The author noted that while 60.5% of individuals making under $20,000/year said they were “Pretty happy”, only 51.8% of individuals with annual incomes of over $90,000 categorized themselves the same way. She chose to interpret this data as proof that higher income does not necessarily equate to happiness.
Of course, I should also point out that 17.2% of those making $20,000 also said they were “Not too happy” versus just 5.3% in the $90,000+ group.
Apparently money can’t guarantee bliss, but it can sure go far in alleviating misery.
I think it’s a matter of priorities, or, as David Bach likes to put, it values. If you value time with your family, the ability to help others, or your health the most, you can probably manage to be “pretty happy” even if you aren’t making huge pots of money. However, if one of your highest values is security (specifically financial security), then a certain baseline level of income might be necessary for you to be completely worry-free.
Because I always thought that security was more important to me than health (though both are in my top five values), I found one of the comments to JLP’s post pretty interesting:
“There are some recent books/articles that suggest that our happiness is relative – that weâ€™re not happy unless we are not just keeping up with the Joneâ€™s, but beating the Joneâ€™s at their own game. Maybe thatâ€™s true to some extent.”
This got me thinking.
Now I make enough money to satisfy my need for security, but I don’t feel all that competitive with my peers or neighbors in regards to actual income or acquisition of material things. I earn enough to set aside more than 37% of my gross pay in savings and retirement funds while still leaving me with a decent amount for a comfortable but not extravagant lifestyle. My younger sister quite frankly makes more than double my gross income, but I spend less and save more. 😉 I have a LOT of friends from college who are now doctors and pulling in six-figure incomes, yet I’m content with what I have.
I have passed that financial baseline needed for current and future financial security, and that’s enough for me.
I am, however, hell-bent on being in WAY better physical shape and health than the Joneses, the Browns, the Smiths, and at least 90% of the general population.
So if a value’s importance is measured by the degree of competitiveness I feel, I guess “health/self-improvement” is actually higher on my hierarchy of values than “security.” 💡
1. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
2. 1 peach, 1/2 scoop whey, 1/2 c. light soy milk
3. 4 oz. chicken breast, 1/3 c. (dry) oatmeal, 1 c. Mandarin veggie mix
4. 1 unsalted rice cake, 1/2 T. all-natural peanut butter, 1 scoop whey
5. 4 oz. chicken breast, 1 c. Mandarin veggie mix, 2 c. spinach
6. 1 c. light soy milk, 1 scoop whey
Water: 16 cups
Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine
Calories: 1369 calories (45.1% carb/39.4% pro/17.2% fat)
* YF Cardio (30 min)
* 5k timed run (28:57)
* Walk (4 mph / 12 min)
Calories burned: 571 calories
DEFICIT: -867 cal (Target: -632 cal/day)
BUDGET NOTES: None