Author Topic: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?  (Read 30535 times)

MoneyCat

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2015, 10:11:09 AM »
I was perfectly happy when I was making $50,000/year.  I'm still perfectly happy now that we're making well over six figures between all our various jobs and side-hustles.  If you live a frugal life, you can be very happy with much less than $75,000.  Materialism and consumerism is what makes people unhappy.

arebelspy

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2015, 01:20:09 PM »
All these studies assume that you are going to spend all of the income. If you're going to save it instead, $200k will make you a lot happier than $100k and $500k will make you even happier still, but not as happy as $1 million per year. There's no real limit to happiness if you are saving the income, unless I suppose it gets to the point where a single hour of work can finance your entire retirement.

I'm not sure I agree.  Getting to FI in 1 year instead of 2 may not make you that much happier.  Often having to work for something will have you appreciate it more.  It's a spectrum, and shooting to one end of the spectrum isn't the answer, IMO.
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zolotiyeruki

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2015, 02:36:01 PM »
It's interesting--I was just having a conversation with my sister a week ago about this very topic.  Sure, you have to adjust according to local CoL.

We were driving down the road in her '01 Accord, next to a nice, shiny Maserati.  My sister made the comment that "he has to obey the same speed limits as us!" despite the expense of his car.  (When I first got in her car, I sincerely complimented it--after all, it has leather seats, a moon roof, 6-disc CD player, etc.  Far nicer than my '95 Corolla with cloth seats, peeling paint, and a leaky output shaft!)

The conclusion I came to is this:  Once basic needs have been met (food, clothing, shelter, transportation), you get into the world of "wants" and "nice to haves."  And in many cases, those desires are driven not by what would actually bring us happiness, but by what we see around us.  We see people who have nicer cars, bigger houses, newer cell phones, expensive vacations, etc and appear to be happy. And we make the illogical conclusion that having nice things causes happiness, and so we must have nicer things to be happy.

It has really made me question what *really* brings me happiness.

aschmidt2930

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2015, 09:33:43 PM »
In the last 7 months my income has went from 42k to 85k.  I don't think I feel any different from the money, no more or less happy.  I'm definitely more satisfied with the new job and promotion that followed, but a near doubling of salary hasn't had any noticeable impact.

I will admit, I may smirk a little extra here and there when I run the long-term projections, but that's beside the point.

randymarsh

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2015, 10:05:42 PM »
I think I'd be happier with 75K, which is about 30K more than I make now.

Mainly due to being able to pay off student loans much quicker and upgrade my apartment slightly (dishwasher, parking). Even though my debt is completely manageable at my current income, it stresses me out how long repayment will take.

I've run paycheck calculators and after 100K, I'm not really sure what I'd do with the extra money. It just seems like so much excess. Even after a luxury apartment and luxury car payment, there would be thousands left over for saving, nice food, bar tabs, newest iPhone, etc.
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arebelspy

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2015, 10:20:01 PM »
I think I'd be happier with 75K, which is about 30K more than I make now.

Mainly due to being able to pay off student loans much quicker and upgrade my apartment slightly (dishwasher, parking). Even though my debt is completely manageable at my current income, it stresses me out how long repayment will take.

I've run paycheck calculators and after 100K, I'm not really sure what I'd do with the extra money. It just seems like so much excess. Even after a luxury apartment and luxury car payment, there would be thousands left over for saving, nice food, bar tabs, newest iPhone, etc.

Uhh.. are you sure you're on the right site?  I'm pretty sure that bolded part should read "for investing for FI".  ;)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
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Making Cookies

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #56 on: February 02, 2016, 11:07:46 AM »
For us its not so much about the income but the amount of debt we carry that affects our happiness the most.

When our student loan is paid off we can attack the mortgage and possibly have it gone in three years. That would make us very happy.

DW's loan but really our loan b/c her success is our success. Should be this year.

