, and that it costs about $75,000 a year. A complicated and nuanced study by Nobel Prize winning economists explained that money increased happiness, but that things tended to plateau around $75,000. Any less and sadness increased, but earning more didn’t add to a sense of wellbeing. The research worked its way into opinion pages and launched a thousand blogs.
The obvious appeal of the idea is that money can buy happiness in the sense that it can provide for basic necessities and stability, but not much beyond that, meaning that multi billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are much richer but not all that happier than the rest of us. The only problem with this idea is that it’s wrong, and that we’d all obviously be much happier if we had millions of dollars. A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that the $75,000 figure is bullshit and that happiness continues to increase past that threshold.
The study, titled Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year, doesn’t mince words. “There was … no evidence of an income threshold at which experienced and evaluative well-being diverged, suggesting that higher incomes are associated with both feeling better day-to-day and being more satisfied with life overall.”