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The Perfect Income Amount For Happiness


Have you ever thought about what the perfect income would be for you per year? Would it be $40,000? $100,000? $500,000? How much money do you think you would need to be happy? Believe it or not, there was a survey performed on this very topic. Gallup did some research and gauged day to day happiness based on yearly salaries. Obviously, a family income of $30,000 did not offer too much in the way of happiness. From this point, the higher the income, the higher the day-to-day happiness. It only made sense.

However, at some point the income gets high enough where the day-to-day happiness hardly increases. At this point is the perfect income amount. So what is the magic number? According to Gallup, the perfect income for happiness is $75,000.

My Experience with a $75,000 Income

In my short career I have experienced a wide variety of incomes. When I first started working after college, I earned about $34,000 a year. I have to say, this was not enough for the highest point of happiness. Sure, I was able to get by from month to month and still have some extra cash to put into savings, but it would have definitely been nice to earn more.

Later in life (after I was married) I earned much more at my job, I created a large income with my online ventures, and my ex earned quite a nice income as well. All together, we earned about $125,000 a year. Honestly, it was too much. We had more fights about money than we ever did before, simply because we both had different opinions about where the money should go. I, of course, wanted to put it into investments and pay off our debts. She seemed quite content with spending it on food, clothes, and vacations. Ultimately, this difference lead to our separation. If we made less money, we may have actually been more happy.

At another point in my life, I earned almost exactly $75,000 a year. Things were good. There was plenty of extra money to grow the savings account and I never felt guilty about taking a vacation or two during the year. It was a nice income that I would have been content with for many years to come.

Can You Actually Earn Too Much Money?

I mentioned earlier that $125,000 was too much money, but is it actually possible to earn too much? In my opinion, it all depends on where your heart is. If you find yourself continually wanting more stuff or  hoard all of your money, then the more you earn the more discontent you might become, thereby decreasing your happiness. However, if you handle your money well and enjoy giving it away when you have an overabundance, then earning more money probably won’t impact your happiness in a negative way.

In my life, I still aspire to earn more than $75,000 each year, but I have learned not to spend all this money on random stuff for today. Instead, I have been making an effort to pay off my debts, to give to others, and to invest more heavily than before. These actions will provide me options in my future life, which will then increase my happiness to a whole new level.

What is your perfect income number? Is there an income amount that is just too much?


Weekly Round-Up

Pay Down Debt or Leverage Up to Buy More Property? – by Financial Samurai

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My Monthly Income Stream Report: March 2014 – by Beat the 9 to 5

5 Ways to Reduce Your Feed Expenses – by Narrow Bridge Finance



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. In my opinion 10k a month of passive income is the key. I believe it also depends on huge life style you want and activities you’ll be doing. In any way this is my goal.

    • Hi David! $10k a month passively would be awesome, and if you work hard enough to build up this amount each month then you will most likely not be spending foolishly either. Best of luck to you in this goal David!

  2. David,

    Curious what you want that requires 10,000.00 in passive income per month.
    My dreams/thoughts just don’t register this kind of spending.

    Perhaps, it is what we are exposed to in life that determines ones desire
    for a certain income/happiness.

    • Thanks for the comment Betty. True, $10k will go quite a long way (assuming the living expenses in David’s area are reasonable). But, in 10-15 years, this amount might not seem like that much at all! Perhaps he’s just thinking ahead? 😉

  3. $10K/month passive income would be about right for me, too. I’m getting close to “retirement age” and although I have no intention of retiring in the traditional sense, $10K/month would allow me to travel (especially cruising, my wife’s favorite form of vacation) more often.

    $10K/month is also about the amount that I would need to stay in an assisted living center, which I may need in another 10 or 15 years, if I’m lucky enough to live that much longer.

    $10K/month would go a long way toward providing my wife the extremely expensive ObummerCare when her COBRA runs out next month.

    Bear in mind that there really isn’t any such thing as 100% passive income, at least not in internet marketing. You work your butt off for a while, and you get to enjoy the payout for a while without having to do much work, but that payout diminishes, so you have to crank up something new periodically.

    • Very insightful comment Howard. I would say that $10k a month would give you quite a comfortable lifestyle for many years to come (especially if you can stash some of that money away into investments). I’m not quite there at my stage in life, but it will come soon enough. As for additional happiness? Mmm, not much. I am quite happy with my current income.

  4. Increases in salary up to $75k almost always produce additional happiness. Increases beyond that may or may not produce happiness, depending on what it takes to get that additional income. My wife and I are very happy that our income level is quite a bit higher than $75k. Most people have no idea we make that kind of money, because we save all excess, and are frugal when it comes to purchasing stuff.

    We are just the typical happy family in the ‘burbs. 🙂

    • For most parts of the country, adding an income beyond $75,000 just gives you an option to buy more stuff, and while stuff can give you a high for a couple of days, that “happiness” typically wears off quickly. Since the extra money does not better the day to day life, happiness is often not increased beyond this wage.

  5. I think that the level of income truly is reflective of the location in a lot of cases. For example, my property taxes are close to $10,000/yr since we live in the state of NJ and our school district grew at an almost astronomical rate of 300% for several years in a row.
    13% of an income of $75,000 would be just in property taxes alone. Compare that to one of my siblings who pays $3,000/yr which would be less than 1% of a $75,000 income.
    As they say, all things are relative.

    • Very true Chris. The $75,000 is merely an average in the survey. Living where I do, $75,000 is completely doable. After all, my property taxes are only $1,800/yr. 🙂

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