The Psychology Behind Money and Happiness

Noorain Hassan
Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

They say you need money to be happy. But honestly, they say a lot of things — and not all of them are true.

When it comes to income, there’s a certain allotted amount that makes you happy. Anything greater or less than the amount can make you feel depressed, and you may never feel satisfaction.

A 2010 study shows that the participants who earned over $75,000/year reported higher emotional well-being. Less than this amount showed an alarming situation.

But as I said, they said a lot of things that are now untrue.

Then vs. now

No one decides the exact universal amount that makes us happy. It’s us who does!

“It’s surprising to see a transition of social news before vs. now that tells us about the importance of money for happiness. But we now see times have changed,” — explains psychologist Andrew T. Jebb.

Now researchers are more sure than ever. It finds out that the more money a person has, the happier they are. A digit income was only a myth. Essentially, people who earned $75,000 back then were comfortable spending it until people started questioning their choices.

The exact magic number:

A research team analyzed data from the Gallup World Poll — a survey of 1.7 million individuals from 164 countries.

Upon examining participants’ responses, they discovered the magic number of “income satisfaction — subjective well-being (SWB)” varies considerably worldwide.

“An exemplary income point is $95,000 for living your best life [overall life satisfaction] and $50,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being [day-to-day happiness],” According to Jebb from the research team.
“Yet, this amount is for individuals and for families.”

According to, life satisfaction costs:

  • $125,000 in Australia
  • $105,000 in North America
  • $100,000 in Western Europe
  • but only $70,000 in Southeast Asia
  • $45,000 in Eastern Europe, and
  • $35,000 in Latin America

Is happiness with money “gender-oriented?”

Umm… yes!

It turns out men get easily self-satisfied with their lives (est. +$90,000) rather than women (est. +$100,000) — says Peter Dockrill.

Globally, it’s also because women and men respond differently to competition. For men, they don’t generally compete with their environment. But for women, it’s likely a blunt YES when they find themselves under a proving radar — proving to be enough.

It gels with the idea that’s money (somehow) buys happiness for both genders, but only if they have free time to enjoy it by spending it on the right things.

Unluckily, high incomes are usually accompanied by high demands (workload, duty, and so on) that limit the opportunities for positive experiences (for example, leisure activities).”

Which sounds great in theory, but: “if you are working 45 hours a week and can’t enjoy the money you are making, then what is the point?”

When doesn’t money buy happiness?

More money doesn’t always equal more happiness because of “lifestyle ugliness.”

Perhaps, your expenses often go up when you are making more money. For instance, you:

  • pay for a club membership only to go once in a while
  • took an expensive and gorgeous tie but can’t wear it every day
  • always ask your friends to dine out

A study suggests that when people start being extraordinary in their group, they tend to outgrow it. Now it becomes impossible for them to have a competitor.

Perhaps, the best thing is to stay neutral and stop being the “spoiled rich brat.” The rich brat might have a meaning in the dictionary, but it’s not a personality or lifestyle.

It completely dulls you from inside.

And kills your healthy growth.

Bottom line:

There are multiple ways to boost “feelings of happiness” in your daily existence. But make sure you don’t stall into the most common misconceptions about where smiles come from.

  • There are no enjoyable shortcuts to being happy.

Either you try hard to make yourself comfortable or become the lonely version of yourself. Only the things you can not control affect your life.

Things don’t hear, speak or move. If you give them the power to do, they’ll steal your happiness.


This article is originally published elsewhere under a different title.

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Noorain Hassan is a 19-year-old writer and a content creator. She started writing when she was only 16 and continually wishes to grow.

Sinton, TX

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