After yesterday's post about the study de-linking money and happiness, it seems like a good follow-up to point to Penelope Trunk's interesting column a few weeks back asking the question, "how much is enough?"
Looking for happiness through financial success? Wondering what is the magic number that equals satisfaction? It's $40,000 a year.
Really. Oprah's magazine says so. And so does Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, who studies such things.
She describes her own experience in the past as her yearly income rose to a point where she was making $200,000 a year. As so often happens, she says, "My expenses rose with my salary, and my desires expanded with my bank account." In a situation where money is the focus, there is no such thing as "enough." She points to her experience working with venture capitalists as an example.
Maybe you're thinking there's another magic threshold beyond $40,000. Like maybe $40 million. But you're wrong. When I ran in circles of venture capitalists, there was a common phrase, "It's not jet money." Which was a way of saying, it was a good deal, but it wouldn't earn enough money to pay for a private jet. No matter what size the pile of money, there's always a way to see it as small.Back to the magic $40,000 figure, Penelope writes...
In fact, the rule is well established in research: The first $40,000 makes a big difference in one's level of happiness. After that, the impact is much smaller. The difference between someone making $40,000 and someone making $15,000 is far greater than the difference between $100,000 and $1 million.
Happiness is dependent on being able to meet basic needs for food, shelter and clothing. After meeting those needs you need to turn to something other than consumerism because additional money has negligible impact on how happy you are. Your level of happiness is largely dependent on your outlook.
Passion Catalyst SM