Money Can Bring Happiness, Research Finds

You always knew this, but it is good to have researchers confirm your intuitions. Yes, money buys happiness but only up to a certain dollar amount.

Psychologists from Purdue University and the University of Virginia analyzed World Gallup data from 1.7 million people in 164 countries. Andrew Jebb was the lead author of the study. The study was published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

The authors focused on finding an ideal annual income that leads to emotional well being and life satisfaction. Authors defined well-being as a person’s day to day feelings such as happiness, sadness, and anger, and life satisfaction as the overall assessment of how a person is doing.

For North America (United States and Canada), you need to earn $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well being, and 95,000 for life satisfaction.

Globally, the numbers were slightly lower.  You need $65,000 to $95,000 for emotional well being, and 105,000 for life satisfaction.

Happiness has a tipping point as indicated by the dollar amounts. Once you reach that point, additional money does not bring happiness. It may in fact make you less happy.

Once the money is enough to meet basic needs such as housing, food, and core necessities, people are driven by material needs such as a bigger house or fancy vacations, which leads to social comparisons and lower levels of happiness.

Most research shows that there is an ideal income that brings people happiness and satisfaction. But that doesn’t mean that there is universal agreement among researches.


Research published in the  American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings by economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers found that there is no tipping point. The study found that the relationship between well-being and income is log-linear and does not decrease as incomes increase.

Money is not everything. There are other activities that will bring you happiness and contentment.

Things other than money that will bring you happiness


Studies show that being grateful for you have not only put you in a positive frame of mind but also bring happiness. One way to practice gratitude is to have a gratitude journal.  Write down a few things you are grateful for every day.


A few minutes of meditation every day will increase happiness. The duration of the meditation practice is not as important as consistency. Commit yourself to meditation practice and do it every day. It doesn’t cost anything. Apps like Headspace can get you started.


People who move and do even 10 minutes of exercise per day are happier than people who never exercise. Physical active people have lower risks of developing anxiety and depression.

The type of exercise doesn’t matter. Doing any type of physical activity – walking, running, tennis, basketball, or yoga – puts you in a good mood.

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