Of course its the income that makes it possible but as excited as I am looking at our income on the bank statement, I get far more excited as I watch the debt melt away. And I do enjoy a little private smugness about it. Smugness or pride - whatever. ;)

randymarsh

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #57 on: February 02, 2016, 12:23:11 PM »
I think I'd be happier with 75K, which is about 30K more than I make now.

Mainly due to being able to pay off student loans much quicker and upgrade my apartment slightly (dishwasher, parking). Even though my debt is completely manageable at my current income, it stresses me out how long repayment will take.

I've run paycheck calculators and after 100K, I'm not really sure what I'd do with the extra money. It just seems like so much excess. Even after a luxury apartment and luxury car payment, there would be thousands left over for saving, nice food, bar tabs, newest iPhone, etc.

Uhh.. are you sure you're on the right site?  I'm pretty sure that bolded part should read "for investing for FI".  ;)

Haha can't believe I never responded to this! Of course I'd save it. I meant that even after maxing a 401k and saving tons, there'd still be money leftover for increasing spending in some areas.
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Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #58 on: April 18, 2016, 01:51:38 PM »
My "aha moment" came when I hit 55k.  Each previous raise made me noticeably happier.  That one didn't.  So Peak Happiness for me was around 50k (ballpark figure).  I had a heart to heart with myself and explored what it was that made me happy if it wasn't money.  Then I focused on that.  Since free time and security were high on the list, I engineered lifestyle deflation back to about the 35k level with no loss in happiness.  The surplus went to buying my freedom from from The Corporate Man.

I have friends who tell me their number was around 70-80k (it varies).  But to me, the number can be influenced by conscious decisions to ensure spending is directed towards happiness instead of social expectations.

Now that I'm FIRE, I find I spend even less and am even more happy.  YMMV.
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marty998

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #59 on: April 18, 2016, 03:21:36 PM »
For me it's come a little bit higher than $75k.

Partly due to the marginal tax rates (39%) that start to bite above $80k. I'm well into that bracket, and it hurts to see so much  of my additional dollars get paid to the tax man.

Cassie

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2016, 03:32:09 PM »
As we all know there is a lot more to happiness then just $ but having $ does make life easier and gives you more options.  No matter how much $ you make if your debt is taking all your $ you won't be happy either.  Unless you live in a very HCOL I can see where making 75k/year is a good income to both save and still have some of the pleasures you want.  People that are unhappy will be regardless. Now if you are not able to meet your basic needs then that is a whole different story.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2016, 03:52:44 PM »
I became very content when I was able to make enough money to maintain a 50% savings rate. Future raises will make me even happier as I shave days, months, years off of my FIRE date.

From a pure consumption standpoint I would be PERFECTLY content spending ~$30k/yr as an individual or ~$50k/yr as a couple.

"A small house can hold as much happiness as a big one." - Fortune Cookie

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dragoncar

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2016, 06:15:00 PM »
Happiness came around 5000 posts.  Increasing my post count did not increase my happiness.

arebelspy

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #63 on: April 19, 2016, 12:13:54 AM »
Happiness came around 5000 posts.  Increasing my post count did not increase my happiness.

Obviously once you hit the top of the Mustache label range, there was nothing to strive for, and you lost the joy of the chase.

Time for another mustache level update?

Although actually, now that I think about it, I may have already put in one above Walrus stache...
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

potm

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #64 on: April 19, 2016, 04:11:54 AM »
I think when they say $75k they assume people spend all of that so it's really spending beyond 75k does not make you happier.
I think most people on here are working towards financial goals and if they salary went up so those goals become closer, that would make them happier.

dragoncar

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #65 on: April 19, 2016, 11:54:13 AM »
Happiness came around 5000 posts.  Increasing my post count did not increase my happiness.

Obviously once you hit the top of the Mustache label range, there was nothing to strive for, and you lost the joy of the chase.

Time for another mustache level update?

Although actually, now that I think about it, I may have already put in one above Walrus stache...

I guess we'll fine out when Thegoblinchief gets there :-P

skinnyindy

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #66 on: August 15, 2016, 10:14:30 AM »
Thanks for all the posts.  This gives me a lot to think about.  We make around that but live in a HCOL area so we are barely making it with my spouse working three jobs.  Just started working part time and hoping to first pay off debt and then save after that.  I think having kids puts a big wrinkle in being able to get by on 75k.

arebelspy

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #67 on: August 18, 2016, 05:08:46 AM »
I'm planning on FIREing in another 5 years with roughly the numbers you state (a little more income, due to side jobs, not having a high paying one) and a little less expenses.

It can be done.

Mr. And Mrs. MM did it fast with a high salary, but that's not the only way.

The wife and I will never make 6 figures on our base salary combined (and we each have Master's degrees) and I still plan on FIREing before 35.

It's fun to read four year old posts.

Man, this forum has been around awhile now.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

moof

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #68 on: August 18, 2016, 04:13:48 PM »
At about $80k I realized I valued my time more than additional money.  I've rather be given 5% more of the year off than 5% more money.

Now at $150k I am darn happy to have it, but still desperately want more freedom before my body is shot.  We are saving like mad, but this year has seen some major house expenses (new roof, partial siding an window replacement to the tune of $25k total) that make the extra money really helpful to avoid debt and keep making out the 401k and both Roth's.

For most families of 3-4 people $75k lets them have a decent car for their long ass commute, take a modest vacation yearly, likely own a modest house, and generally lets them feel hopeful.  Much below that in most major cities means you are never getting ahead.  Every car breakdown is a crisis, credit cards rack up debt, etc.  There are a lot of costs associated with living in a city and going to work that a retired person can avoid or minimize.  Frugality could help a lot of these people, but don't underestimate how much of a trap being poor can be.

Shor

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #69 on: August 25, 2016, 03:57:48 PM »
At about $80k I realized I valued my time more than additional money.  I've rather be given 5% more of the year off than 5% more money.

Now at $150k I am darn happy to have it, but still desperately want more freedom before my body is shot.  We are saving like mad, but this year has seen some major house expenses (new roof, partial siding an window replacement to the tune of $25k total) that make the extra money really helpful to avoid debt and keep making out the 401k and both Roth's.

For most families of 3-4 people $75k lets them have a decent car for their long ass commute, take a modest vacation yearly, likely own a modest house, and generally lets them feel hopeful.  Much below that in most major cities means you are never getting ahead.  Every car breakdown is a crisis, credit cards rack up debt, etc.  There are a lot of costs associated with living in a city and going to work that a retired person can avoid or minimize.  Frugality could help a lot of these people, but don't underestimate how much of a trap being poor can be.
Interesting, I think around 60k I was already pushing at the 40-50% SR. Bumping up to 75k didn't seem to make much difference to my lifestyle or general happiness. Sure, more income means more being saved, but would I get happier on the day to day? Probably not.

For a mustachian, maybe our happiness caps out a bit earlier than typical, because once you are saving "well enough" getting more doesn't exactly provide any additional changes to your lifestyle. Hmm.. maybe a caveat here, once you get near FI you might have a huge shift in attitude toward work. And definitely at that point, even more money is even less of an enticement since your investments grow faster than your expenses as it is.

Compare that to a consumer that is always buying new things and spending off on frivolous things. For them, the 'want' bucket goes a whole lot deeper. Got a raise -> Upgrade to a new car. Got a bonus -> upgrade the phone. There is always a newer model of the latest gadget, or a new sound system, or upgrade the house or a vacation trip to XXX or YYY that they want / NEED.

marty998

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Re: Does Peak Happiness Really Come at $75,000/year?
« Reply #70 on: August 25, 2016, 04:28:09 PM »
My gross level of savings has remained relatively stable over the past few years - annual pay rises get eaten up by inflation increases on bills, rates and insurances.

I found I'm somewhat happier when there is a step change in my gross level of savings or net assets, but the feeling quickly subsides.

Human nature to always want more / bigger numbers :)